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Beads x Meg - Megan White in Banff, AB
October 13, 2021

Beads x Meg - Megan White in Banff, AB

Started beading now she's here.. everyday bead wear inspired by nature. Collection consists of gemstones, pearls and seed beads. 

 

 

How did Beads x Meg start and how long have you been in business?

Beads x Meg started 4 years ago. I have always made jewelry as a hobby and started to sell my pieces to friends and family. I received a government grant and began to expand my business on Etsy, selling in retail shops and hosting workshops.

 

What inspired you to get into beadwork?

I find bead work to be very calming. Beading is also a way to explore my creative side.


Is this your primary job and did you have prior training in business?

Currently Beads x Meg is not my primary job. I also work in the service industry. I am a self taught bead artist.

  

What are your goals for the next year?

My top 3 goals for next year;

  1. Reach 200 sales on Etsy 
  2. Have Beads x Meg in 2 new retail spaces
  3. Host more workshops (in person or online)

 

What would you say is the most challenging part of working for yourself?

The most challenging part about working for yourself is having enough time. Having enough time as one person to complete all the tasks that come with running a business.

  

What would you say is the most rewarding part about working for yourself?

 

 


The most rewarding part about working for myself is being able to be creative. I have always loved making jewelry and other crafts. It is also very special having so many friends, family and online community love the jewelry I create

 

Which beads are the most popular and what benefits can they give for healing/health?

As of lately Moonstone has been the most popular gemstone. Moonstone has been know to help foster new beginnings and promote inner growth. Moonstone also helps balance ones emotions and can create a sense of calm.

  

What would be your ideal dream for Beads x Meg?

The ideal dream for Beads x Meg would be to create full time. Would love to see my jewelry in more retail spaces and attending more markets and pop ups.

 

Do you ever get inspired by nature and your environment to create?

 

Yes I do. When I can I love making jewelry outside. Some of the gemstones I use also remind me of the beautiful lakes and mountains that surround me in the Rockies.

 

Lastly, any advice you would give to someone that is thinking of working for themselves?

 

Start the business! You do not have to have everything figured out to begin. 

 

Megan White

 

 

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Randa Roberts - So Comfy Designs - Sarnia, ON
August 02, 2021

Randa Roberts - So Comfy Designs - Sarnia, ON

Proud to introduce one of the first Girl Gang Members with a unique small business that has won her awards and high praise in her community. 

 

 

What is So Comfy Designs? How did you start and how long have you been in business?

It goes back to 2012, where my first collection was headbands and sandals made from upcycled t-shirts. The first, and most common feedback I got was "it's SO COMFY!" and my BFF suggested I name my business So Comfy Designs. Starting out I had a lot to learn, and I just tried to be open and find something that resonated with me, and to make a product that nobody else was making. Eventually upcycled sweater mittens, and then upcycled leather bags became what I was known for. And here we are! 

 

Creating new designs and keeping up on trends can be tricky, how do you maintain your growth and keep it fresh?

Well, the materials will always inspire me, so when I get handed some leather for a custom bag, or I find a couch on the curb to strip, that's when the first ideas come to me. I've found that the trick to keeping trendy is to pick one element of a trend I love, then include it in my work. That way it's timely but also timeless. So, a recent example is I love the trend of the pieced wood art wall hangings/furniture, so I was inspired to design something similar, but with leather, and made it into a coin purse. I do my best, and if it doesn't resonate with me, then I don't make it.


Tell us about your new Vessel Collection you just launched.

It came from the need to de-stash my couch leather collection! I'd been stripping couches and had a lot of really useful leather, but no idea what to do. I was totally inspired by the thickness and the beautiful suede back that was in excellent shape, so I created a collection of bags that didn't have linings, and really are a vessel for your essentials. Wallet, keys, phone. Simple bags, that in my opinion, were very beautiful in their own minimalistic way. I've been carrying one of the fold over styles for months and I love to use it. Perfect for summer!

  

What was one of your most memorable pieces you’ve made to date?

Like asking me who's my favorite child. No, there are so many stories behind most of my pieces, especially the custom bags that are made from a loved ones jacket. It's very meaning for me to be able to use my skills to give a family a little souvenir of a loved one in the form of a wallet, or bag, or keychain. I'll always value every single one of those experiences. I do want to give an honorable mention to the Louis V fringe out's that I've been doing. I had one customer come to me a few years ago with a picture and a Louis Vuitton, and since then I've lost count on how many I've done. Each one unique. I'm working on one right now actually!

 

Looking back now what would you never expect from working for yourself?

Funny story. 12 years ago I crossed paths with a psychic who told me that I'd be in business for myself. And she told me that it would be very hard and I'd want to give up a lot, but to keep going and it would work out. I never in a million years imagined at that moment that I would be a handmade maker and actually have been able to make hundreds of bags and mittens!

Working for myself is without a doubt the hardest job because there are a million steps to take before you make a profit for yourself. And that was unexpected, because I thought that a low overhead meant more profit, but really there are so many factors. And I'm still hustling towards that profit, so you have to be resilient as hell sometimes. I had hoped it would happens sooner (lol).

  

What goals have you set for So Comfy in the next 5 years? 10 years?

The next frontier will be recording some of what I've learned and hopefully turning it around and teaching and selling some sewing patterns. I've been a part of the OLFA Craft team for a few years, and I hope to continue working with them. I have some really exciting projects coming up, so it's already starting! I've been super inspired by my fellow maker and OLFA Expert Carla who paid for her kids university directly from her sewing and crafting, that truly is my number one goal in the next 5-10. 

 

How has the pandemic affected the way you work and what have you shifted that would enhance your skill set going into 2022? 

