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    News — Femme Stories

    Femme Stories | Edition 5 | Heather

    The idea for The Femme Stories was born last year, but with any small business some ideas just have to wait. When everything started happening surrounding the pandemic I was PROUD of my friends and colleagues for how they were tackling these unprecedented times and I wanted to document that, these are their stories.
     
    Heather | Dotty
     
    I met Heather from Dotty at my first OOAK show, I was a baby in the “market” world and was grateful for the group of women I was surrounded by. This first show I just broke even paying for my booth and was slightly discourage. Thankfully Heather was there to give advice and encouraged me to come back, she reminded me this is a process and each show you learn, adapt and grow. Now I still go to her for advice, but also a good laugh because she is hilarious, and occasionally a couch to crash on.
     
    During this crisis Heather pivoted really quickly to help her community. She donated her own scrap fabric, along with recruiting other designers to do the same. Between herself and the local factory she works, who were working from home, she got 1300 scrub caps and 7000 masks sewn for hospitals in the Barrie Area, plus has donated close to 2000 masks!

    Designer and owner of Dotty's Fashion Company

     

    With OOAK being postponed and then cancelled how did this affect your business?
     
    When it was postponed I knew that was the right call, and like a lot of us, I thought this would be over by June. I was worried, with it being pushed that people would already have the dresses they needed for weddings and summer parties, but felt confident my diehard clients would come out and support. As we all realized this would take longer to get under control and OOAK announced it was cancelling the Spring Show, I was ok at first, but mostly because I was in shock. When it set in that it wasn’t going to happen, it was a big blow, most makers heavily rely on the revenue generated at OOAK. For me, it is written into my yearly budget and this season I had decided to invest in lighter weight fabric which I normally don’t do, so it definitely has hit me.
     
    With that said, were there pieces you were excited to have your clients see in person and are there any pieces that you aren’t moving forward with now?
     
    The white eyelet tunic dress, it is the grown-up version of the cotton eyelet dresses we all had as kids. When I posted pictures of this design I got a huge reaction online, I am sad I won’t see customers try this style on in person. For my samples, there are ones that I am so in love with but without shows and stores to sell at, it makes no sense to move forward with these styles. Over the winter I had started selling with a local shop, Fresh Collective, and my pieces were selling like wildfire, and because of this, I was thinking if Dotty is selling great in Jan/Feb I better order up extra fabric for Spring to prep for OOAK as well. Thankfully I use a lot transitional fabrics, with OOAK being at the end of March, it is still winter in Canada, so I will be able to transfer these fabrics into Fall and even Spring for next year.
     
    Before COVID did you focus on online sales or were shows a bigger sales generator for you?
     
    Nothing brings me greater pleasure then hearing that cha-ching when I make a sale online! My pieces are great to ship, they don’t wrinkle, so it arrives to the customer looking the exact way it would look at the show. This past year I have been focused on my website, I hired consultants, worked on my SEO and upped my photography game by shooting each piece on different women. We all have such loyal customers and I wanted to give mine a way to buy Dotty in between shows and pop ups.
     
    How has it been running your business on top of homeschooling your kids?
     
    The hardest part is not having a schedule, we are all juggling our own things. The older kids are busy with their daily zoom school chats, my husband is working from home, and we both balance our work and make sure our youngest son is doing his school work and being entertained throughout the day. As much as possible I try and get a schedule organized for each day so we stay on top of it. Our two oldest kids help a lot, they each watch their younger brother for an hour so that I have time to look after orders that need to be shipped out. It definitely has been a team effort, we are all helping each other get through this.
     
    How have you used social media to connect with your clients during this time of self-isolation?
     
    This is another thing I have been working hard to get better at and be more consistent with. It took me awhile to get into doing Instagram stories, but I can’t argue with the reaction I get from them, clients feel more connected to what I am working on. With my newsletter I am more personal, these women are choosing to hear from me via email, it does seem different somehow. A few weeks ago, I was really missing my Dotty ladies, OOAK is our time to catch up, so I sent out an email asking how they were doing and told them what I was up to. I talked about my family, how we were coping and wished that they were all staying safe. I got so many responses, it felt amazing to hear from them, it reminded me that they want to see our journey. They like hearing from us and seeing what fabrics or buttons we are choosing. At first, I kept thinking they don’t want to see this, but they do. They want to see it all come together at the show and I know myself and my clients are missing that right now. So social media and emails has been huge to stay contacted with my Dotty clients.
     
