Lindork’s Lists – Q&A #35: Kyla Kazeil

Lindork’s Lists – Q&A #35: Kyla Kazeil

Note: this is the public version of my email newsletter Q&A that gets sent to paid subscriber inboxes first every other Sunday. You can get these Q&As in your inbox first by becoming a paid subscriber.

Originally published to newsletter subscribers on September 25, 2022

The 35th person I’m profiling in my Q&A series for paid newsletter subscribers is:

Kyla Kazeil, Edmonton Entrepreneur & Multi-Business Owner

Q&A with Entrepreneur Business Owner Kyla Kazeil
My Q&A with Kyla Kazeil first went out to paid newsletter subscribers on Sunday, September 25, 2022.

Getting to know Kyla Kazeil (she/her):

Kyla Kazeil is an amazing entrepreneur in Edmonton. She is the co-owner of four awesome businesses you’ve likely heard of, visited, had great experiences at—and if not, you’ll want to plan visits ASAP—Bamboo Ballroom, The Common, 9910, and Fu’s Repair Shop. (Personally I can’t stop buying clothes from Bamboo Ballroom and I’ve been raving about Fu’s to everyone I know since it opened this year!)

Kyla loves Edmonton. It’s why she’s built so many great businesses to support communities within it. She’s also so stylish (makes sense a boutique clothing store owner would be stylish lol). She’s genuinely kind. And I really love how she’s continued to be a business leader while raising young kids (it’s a pet peeve of mine when people assume you can’t do certain things in life once kids come into the picture—that’s not the case, and in really isn’t the case for Kyla). I also think it’s cool Kyla has built some of these businesses with not only her business partner, but life partner too!

Learn more about Kyla below, and follow her on Instagram, or her businesses Bamboo Ballroom, The Common, 9910, and Fu’s Repair Shop.

Let’s Dive Into the Q&A with Kyla: 

  1. Can you talk about the work you do? Can you tell us about the businesses you co-own? How long have you had them? How and why did you get into the restaurant and fashion industries? What do you love about owning them?

    • Ok here we go. I am the proud co-owner of four unique spots in Edmonton, all of which we pride ourselves on being members of our community:

    • They all have a different story but all evolved from our love of Edmonton and desire to create experiences for people who live here and love it too. 

    • Bamboo is my first baby and dream to open with my best friend Stacey. I mean what gal wouldn’t want to own a boutique with her bestie?!

    • Supporting local has always been our passion with many Alberta based brands and support of local non profits. You’ll often find us doing drives or donating sales, as my career evolves this is where I find my passion. That and my team of badass ladies, most of whom are side hustling in the fashion industry. 

    • The Common came along with partners Justin and Rob. Side note: they own Foosh, and Justin is also my life partner aka baby daddy. We were all working (me) and DJing (them) in bars and one day just made the choice that if we were doing it anyways, maybe we should do it for ourselves. I had worked in the bar industry for years and continued even when I owned my own business at Bamboo Ballroom. The bar industry was and continues to be unbalanced for females and I really wanted to take my power and try it a different way. 

    • 9910 came a few years later with the same drive support the music community with a venue and again this time our staff instead of fashion were artists and musicians. 

    • Last but certainly not least as we were just named Top 30 New Restaurants in enRoute (woohoooo) is Fu’s Repair Shop, a nod to my partner Justin and our Chef Winnie’s Chinese heritage with a nostalgic element from us growing up in the 80s!

  2. Can you talk about how being a business owner for a restaurant(s) differs from owning a clothing store? And talk about the similarities if any?

    • They seem and are so different, but fundamentally from a business perspective most businesses come down to the same thing… staff, products marketing, expenses. I put staff first because you are nothing without the people who surround you. They are everything and I think the most successful but also self actualized and happy business owners put others on their level. I always say once you have business knowledge you could do most anything business related. I’d always joke that I could even run an electronics shop even though I don’t know much, now with Fu’s we pretend to fix them.