Maybe I could have had a pandemic-proof business, but the truth is, I'm a mom first, and having our lives flipped with the kids learning from home affected me a lot. It definitely robbed me of my creativity because of the stress and uncertainty that the pandemic brought. Like a lot of people, I struggled, and had to accept that it's okay, and I'm okay. Not easy. So going into 2022, I've been laying the groundwork for more social media posts, more tutorials, and making answering e-mails and message a top priority. Those things had suffered over the last 18 months and they are really important to my business.  

 

You were apart of the making of Girl Gang, over the past 3 years what would you say Girl Gang means to you?

Girl Gang is a like-minded group of super creative and fearless female makers, a lot of whom I call personal friends, and that's the real core reason why I love and support it. I know you speak to a huge market, and it is amazing that I can hand you my product, and you'll show it to them. I've loved your photography, location, mission, and marketing, and that's what I think makes the Girl Gang stand out. Also, you're pretty awesome women!

 

Who has been your BIGGEST support system through all of the ups and downs, the unknowns, and the successes?

My family and friends. My husband is very selfless and supportive always, and my Mom is the first person I call when something exciting happens for my business. It's really easy to have doubts, and see all the flaws in something when you're the creator, so having like minded friends who are also makers, and seriously the best customers a girl could want are the secrets to my longevity.

 

Lastly, any advice you would give to someone that is thinking of working for themselves?

Don't give up! Always be open to learning a new way. Search for podcasts that will teach you or inspire you. Show gratitude. Believe in yourself. Ask for help. And, don't give up (that one bears repeating).

 

Randa

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Photography by Meghan Chute Photography

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Jolene Laskey - Wabanaki Maple Syrup in Neqotkuk (Tobique First Nation), NB
October 29, 2020

Jolene Laskey - Wabanaki Maple Syrup in Neqotkuk (Tobique First Nation), NB

Wabanaki is 100% Indigenous female-owned and located on Neqotkuk (Tobique First Nation), Wabanaki Maple is proud to introduce you to this tradition that's shared by many Peoples of the Wabanaki Confederacy; Wolastoqiyik, Mi'kmaq, Penobscot, Abenaki, and Passamaquoddy.

 

Read our interview with Jolene below to find out more about this Canadian staple. 

What is Wabanaki?

Wabanaki translated, means “People of the Dawn” or “People of the first Light” it has other references too such as, People of the Eastern Woodlands, but the meaning of Wabanaki refers to the five different First Nation tribes known as, the Wolastoqiyik, Mi’kmaq, Passamaquoddy, Penobscot and the Abanaki, together they formed an alliance to protect and watch over the lands, this alliance is referred to as the Wabanaki Confederacy. 

 

How did Wabanaki start?

I had my first experience and exposure to gathering and harvesting maple syrup many years ago, while working at my sister's hobby sugar bush. I must say, it was one of my more enjoyable and memorable work experiences. So for me, I believe a seed had been planted many years ago and has been nurtured and grown into the company today. Inspired by our ancestral roots, Wabanaki Maple was started in 2018. I wanted to share and reconnect people and communities with a piece of our Indigenous history and culture through our maple syrup products. 

 

Have you always lived in New Brunswick? 

For most of my life I've lived in New Brunswick, but I was born in Nova Scotia and lived there until the age of 5. I grew up in a military family and non-Indigenous communities, and it wasn't until my father retired from the Navy that we found our way back to New Brunswick and then some 20yrs later reconnected to our First Nation community of Tobique!

 

What is your favourite way to serve?

I have many favourite ways to serve, but the one I use daily is to serve maple syrup as a natural sweetener for my coffee, and I also love using our maple syrup as the final topping to compliment my French toast breakfast.

 

Do you have a favourite flavour?

I’d have to say I’m partial to our Bourbon barrel aged syrup, it pairs perfectly with fish and seafood like salmon and scallops, which happen to also be some of my favorite foods! 

 

What does Girl Gang mean to you?

I think the Girl Gang definitely represents strength and empowerment for all women nation-wide. Especially women business owners in communities across our nation. By sharing, supporting and connecting women they are helping to foster and create a healthy business environment, where we can learn, grow and thrive together!

 

What are your professional goals in the next year?

One of my goals for next year is to move the business forward into international and export markets. I plan to learn the ins and outs of exportation. For this advancement, we will be focused on more market research and identifying new markets, we also plan on expanding our team and to train with the proper process and procedures for the distribution of our products for both our B2C & B2B sales channels.

 

What should every woman try at least once in her life?

I'd suggest taking a couple days and head out towards the great outdoors, set up camp and surround yourself with forest and waterways to connect with Mother Nature, without internet or phones, and just disconnect from your daily routine for a while. Take this opportunity to invigorate and replenish yourself.

 

What are some of your favorite hobbies or pastimes? 

It may sound odd, but I like getting my hands dirty! Give me a shovel, some seeds, and some dirt and I'm happy. Working outside in my multiple flower gardens is what I refer to as my "therapy"! I also really enjoy gathering and harvesting some of our traditional food from our environment. Whether it's picking berries, fishing or hunting, it's even better when I have my children and grandchildren to accompany me. It's these special moments that allow for me to pass on and share my knowledge with them and to create new memories. 

 

Jolene Laskey
CEO & President

Wabanaki Mapl
(Wolastoq Maple Products)
(506) 479-4197
Jolene@wabanakimaple.com

 

Do you want to be a monthly feature to The Girl Gang?
Contact us today at contact@thegirlgang.ca

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Sarah Jansel, Sadi & Sari -London, ON
March 05, 2020

Sarah Jansel, Sadi & Sari -London, ON

Have you heard of Sadi & Sari? You're going to love her boho chic fashions.

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