entrepreneur


As much as I’ve neglected this blog, I’ve been even worse with my other blog … the one for my Vivero Glass jewelry business. Finally I’ve updated it with some more recent photos and links to the bricks & mortar stores selling my work. And naturally there is a link to my Etsy shop as well. Today I fired a whole batch of new buttons and pendants, mostly destined for St Andrews NB, but some will end up on Etsy too.

Have a look … and send all your friends there too ;o)

Advertisements

Okay not me, but my ‘stuff’. Late last night I made my first listings on Etsy. It’s pretty easy to do, though you have to be organized with photos and descriptions of each item ready before you post them. But now I’m ready to sit back and watch the orders pour in from around the globe. Maybe!

Here is the link if you would like to have a look and maybe even send it to everyone you know:

http://viveroglass.etsy.com/

So far I’ve listed a dozen items, but I have more to come.

I especially love the snowglobes, and I intend to keep making more of those. I’ve had a thing for snowglobes (snowshakers) since about the time I was in university. The first one I ever bought was during a trip to Paris. I’ve bought many more in all sorts of places, and the best thing is that friends brought them back for me too. Sometimes people I didn’t even know that well would bring them for me, because they seemed to enjoy the idea of adding something unique and exotic to my collection. Many of them had great stories attached, like the one from Egypt … My Egyptologist friend sought out a tacky souvenir for me, despite the horrified protestations of her esteemed Egyptian colleagues who thought she should be looking for fine antiquities. That’s what friends are for!

At one point I had about a hundred snow shakers. I’ve had to cull some as I moved into a smaller space, but I still keep and treasure many of them. And now I’ve found a new way to explore my fascination with those watery idyllic little worlds.

This morning I retrieved a batch of my fused glass from the kiln. I had been experimenting with some new designs, so I was excited to see how they had turned out. Before seeing them, I was a little nervous because sometimes these experiments don’t work out, and it’s sad to have to reject pieces. Most batches have at least a couple of duds (I fire 30-40 things at a time, little buttons and pendants). Anyway today I was quite pleased with how things turned out! Sneak preview photos:

This pile of shiny glass ‘donuts’ will soon be heading to one of my client stores in New Brunswick. They are kind of mesmerizing, I feel like one of those birds that hoards shiny objects … ! (Bower birds? Magpies?)

And here are a whole bunch of right whales I did. Sunrise, sunset, foggy days – all kinds of weather! They need to have bails attached. Once they are finished I will be posting better photos on my Vivero Glass blog… along with several other new designs including other sea creatures like leatherback turtles and seahorses!

This morning I dragged myself out of bed before the sun came up, and made my way to the local CBC radio building to participate in the live audience on a special forum. (Thanks to my super fella who drove me there at 6 a.m.! It’s only a 5 minute drive but still!) Local media including the CBC radio morning show host have recently been making a particular comment that made me mad and so when I heard they were holding this forum, I had to go. I sent an e-mail to the show and got myself invited to be in the audience. There would be guest panelists and then questions & comments taken from the audience.

What these local media have been repeating is this tired old mantra: “Barrington is dead”. That is Barrington Street, the main street in downtown Halifax and the location of my business. When one or two businesses close, people freak out and act as though we are entering the Great Depression and the main street is skid row. People say “thirty years ago it was so much nicer”. But they seem incapable of grasping that the street and the downtown are so much better than they were ten or five years ago.

Hurrican Juan

This is what some people would have you think Barrington is like. But this was the day after Hurricane Juan!

Meanwhile, tons of new businesses like ours have been opening in the past couple of years in this area. We have lots of loyal customers who are from Halifax, and many from other provinces who come to see us whenever they are in town. Is it ever frustrating to hear the negative Eeyores (I guess that’s redundant) moaning about how it’s not the same as it was. The local paper, The Daily News, ran a front-page article to this effect last week. Then a few days later CBC radio did the same thing.

