Jelena, now in her early fifties, came to Canada over 3 decades ago in 1987 with her single mother and twin sister. She had just graduated as an Engineer of Architecture from Belgrade, Serbia after living in Africa and Middle Eastern countries.
With no financial support system, she quickly picked up a job at a retail store in Toronto. With little savings she was able to accumulate as a sales clerk, Jelena enrolled herself in a number of digital architecture courses to give her a leg up in finding a job in her own field of study. She finally settled on a job in a private architectural firm where she worked tirelessly for 9 years, before moving on to a Government agency for another 9 years. She was happy with the stable job and the exposure to great projects that helped her build portfolio. However, after becoming conscious of the lack of advancement opportunities available to her, Jelena eventually decided to focus her ambitions elsewhere.
As a mother of two young children herself, Jelena recognized the overwhelming demand for birthday party venues and events. After over a year of planning, Jelena took advantage of her free weekends and opened Fairytale Land in 2008 in her own house in Richmond Hill, Ontario.
Commenting on the process of opening a business of her own, Jelena explained “It takes a lot of hard work, contemplation, negotiations, iterations, purchasing, contracting, sweat and tears along with sleepless nights of continuous thinking towards execution of a business. You just cannot run a business part-time.”
The business was almost immediately successful and Jelena was able to expand the concept to four other locations across the GTA, including Thornhill, Mississauga and Downtown Toronto. While scouting for locations to expand her business, Jelena had a rough time dealing with realtors as it wasn’t easy to scout for a location for this unique business. Jelena converted this challenge into an opportunity and got her own realtor license. She successfully handled all her real estate dealings herself and also found a new line of business. She continued to operate all these venues successfully until the end of 2019.
In 2018, Jelena was again bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and she decided to open another business in an entirely different field. After her own experience with the Ozone sauna treatments, Jelena took the time to learn everything about Ozone therapy and was blown away at its effectiveness in treating a wide range of maladies. Ozone therapy helps prevent chronic diseases, boost energy level, reduces stress, builds immune system, detoxifies, clears the skin, and helps with weight loss and overall beauty.
Post 16 months of planning and execution, Jelena launched her Ozone O3 Sauna Spa in Richmond Hill. She has been pursuing the organic growth theory for her venture through continuous content development, digital marketing and awareness spreading. She has been running different marketing campaigns to spread awareness on benefits of Ozone therapy and promoting her business. Her belief in educating clients and providing excellent customer service has helped her business grow over 3 times from the time it started. She plans to apply her experiences from her previous venture to grow O3 Wellness Centre at even bigger scale to share the benefits of Ozone treatment with a larger audience.
Jelena is also one of the founding members of Immigrant Women in Business (IWB). It is a non-profit social enterprise dedicated towards supporting women entrepreneurs through its network, events and mentorship program. In addition to managing her business, she also mentors entrepreneurs and supports the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Canada.