Founder and CEO, Abeego
Finalist, TELUS Trailblazer Award, CENTRAL
In 2008, Toni Desrosiers was looking for a natural way to store her food — and ended up discovering a way to disrupt the fully mature, billion-dollar industry of plastic wrap. Through extensive experimentation (and looking to lemon peels, cheese rinds and onion skins for inspiration) she developed Abeego Wrap, the first breathable, reusable, beeswax food wrap. It aims to “keep food alive” by protecting it from air, light, and moisture while allowing it to breathe — so it remains fresher longer than airtight plastic wrap. The self-adhesive wrap can last over a year with proper care (hand washed with cold water).
My first job ever was… not a regular job. I started multiple businesses and my most successful childhood business was a yard maintenance company which I ran with my friend Ricki when we were nine years old.
I decided to be an entrepreneur because… it’s the work that aligns best to my natural big picture, innovative and inventive thinking style.
My proudest accomplishment is… inventing beeswax food wrap resulting in a new category of food storage that is trending around the world.
My boldest move to date was… to force myself to overcome my fear of public speaking by immediately saying “yes” if anyone asked me to be a speaker.
I surprise people when I tell them… I never studied the properties of plastic wrap when I invented Abeego, instead I looked at lemon peels, cheese rinds and onion skins to develop food wrap that keeps food alive.
My best advice to people looking to disrupt the status quo is… don’t study the model you are trying to disrupt too closely because you might unknowingly incorporate the same problems into your new idea.
My best advice from a mentor was… you don’t have ADHD and you’re not distracted. You’re a visionary and your unique entrepreneurial thinking style is valuable.
If I could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, it would be... National Geographic Explorer, Elizabeth Lindsay. Her statement, “When an elder dies a library is burned and libraries throughout the world are ablaze” motivates me every day.
“There are many problems to solve and for an inventor like me that means endless opportunities.”
I would tell my 20-year old self… it’s all building to something bigger than you anticipated. Keep moving.
My biggest setback was… making the heart wrenching and critical decision to lay off almost my entire team two weeks before they went on Christmas holidays after a particularly tough winter season.
I overcame it by… surrounding myself by radically generous women who helped me get up emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually to come back stronger than ever. My sincerest thanks to all SheEO Activators that had my back.
I never go a day without… telling my daughter that I love her to the moon and back.
The last book I read was… Meaningful by Bernadette Jiwa.
I stay inspired by… looking at every problem as an opportunity in disguise.
The future excites me because… there are many problems to solve and for an inventor like me that means endless opportunities.