Apparel accessories industry
Participated in 1978 in JA Company Program at Eric Hamber Secondary School
What did you do in the JA program?
Our group made a wooden product that had hooks on it. The idea was that people could use it to hang keys or other small items. We then sold them door to door.
What did you learn and achieve in the JA program?
The program ignited the spark from which I became an entrepreneur..
How has it impacted you in your career path? In your current job?
My JA program experience gave me skills and insights for jump-starting my online businesses.
I have had a professional career for the past 27 years as a clinical counsellor. About 20 years ago, I opened up my private counselling practice which I have maintained at one day a week ever since. Then in 2005, my sister and I started up a business – Wee Travel Baby Equipment Rentals. My sister lives in Toronto and was traveling to Vancouver to visit with her then baby son. She realized she couldn’t drag all the necessary baby equipment with her as her husband was not joining her on that trip. She thought of the idea while on the plane. I was on holidays during her visit so we spent a little time researching the idea and we realized that no such business existed in Vancouver. We bought a website development program at London Drugs, built a site and received our first order after three weeks! We grew the business from the initial Vancouver location to include Toronto and Victoria.
This has been an incredible learning experience as neither of us had any formal business background – I have a Master’s degree in counselling psychology and she has a Masters in social planning. We have yet to write a formal business plan! Last year we sold the business, and it’s still running in those three cities.
About four years ago, I started up Shape Your Bootie. I had a closet full of boots that were all flopped over and I needed a product to keep them upright and wrinkle-free. Having run Wee Travel, I knew I no longer wanted to be in the “service industry.” Shape Your Bootie is a practical product and I sell it online which makes life much easier!
What are your professional aspirations?
I recently obtained my private investigator license, so I’m branching out from my counselling/private practice and getting involved in some very interesting cases (not following people or trying to catch spouses having affairs!) My husband is a retired police officer so we are doing some work together now. It’s fun and I’m looking forward to seeing where that leads us.
Any insights or advice you can offer to future JA students?
I am a JA volunteer and I am scheduled to go into my second class in April. It’s come full circle for me and it’s wonderful to see the elementary-age kids get excited about their business idea and work through the whole process. I’m sure some of them will be entrepreneurs when they get older. I hope my time with them ignites a spark as it did for me!