We asked the inspiring women behind local jewelry brand Flourish Stonewear about how having a business has impacted their growth, and what the past year has been like for them as they navigated a flourishing business (ha, see what I did there?) with the demands of home + family.
Shop their exclusive women's day collection HERE
What women support and inspire you on your career path or in your business? Larra and Dawn have been supported and inspired by several women! The person that Larra feels supported and inspired by the most is her mom. Growing up she always encouraged her in her artistic abilities and gave her the confidence to believe she could do anything she set her mind to. Larra’s aunts are professional painters and artisans so she had close-up examples of women earning a living from their talents. And, she never saw her mom without a great pair of earrings on! Dawn has been inspired by fellow business owners in our community. The connections she has made, especially within the last year have been invaluable. The isolation of not being at markets and chatting with business owners has been hard and it has also forced her to reach out more to people, learning and sharing all of their experiences.
What gender specific challenges, stereotypes or barriers have you had to overcome during your career (or in your business)? We are women embarking on an artistic trade and we have found that some individuals do not see our business as a legitimate one. Often people saw it as a hobby instead of a business.
Where are you feeling empowered (or disempowered) in your own woman's story... and has covid19 amplified this for you? We feel very empowered by the support of the women who buy from us. Throughout covid19 we thought our business would decline but it actually grew because of the support of women ordering from us across Canada. We feel very blessed by these women and have come to know some of them personally.
How have your female networks and companionships supported you through the past year? First off, we are very blessed to be in a woman partnership. We have this “entrepreneurial companionship” that is invaluable. We compliment each other in so many ways - where one of us lacks the other has abundance and vise versa. And the great thing is, we can acknowledge (and make fun) of our own blunders. We support each other in our business and in our personal lives in a way that comes from knowing each other for many years. Also, the support of other female makers we’ve met through social media has been overwhelmingly positive. We are part of a community of women that encourage and support each other.
How has owning your own business changed your life and how you see gender equality? Owning our own business has given us joy we didn’t have before - knowing our talents are being put to good use and our business is being fruitful. Being part of a maker community that is largely owned and operated by women has encouraged us to sell our products for what they are worth for our time and our talent.
Covid19 has disproportionately affected women (taking on a heavier burden at home and with childcare in lockdowns). How can we support other women as we start the social and economic recovery process? Both of us have struggled immensely at home during covid19 because we both have children with Autism and we are the main care providers for them. It has been isolating and hard work. We text or talk everyday. When we have hard days, we help each other through it. It is only through relationships like ours that women will emotionally make it through this with a positive outlook for the future. Reaching out to other women entrepreneurs having a hard time at home has also been a great support. (Also, for cheer-up days, we buy each other locally made gifts.)
What would you tell your younger self (in career or business)? What do you wish you had known or not spent so much time worrying about? If we could have talked to our younger self, we would have told ourselves that there isn’t one way to run a business. There isn’t a perfect solution or model for success - there is only growth from sharing experiences with fellow business owners and experiencing what provides us success in our own way. We WILL have failures alongside our successes and this is what provides growth and a chance for learning. We would tell our younger selves that when we stumble, we will brush off our skinny jeans, push our hair back to the side part it belongs, check our statement earrings and keep walking. Our struggles and stumbles are part of our journey.
Explore their website HERE and follow them on IG @flourishstonewear