     
    Heather is a community ambassador for the Fashion District at OOAK and even though we jokingly bring her “our problems” to tease her about this, she would actually do anything to help a fellow vendor. She is a great representation of the Made in Canada Fashion movement and I am often lucky to be her neighbour at these events. Her energy, positive attitude and straight up honesty are infections and I can’t say enough amazing things about this woman.
     
    Dotty is a womenswear clothing brand that has a classic fit. Fabric is all hand selected by Heather and she takes care to choose not only bold colours and unique prints, but also fabric that is machine washable and wrinkle free to make taking care of your Dotty Clothing easy and hassle free. Heather’s designs are all Made in Toronto and work for your real life, whether you are heading into the office or need a date night look, her designs will always have you looking great!
    Don't forget to follow her journey on Instagram. 
     
     

     

    Femme Stories | Edition 4 | Kasey

    The idea for The Femme Stories was born last year, but with any small business some ideas just have to wait. When everything started happening surrounding the pandemic I was PROUD of my friends and colleagues for how they were tackling these unprecedented times and I wanted to document that, these are their stories.
     
    Kasey | Cellar 82
     
    I first met Kasey from Cellar 82 in the Spring of 2017 when she collaborated with my favourite team (Kaja, Britt, May & myself), on the Cinnamon Solstice Editorial. We had a specific vision for this shoot, 2 girls living in the forest, and she helped bring that together with her amazing retrofitted Airstream. I remember meeting her and she was so upbeat and excited to be a part of this shoot, her energy was infectious. When the shutdown happened, she was one of the Instagram stories I had to see every day. Her Quarantine Cooking with Booze completely showed off her personality, how she was dealing with these times and it kept her brand in the forefront of peoples mind without selling them anything, just with pure entertainment.
    Kasey from Cellar 82, Retrofitted Airstream that you can rent for your special occasions.

    When the shutdown and isolation orders went into place, did you have any immediate events that were affected?
     
    Over the winter I had been planning an event for April 4th called, Temperance House. It was an innovative spirits show, we had a hotel in Almonte all booked and each room was a different cocktail theme. Spirit brands from all over Ontario and Canada were involved and my heart broke to cancel that event. Myself and my friend Johnny have been working tirelessly to put this on and having to cancel was really hard, especially because as news kept coming out a future date couldn’t be chosen because we don’t know what the future will look like.
     
    How has it been rescheduling and postponing weddings and other events for this summer?
     
    For the airstream, I kept saying my weddings don’t start till June so we should be fine and then when they announced it could be till the end of June I was like, crap this is really starting to affect me. My anxiety definitely didn’t kick in till later. Being a vendor for weddings, I am one of the last pieces of the puzzle for couples. They must be dealing with so much stress rebooking venues and putting their key components back together, mostly I am just trying to give them time, letting them know I am here to answer any questions or concerns.
     
    Honestly weddings are a small portion of my events throughout the year. A lot of my bookings are corporate events, and for these I usually am only booked a month in advance. It will affect Cellar 82 moving forward, if bigger crowds aren’t allowed to gather, corporate events won’t happen as well as my Cocktail Classes. I do feel lucky, I have a part time job, so I am just trying to make it all work.
     
    You have stayed very present on social media with your #quarantinecookingwithbooze, I love following these stories, are you finding it a great way to stay connected with your clients?
     
    So many people have messaged me to say this should be a full-time thing, that I should start to blog. Honestly, I have never been a good cook, so this has been a big challenge to look at my bar and see what I have and then create a dish with these ingredients.
     
    It has surprised me how much it has taken off and how much of a response I have gotten from this. I wanted to push the idea even further and do something unique, so the next idea is the Tipsy Dinner Club. It will be more of a cook along with me video and people will get to vote which recipe we make.
     
    Have you added any new apps or tech to your routine to keep your business going/connect with clients?
     