But then the CBC announced this forum called “Winners or Whiners: How much change is Halifax willing to embrace?”. I won’t bore you with a lot of detail about the chronic ‘debate’ in Halifax about preserving our heritage vs. encouraging new development. But you could say it’s been a fairly polarized debate. So today I got to take part and have my say on the radio, reminding the millions of listeners to the show that there are a lot of positive things happening downtown. Let’s quit being so negative, pay attention to what is really happening and encourage people to come downtown, rather than scaring them away with false tales of sordid evil and broken glass.

Many interesting comments were made by participants – some silly and some wise. One newspaper columnist had some funny and scathing comments about how Halifax is fascinated with the past, like the time the city blew up, or the wars … Halifax has a history of “sleeping between the wars”. The one comment that stuck with me most – stuck in my craw, you might say – was the invited cultural panel member who is a poet and writer. After agreeing that one of the great barriers to change is the lack of leadership, she said this: “I’m an artist and a writer, I’m too busy to be a leader.” Too busy to be a leader! If it wasn’t such an idiotic comment, it would be hilarious. Too busy writing poetry to be a leader! So who would she expect to be leaders, people who have nothing else to do with their time?

Also after the hurricane

This was also taken the day after the hurricane … okay, so I don’t take a lot of photos downtown!

Anyway this is probably too long and boring. But I’ve gotten worked up about this and I’m resolved to be vocally and persistently positive about downtown Halifax. This past year I was on the board of my condo (good times!) but after that term ends I think I will devote my time to volunteering with the Downtown Halifax Biz Commission and related activities. My goal: To help start changing the public perception of Barrington St., from myth to reality.

One interesting observation I made at the forum today: The people like me who get frustrated at the whiners mostly seem to be “from away”, i.e. moved here from other places.

Ironic note?: As I’m writing this, I’m watching late-night CBC TV, a documentary about: The Halifax Explosion! I’m fascinated with Halifax history because it is alive, it is visible in a way that you don’t see in Toronto. But it’s time for the city to mix more innovation and exciting development in with that history.

Alright, I’m going to join the masses and try this blogging thing. The impetus came from a friend who moved far far away and lost touch, then created his own blog to get back in touch with people. (Good idea Donald!) I, too have gotten worse and worse at communicating with family & friends, so I will try this. Hopefully it’s a little better than mass e-mails.

In the past year & a half, I gave up a secure job of ten years to start a new business (with two business partners). It’s been a real adventure. I’ve learned a lot about business and bookkeeping and people … things I never would have imagined just two years ago. The business is The Loop, a cool modern knitting shop in downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia. We cater to everyone, but the majority of our customers seem to be young professionals and students who are enjoying being in touch with their creative sides. The store’s website is www.theloophalifax.ca

In the past couple of months, I’ve also started another business – I’m making fused glass jewelry and selling it. This started because we need hand-made glass buttons to sell at The Loop. I took a workshop and realized I really like the fused glass work, and now I’m selling stuff to The Loop along with a few other customers. Very fun! After everything it took to start a retail business, it was a piece of cake to get the glass business up & running. I’ve been told that being an entrepreneur is addictive … hah! I can see that in a way, but this one was easy. I have 4 retail customers established, one more ready to buy my stuff in the spring, and one wholesale customer. When I get the time (hah!) I might try to sell some online at www.etsy.com.

And even more recently, I’ve started to do some consulting work for DFO (the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans). This is a perfect addition … it will help pay the bills while providing a different kind of mental stimulation than running the store. And of course I’m really glad to get my fingers back into the world of conservation.

Oh and I’m volunteering on the board of my condo. Not very exciting but it’s yet another use of my time.

With this big life change, I have a lot less time (and money) to travel. This is one of the hardest adjustments for me. But I’m still happily riding my motorcycle (1998 BMW F650) around town as much as I can. Hopefully next year I’ll be able to go on a good road trip with my handsome and handy boyfriend Bill. Bill bought a used Suzuki DL1000, also known as a V-Strom, this past year. He loves it.

Well this was a night I was going to try to go to bed early. I seem to be allergic to going to bed early lately, with all the stuff going on in my life. But I miss being in more contact with all of my dear friends (in Canada, the U.S, Europe, Australia … ) So maybe by updating this once in a while I can be better at being in touch with you, and hear from you too!
Cathy