Looking for something cool? Chances are Karleen Samson has you covered. Connector, Stylist and Creative, Karleen spreads inspiration and her sweet smile wherever she goes. A woman of many talents, you can find this Adidas Brand Ambassador whipping her classes into shape at Studio Revolution, styling at Kit and Ace and filling her schedule with photography, digital marketing, and a whole lot of hustle. This month, we walked with Karleen to get the scoop on her 17th Ave faves, and what she’d love to see here next.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I have always had a love affair with Calgary, its energy, its potential, and its people. I think that is why I choose to be involved in so many different places around the city, in order to surround myself with inspiring people. I am probably most easily recognizable for my love of being active, leading sweat sessions on a surfboard at Studio Revolution or barre classes at the Sweat Lab. You’ll also find me along the Ave, cozy in cashmere as a Shop Lead at Kit and Ace. In between, you’ll find me plotting my empire while grabbing a matcha latte at Philosafy, a ‘za at Una, or a Piskola cocktail at Ricardo’s.
What projects are you involved with right now?
Right now, I teach weekly SURFSET and TRX classes at Studio Revolution and Barre classes at the Sweat Lab. From that, I am honoured to represent Adidas in our city as an ambassador. You can also catch me kicking it a couple days a week as a member of the killer team at Kit and Ace, bringing the gift of technical cashmere to Calgary while cultivating the already creative community we have. Because of my obsession with beautiful imagery, social media, and creating original content I have recently launched my own freelance content marketing business, regularly contributing to 17thave.ca, and am the resident Marketing Specialist for Studio Revolution.
You are both a sweat bandit and photographer extraordinaire….how did you get involved in both of these?
The Sweat Bandits were formed on the premise of breaking down any barriers to fitness. Calgary is so spoiled with such a high caliber and concentration of fitness studios. While each studio is successful at building their respective communities, a group of us believed the sweat community had the potential to extend beyond the walls of the studios we taught at. Recognizing this, myself and Studio Revolution owner Mallory Chapman, assembled a group of bad ass sweat leaders with different specialties in order to go a little rogue and sweat outdoors, in interesting places around the city, to redefine the fitness experience and raise money for charities we were passionate about.
As for photography, I have always appreciated the power of a great photo but my foray into taking photos really began when I started to self-promote classes at the beginning of my fitness career. I am fortunate that my husband Winifrey (owner of WINJUAN Photography) is a very talented photographer and I conned him into being one of the original “Instagram husbands” in order to take fitness inspired photos for my social media. Our shoots would evolve into me directing and eventually learning my way around a camera. Then I would take any opportunity to shoot, especially if I could capture people in ways that inspire me.
What keeps you inspired?
I find inspiration everywhere – a great Instagram post, a delicious meal, a Netflix binge session. But most of all, I am inspired by people. Everyone has a story and I have always believed that you cross paths with people for two minutes or two lifetimes to learn something.
Do you get any of your ‘to-do’s’ done on 17th?
Absolutely! With most of my “jobs” located along 17th, I try and get as much done in one area. The place you’ll find me the most is Esmé to make sure I’m always beach-ready for the next surf sesh.
What is your favourite thing about 17th Ave?
Ever since I was little, 17th was always the destination for everything new and different. I still think that rings true today as the Ave remains a common gathering place for any occasion, and because of this it attracts such a diverse cross section of people… making for some of the best people watching.
Favourite place to shop?
The obvious choice is Kit and Ace for everything I wear when I’m not sweating. I’m also a really big follower of streetwear culture, so I like popping into Less17 especially if a sneaker is dropping in my size. Saje Wellness fuels a small addiction for essential oil blends to make me feel great and my place smell impeccable.
Best place for a night out?
My two go-to spots along the Ave are Ricardo’s to get transported out of the cold and Frenchie for a cozy glass of wine.
What would you like to see on 17th in the future?
I would love the Ave to be more accessible for small and local businesses to thrive. We have some really killer entrepreneurs and local talent in our city and it would be amazing to get the Ave buzzing with new experiences, especially a live music venue.
What’s up next for you?
Besides growing my online content marketing business, I hope to create more opportunities to collaborate with inspiring people. My dream is to create a creative multi-purpose space/hub to cultivate such interactions, so any headway into that project will be my focus this year.
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