You may have dined at a restaurant after seeing one of her videos or perhaps attended the Delicious Food Show last fall and visited their special exhibit. Well that's Nicki Laborie, our latest Hip + Urban Girl of the Week and Founder of View The Vibe - a website that highlights the city’s best in lifestyle, food and culture.
What is a typical day in the life of Nicki?
That’s a difficult question to answer… The beauty (and sometimes not) of being an entrepreneur is that no two days are the same. While I do try to have some form of routine and balance, it can be sometimes be hard due to the fact that I wear many hats and I actually love change and not knowing what the day will bring.
That said a perfect day involves me waking up very early, enjoying quiet time checking emails and then hitting the gym or going to hot yoga. If after that I am at the office by 9:30am I am sure to have a great day. But more often than not my quiet email time turns into the beginning of my day, dealing with whatever “issues” come up, then squeezing in gym time and scrambling to get to my first meeting of the day. I honestly have a different day every day but I love it. Some are filled with meetings and cool events, others are spent sitting at my desk writing and catching up on work while others keep me busy filming cool videos for our clients.
I also get to travel to Vancouver quite a bit since we launched View the Vibe there. I love this because it gives me regular changes of scenery, new perspectives and a lot of inspiration. I’m not a routine person – I like to be on the go all the time!
What are some events that you attended in the past that really stood out?
So many great events are created every year and people can get amazingly imaginative. I think an event stands out when the host goes above and beyond to bring people together in a setting that makes them talk and network. I have attended many parties at the lovely Natasha Koifman’s (owner of NKPR) home for both TIFF and some of her clients. I love that these events are so personable, always creative and flawless in terms of service. Coming from the industry, I see everything – some of my friends actually hate to dine out with me because I see all the “mistakes” (I can’t help it, it’s in my blood!) – but whenever I’ve been to one of Natasha’s parties, there is exactly enough of everything arranged in a perfect setting. She always goes above and beyond to follow a theme and the vibe is both comfortable and inviting.
I also love to attend my friend Desia Brill’s (owner of Brill Communications) parties. I have actually known this girl for over 20 years and she is one of the most creative PR people I’ve ever met. Her parties always make you go “WOW, what a great idea.” Just last week I attended one of her events, the Express summer preview, at SPIN Toronto, the ping-pong hot spot on King Street. It was fun, interactive, well-executed and every last detail was thought out. I guess you could say the combination of creativity, good people, great organization and lots of fun vibes are grounds for a stand-out event!
Tell us more about View The Vibe!
View the Vibe is an online video guide and magazine where people can get an actual glimpse inside a restaurant or spa before going, as well as learn of the latest news and trends. It’s fun, young, vibrant and caters to people who love the good things in life. It started off strictly as a video guide and did quite well because we create beautiful 90-second “movie trailers” for restaurants and spas in Toronto and Vancouver.
These are filmed with no actors, no extra lighting and no staging. We go into an establishment when it’s busy and capture the vibe from ambiance, to food, to clientele to décor, so a potential guest can check out the “vibe” before making a decision about whether to go to a restaurant or not.
While this guide proved very popular in our first two years, we took it to the next level last year by launching an editorial news and “best of” portion where we focus on writing about only the best of the city while also implementing video wherever possible. We pride ourselves in delivering quality videos that help people make a decision about where to spend their dollars as well as inform them of the coolest spots in a city.
What is your favourite food? Is there anything you would never eat?
Not really. I am willing to try everything once – and honestly, I like most things. My favourite food stems from my heritage. I am born and raised a proper French girl from Bordeaux and growing up over the holidays, foie gras on brioche was a treat.
As an adult I have enjoyed this paired with a good sweet wine like Sauterne – this is my ultimate and favourite indulgence. That said, when I want to be bad on a budget my favourite treat is frites (and I say it like this as I hate fat cut fries) or handmade potato chips. I’m a salty vs. sweet girl!
Tell us about your neighbourhood and where you like to shop, dine and hang out.
I live at Portland and Wellington, which is in the heart of everything yet oddly very quiet. I walk 1 block to work, 1 block to hot yoga, 2 blocks to the grocery store, 2 blocks to the LCBO, and 4 blocks to my favourite boutiques on Queen West. I love this neighborhood. My boyfriend and I live across from the Wellington dog park where our little Boston Terrier loves to attack the Labradors and St. Bernards (the bigger the better) and funny enough, while this area is one block from the loud entertainment district, as soon as you hit Wellington, it’s like you’re in the suburbs (perhaps I’m slightly exaggerating but it’s close!)
My go-to restaurants are Marben, Le Select, Le Neuf all on Wellington, and Rock Lobster on Queen West. One of my favourite stores in TSOQ – these girls are awesome and I drop too much money every time I am there (with no regret)! Overall I love this area because I get a mix of everything from quiet to busy to food to fashion – all walking distance. I picture us living around here for a long time – or at least until my feisty Boston Terrier doesn’t kill our reputation at the park!
Photo credit: Tara Noelle