  3. Can you share a memorable moment or ‘successes’ in your career / life?

    • Well I’m a Global Woman of Vision and Avenue / Edify Top 40 Under 40 alumni. Those were big moments, and my parents were able to be present which brings me a lot of pride. Another key moment was realizing we can bring others up with us and added our long time manager Nicole to our ownership group and our chef Winnie at Fu’s. And the ultimate was changing our name when we still had our fish shop in Fu’s location from Grandin to Prairie. It felt damn good to lead the way as a business to walk the walk even though it, combined with the pandemic led to our closure.

  4. Can you share a challenging moment, obstacles or failure in your career / life? And perhaps what you learned from it or how you overcame it?

    • How much time do you have haha? I’ve closed two businesses due to financial strain. Bamboo Stockroom which was a gifting concept, second location on Whyte. And the then we shuttered our fish and chips concept, Prairie Fish after almost six years at the end of 2021.

    • To be honest, failure is in a way liberating because once you face the worst that can happen, you have no fear and that’s one thing that defines every entrepreneur, you’ve gotta be ok with the risk and you have to be prepared to win or lose. Fu’s is such a great representation of this, we just went for it unconventionally and with passion, threw all the risk to the side, kept our windows covered, fought to stay off Google and stay a hidden gem, didn’t set up a phone and just focused on the food, drinks and vibe and it’s been really well received.

  5. Can you talk about perhaps a common misconception about or something that might be surprising for people to learn about business owners, the restaurant industry, the fashion / clothing industry, etc.?

    • Well the work is hard, the margins are thin, you always have to be on top of your game and you have to LOVE IT or you won’t succeed. It’s not as glamorous as is seems. Particularly the restaurant industry and bar industry. But if you focus on what’s important to you (in my case people) it can be extremely rewarding. Both these industries can be careers. I feel like the perception is often that retail and restaurants are stepping stones to “real jobs” – they very much are real jobs. And if retail or the restaurant industry isn’t a final destination, everyone should work in either at least once- there are so many problem solving, efficiency, time management, communication and interpersonal skills to be gained. Oh and as often first jobs for youth these industries are also really important to peoples confidence and identity and as managers and leaders our jobs are really important in the work force.

  6. Can you share advice for others who might want to become their own boss, entrepreneurship, and / or specifically advice around being an entrepreneur in the food industry and in the clothing industry?

    • Get ready to work hard, late and long. Make sure to have fun and make it fun for the people around you and be prepared to fail because that’s the thing with entrepreneurship, you’re going to fail. At least once. And put your faith in people and partnerships—because it’s more than most people can handle on their own.

  7. Can you talk about how you also juggle being an entrepreneur and a mom to two young kids? And how your partner is also an entrepreneur and dad to two young kids? I feel like I look at you two and wonder how you do it all!! Especially because some of your hours are so late!!

    • We are finding a really good stride! We have been together for over 20 years so that helps a lot, though don’t get me wrong, we can definitely disagree. Having kids later in life has definitely helped keep us relaxed and going through the process of IVF really has given us perspective on the gratitude of being parents. We rely a lot on friends and family as many parents of young kids do and we are so fortunate to have so many loving people in our circle.

  8. Can you tell me about your hobbies! What do you do for fun?

    • I want to say something really cool, though I can ride a motorcycle haha, right now I find my joy in my kids and spending time with the people I love. And I love conceptualizing and creating new businesses and collaborating on design and interiors. Like I know that’s still business but I love it. And I love to work to serve my community!

Wrapping up our Q&A:

  • What show would you recommend people watch on Netflix?

    • Well I’ve watched Encanto about 500 times. But when I really just want to turn my brain right off I hit up Arrested Development or true crime docs.

  • Is there a book or podcast you recently read (or doesn’t have to be recent) that you would recommend to others and why?

    • I’m really into the Big Hungry Bear and Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes haha, I only get reading time with my kids but I love it and I do really cool voices.

  • What is a fav local restaurant or store you’d recommend?

    • Friends and Neighbours! It’s owned by the sweetest couple and you can get eggs benny, spring rolls and green onion cakes, or pho at 10 a.m.!

  •  What’s something about Alberta you love or recommend others check out?

    • When I think Edmonton, I think Folk Fest. It’s my ultimate favourite thing to do here. If not a festival, I just love strolling in the river valley, a true Edmontonian!


Thank you Kyla for sharing your story!

Follow Kyla’s businesses on:

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