    I haven’t as of yet, but for the Tipsy Dinner Club, because it will be a video I want to keep on my Instagram, I will explore IGTV more. I haven’t jumped on the TikTok train yet, but I know business owners that use it and get huge views.
     
    On top of running your company, you have children at home, a lot of business owners I have talked to say the hardest part is there ISN’T a real schedule, are you feeling that way too?
     
    The hardest part is my daughter goes to an all French school and I don’t speak French, that is my husbands’ area, but he works all day, so we are doing the best we can to juggle. Like you said there is no schedule, so trying to keep them entertained is the goal. When this first started and everyone was on social media sharing these amazing arts and crafts projects and here is how you can learn a new language, that also really heightened my anxiety, I felt I wasn’t doing enough with this time. It has taken me this first month to realize it’s ok to have a quiet day and not want to do anything.
     
    Were there any creative ideas/company goals that you were planning on launching in 2020 and have been pushed to next year?
     
    I started Cellar 82 5 years ago and this last year I got really burnt out. At the end of 2019 I went on a 14 day road trip, like living in my truck to do all these events kind of road trip, and that really hit me hard. Burn out is normal for any business owner at the end of the year, but for me even by February I wasn’t feeling ready to tackle the start of the season. I had actively been seeking a partner, so I would have someone who could share the workload and we both had big plans for this merge, but with everything happening we are taking it day by day and hopefully we will be able to move forward with those plans in 2021.
     
     
    Kasey is a really genuine and innovative person. Brands all over are trying to find ways to connect with their clients right now and she did it by being herself and doing what she loves, which is really all you need. My first couple times working with Kasey it was through photoshoots, but as you dive deeper into her company you see her love of Spirits and Cocktail Artistry really drives a lot of her ideas for Cellar 82. Make sure to follow Kasey on Instagram & Facebook to keep up with her Tipsy Dinner Club, and head to her website to see the gorgeous Airstream, it evokes nostalgia in way you can’t image!

     

    FEMME STORIES | Edition 3 | Bridget & Christina

    The idea for The Femme Stories was born last year, but with any small business some ideas just have to wait. When everything started happening surrounding the pandemic I was PROUD of my friends and colleagues for how they were tackling these unprecedented times and I wanted to document that, these are their stories.
     

     Bridget & Christina | Flock & Workshop Boutique 

     I adore the women of Flock and Workshop Boutique, Bridget, Christina and Keri are the ones I have the most contact with, but every single person working for them is lovely, caring and super excited when I drop off new product, which always pumps me up. My favourite thing is their honesty, that may sound weird, but when I show them a new collection, I need honest feedback as to what will and won’t work in their shop and they ALWAYS give it to me. As a small designer, I don’t have extra money to “test” out styles, so I love that they are straight up with me. They know exactly what designs will and won’t work, and they give suggestions to help make a style sell better, like adding length or removing a cut out, then they sell it like crazy. For this interview I talked with Bridget, one of the owners, and again got nothing but honesty. These are tough times for all, but the thing I love most about small business owners is their ingenuity, grit and will to survive!

    Owners of Flock and Workshop boutique, Ottawa Store that carries Canadian Made Clothing
    How are you personally handling the new world we are living in?
     
    We are highly positive people - that’s the only thing that has kept our business going for the last 15 years - but of course there have been extreme highs and lows with this situation. This past weekend I was definitely in a low spot. Then a friend who is a doctor needed scrub caps, and weirdly, that task helped me focus. My daughter and I sewed all day to get them done and that helped bring me out of my slump. It made me feel like I can do good things and contribute during this shit storm!
     
    When this all started, what was your immediate outlook? Were you ready to dive in and tackle this or did it bring on anxieties or both?
     
    The whole thing was a roller coaster ride. My kids and I were actually planning to go away for March Break and the week before we decided that wasn’t a great idea, but other than that, things did feel somewhat normal. On the Friday before the self-isolation order came in, we knew our staff needed leadership, so we made a 7-day plan to stay open, which obviously didn’t happen! Both our shops are in very local business driven neighbourhoods (Flock is in Wellington Village // Workshop is downtown on Dalhousie) and that last weekend was glorious. The weather was perfect and the support from our community was amazing! It was a huge weekend for us, but by that Sunday further information had come in and we knew we had to make some difficult decisions. We weren’t asked to close, but after speaking for hours with Christina and Keri, we knew we had to: we wanted to protect our community and staff and we didn’t want to be responsible for the spread of the virus. There were so many unknowns that we felt the best thing to do was shut our physical store for now.
     
