Job Title: Co-owner, The Common, 9910 Venue, The Bamboo Ballroom, The Bamboo Stockroom
Why She’s Top 40: She opened her first of four businesses at 27 and takes pride in hiring quality local designers and musicians.
Guilty Pleasure: “Naps. Sometimes, when I’m just not doing 500 things, I just have a nap.”
After graduating from high school, Kyla Kazeil’s friends fled to more cosmopolitan cities. But her heart was set on owning a business in Strathcona, the saving grace for an artsy girl growing up in the area. “I just wanted to be a part of the community and try to make my hometown better,” she says.
Kazeil worked 80 hours a week bartending at two or three places at a time, plus a retail job, until she and her business partner, Anastasia Boruk, saved enough to open Bamboo Ballroom on Whyte Avenue. The eclectic boutique, known to house local designs, is now one of four businesses Kazeil co-owns, along with Bamboo Stockroom and two downtown bars. Those are 9910, a music venue, and The Common, a gastro-lounge by day and club or stage by night.
If there’s one theme between them, she says, it’s that they try to raise the profile of Edmonton, making it the metropolitan city she craved as a youngster. “Most great cities are built on the works of local makers and artists,” she says. “It’s what creates an interesting dynamic for a metropolitan city.”
The child of a superb salesman and a special-needs educator, Kazeil is instinctively personable. She prefers working on the floor, alongside staff, and takes pride in her companies’ equitable practices that eschew gendered hiring and dress codes, and where staff are encouraged to be confident decision-makers. “It’s setting them up for success down the road,” says Kazeil, who also mentors young women through Big Brothers Big Sisters and InterVivos.
Any self-employed person will tell you owning one company is exhausting, let alone four, and no doubt Kazeil worries about never having enough hours in a day. But she always makes time to enjoy the Edmonton she helped create. “Being out in the community and experiencing everything the city has to offer is a passion.”