I started my first business when I was 11. I was living in cooperative housing with my single mother in Vancouver, BC and the building had a community room that I would book and open up as a drop in daycare. As a parent it is now hard to imagine that people would leave up to six kids with me at a time-eleven seems unbelievably YOUNG now!
Since that time I have worn many hats. At 19, after working with children for three years, I fundraised $10, 000 and started my own independent summer camp for inner city children. Camp Experience Your Dreams ran for 4 years and gave hundreds of children the opportunity to get away from the city heat and learn about the natural world.The amazing experience of taking over 100 children out of the city and into the rainforest for a week of workshops and organic food changed my entire life.
For years after that I used my marketing and fundraising skills to create and offer child and family based projects. I did everything from mentoring street involved teens, to managing large events like lantern festivals, leading me eventually to becoming Executive Director of a non-profit resource centre. In 2004 when my daughter was born I realized it was time to focus on projects that allowed me to be home instead of putting in a 60 hour work week.
I started a jewellery design company that I ran successfully for three years but that made little profit due to the massive overhead involved. Also, my heart wasn’t in it. Everything I had ever done relates to children and though I was excellent at, and enjoyed, making jewellery, I was not as capable of marketing it as something for children and families.
So I went back to the business plan drawing board.
My Nana was a textile artist and an amazing seamstress. In the 1950′s she designed clothing for stars like Marlon Brando and Katherine Hepburn. As a child I was always underfoot in her studio and by that time she had begun working in wool and silk. She would start with natural fibres and dye them incredible colours then weave or quilt them into vibrant works of art. The process of watching something bland and formless like raw wool becoming art made a profound impression on me.
So it wasn’t a huge surprise when in 2007 I started focusing more on creating handmade art for children using some of my Nana’s techniques. When our second daughter was born last March I realized that it was time to start a new business and O Happy Day Handmade was conceived. My business is just beginning and I will be sharing lots of tips, tutorials, and learning experiences this year as I develop my new company from the brand up!
Expect to see new posts about website design, social networking, business and marketing plan development, personal/business branding, advertising/promotional materials, and event planning for a business launch party!
I am excited about helping other small businesses navigate the world of buying and selling handmade and sharing my experience creating a new business with OMHG readers. Together we will go confidently in the direction of our dreams and create the life we have imagined!