• MTL Blog got the chance to speak with local influencer Katherine Garbarino, whose popularity has blown up in the last few years thanks to Instagram and a just-launched new website, GLW GRLS.
  • From gluten-free recipes to wellness product reviews, this woman is an inspiration in the influencer world.
  • Read our conversation with Katherine about beauty, fashion, and living well below!

Montreal is crawling with social media influencers, many of whom cultivate their own brand for their loyal fans. Katherine Garbarino, known on Instagram as @KGMTL, uses her own experience with healthy living to inspire the people on her page. Garbarino was born and raised in Montreal, and over the last three years, this woman has blown up and become somewhat of a local celebrity. Katherine speaks her truth and shares her knowledge on everything health, wellness, beauty, fashion, and her new website, GLW GRLS.

Known for her lemon water wake up videos and her gluten- and dairy-free healthy recipes, Katherine has made quite the name for herself. That is why it comes as no surprise that she took the plunge and decided to expand her business. Based out of our city, GLW GRLS is all about living a healthy and rewarding lifestyle while creating a space that allows women to connect with and support each other.

She just launched the official site of GLW GRLS along with her two business partners, Montreal natives Steph Paris Berks and Cheria Kyres. We got the chance to catch up with Katherine and pick her brain about "girls living well" and how you can become part of the GLW Gang. 

You are very candid on your social media, what made you want to start sharing your healthy lifestyle with the world?

Like everyone else, I was going through some personal stuff (more info on my Youtube) and needed this as a distraction. I never realized how quickly it was going to grow and how loyal my fanbase would turn out to be. I ended up loving sharing my knowledge, tips and tricks, my recipes... I've always lived this lifestyle and when I realized people wanted to learn more and do better, I continued to share. I love meeting my followers in person, hearing their stories, learning from them, which is why we launched GLW GRLS, that way we can attract and connect with more women in our city and one day, hopefully, the world. 

What can you tell us about your latest project, GLW GRLS, Girls Living Well, which you co-created with PR mavens Steph Paris Berks and Cheria Kyres?

Girls Living Well is a platform that Steph, Cheria, and I created. It's a true home for all my content to live. Over the past three years, I’ve grown my KGMTL Instagram and my Katherine Garbarino YouTube, and I needed something a bit more permanent where my extensive content could live forever and be shared.

Girls Living Well is a collective, where women can learn from one another, grow from each other and a movement where everyone is included. Our site is a mixture of my recipes, my health and wellness tips, my beauty faves and advice, fashion hauls, life hacks, all that type of stuff.

How did you ladies come together to collaborate on such an inspiring project?

Steph and I have been friends since we were kids — we’ve always gotten along. Our businesses are super different but complement each other well. Last May, we threw a speaking panel event together, Cheria worked with us on the strategy side of this as well and we all enjoyed working together.

We noticed strengths within each other and started brainstorming on how we could continue this working relationship. At that time, I was running my second Instagram page, KG’s Kitchen, and Steph wanted to help me grow it and turn it into a new division of my business.

When Steph began to dive into KG’s Kitchen, she realized that the project could be a lot larger. And, with Cheria having a background in the food industry, we thought bringing her on board would be a natural fit. All three of us are strong and opinionated women but we are so different from one another which is why I think that together, we are a real force to be reckoned with. 

Do each of you play a different role? If so, what are each of your strengths? 

I always wanted to launch a website, originally it was going to be KGMTL.com, but I never was able to get it together. This website is a huge undertaking, it really does take an army. So naturally, as a team, we all play different roles that complement our strengths, that is what makes a team a team.

I am the face of the company, it is my content, my recipes and so on. Steph handles all the marketing aspects of the business, as well as all the PR and social media, and Cheria is head of strategy, which means she works very closely with our content department. 

What do you want women to learn from GLW GRLS? 

I always say that I want you to leave me better than when you found me. I have taught my followers so much about themselves, we grow together, learn from each other, I really feel connected to them, and them to me. I want women to learn how to be better at life, how to take care of themselves more, how to gain confidence, and how to cook.

Most of my content is driven by the things I have learned through trial and error on myself, Q&A boxes via Instagram, and direct messages with my followers. I answer what my followers want to hear. I love getting feedback on my recipes or skincare tips or knowing that I'm making somebody feel special and good about themselves, that's the reason why I do this. Putting your whole life, no holding back, onto the internet is hard. People are critical. I want to include women, unite women, all while keeping it fun.

GLW GRLS is such a fun and interactive project and our followers have noticed that the feedback so far has been amazing.

How can our readers be part of the GLW GRLS gang? 

Easy! You can follow us on social media, @glw.grls and subscribe to our website. Parts of our content are unlocked, which means they're available for everyone to see and read, and then other parts can be purchased for an affordable subscription fee.

What is your long-term goal, for both GLW GRLS and your own personal brand? 

My goal for GLW GRLS is to grow into an internationally known company — all three of us have that same goal. In the new year, sometime in 2020, we plan to launch GLW GUYS, which will be designed for men and bring on other North American contributors who share a similar mindset as us, we want the site to, obviously, grow.

I am excited to see where this project can lead, we have so many ideas in the pipeline, it’s really exciting! Every day there are new developments in our partnerships and this is only the beginning. We haven’t even begun to contact our network yet, so who knows where that will lead. I don’t know where we are going, but I promise it will be documented.

I can’t say too much more, but Montreal get ready, we have a bunch of projects coming your way. Now that the site is launched, we can finish our #GlwGrls HQ, which is going to blow you away!

As for my personal brand, I am going to keep doing what I am doing. I have a lot of new partnerships launching in the new year, I plan to release some cool merch and hopefully expand into products, which I can't say too much about but stay tuned!

What are some of your go-to Montreal spots that you think embody the lifestyle that you promote?

The lifestyle I promote meaning... the gym? Grocery shopping? Shopping in general? You can usually find me, in no particular order at some of the following places: APC, Cadence Cycle, Ssense, Dynamite, Gentiles, Linen Chest, Arthur's Nosh Bar, where I even have a salad named after me. I also love Bremner, Brandy Melville, Pilates Noir, Esthetique La Quintessence, the Atwater Market, Ecology, and a bunch of specialty, organic, and local grocery stores. 

If you ever want to run into me, you will most likely find me at one of the above-mentioned locations. 

What advice do you have for young Montreal entrepreneurs looking to start their own business?

No matter what it is that drives you, stay authentic to yourself. Find your passion, find a way to make it profitable and work hard. If you can do that, it won't feel like work.


Check out the GLW GRLS website here!

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