    It was definitely a career low for me, personally, as I called each staff member to explain our decision - it was emotional and there were tears on both sides. Our staff is our family, many of whom have been with us since the beginning. Any of them are welcome in my home, they are around my children, some are Moms themselves - we are our own community! In all our years running the shops we have never had to lay people off, it was very difficult. Our staff was so supportive of our decision - they continually told us we were making the right call for our community and our staff. They told us that our leadership would help get everyone through this, when inside I felt like I wasn’t providing any leadership at all.
     
    I feel like small businesses reacted quickly and smartly to what was happening and larger ones took time, how did this make you feel, shutting the shop while larger stores remained open?
     
    In a small business, staff are not just numbers on a balance sheet. A bigger business would do a cost benefit analysis before they made a decision like this. A week or two later, the bigger box stores started to close (because there weren’t enough customers/profit coming in) - that definitely isn’t how small businesses make decisions. Christina and I have a long history (15 years!) of making decisions that are bad for our business but good for our soul, and we stand by that! We are still here, so karma does come around. It definitely burned me quite a bit seeing big stores still open after we were closed, because pretty much every small business in our neighbourhoods had decided to close to protect their staff and communities, at a huge cost to their companies. After retail was required to close, I felt better about everything because I think every business needed to take part equally.
     
    What logistics have come up that you weren’t anticipating?
     
    I am very goal driven, and this situation has been weird for that aspect of my life. We have this business and it has functioned in this one way and now it’s like: we are going to give you a whole other business that you know very little about, so try to manage that! It has definitely thrown us a curve ball. We are making it through, but someone has to pull someone else up every day.
     
    We had had an online store for years and ironically 3 weeks before this happened we met with friends who sell predominately online and they gave us a boost to take it more seriously. We had been dabbling with selling online, but once the shops closed, we took it very seriously because we were now relying on our online sales to keep the dream alive!
     
    Your shop is known for its customer service, how did you translate that online to help customers buy from your site?
     
    For us our strength is helping our customers in the store: we know their style and size and we help them choose pieces from our different designers, but as you know, sizing is subjective for each of these brands and that definitely was the biggest obstacle to overcome. We started using our staff as models, doing features on one woman in different brands to help show what each brand looked like on a certain body type. Also posting multiple photos of one style on different body types and letting our customers know things like: Bridget is wearing this size, Christina is wearing this size... That has helped a lot. Also dealing with online returns was new for us, so in order to have fewer pieces returned, we are doing a lot more communicating before a purchase happens. In store, we did a lot of curating a capsule collection for our clients, so we have kept doing that online as well.
     
    What new tools/apps have you been using to keep the business going?
     
    I normally am a technophobe - Christina is our tech support at the shop. Within 48 hours of this happening, I had started using Zoom for meetings and to stay in touch with our staff and my 12 year old daughter has become my digital assistant. We are still receiving new items to help designers not lose this whole season. I am receiving things at home, quarantining them for the appropriate amount of time, then putting them online. We are shipping, doing curbside pick-up and doing porch deliveries as well. My daughter got me a delivery app to help me organize the order in which I do my porch drops and we are using Slack to help organize our Shopify orders. I have definitely been thrown into the tech world and I am trying to embrace that.
     
     
    Talking with Bridget, as a designer that sells with them, I was proud of these ladies and all they have done and are doing to keep small designers like me going. Their life’s work has been showcasing designers that manufacture in Canada. Bridget pointed out that ‘when you shop local, you can control the supply chain and quality of the goods and that the small business/designer experience is a part of this needed slow down.’ She said ‘If there can be silver lining to all this, it will be people understanding our local economy, the shop small movement was strong before this happened, and it is growing more because of what we are all going through, that is beautiful and wonderful.’ I agreed whole heartedly with her when she said ‘I crave a return to a business that I am familiar with and understand, like I had a month ago, but I am also happy that these small businesses are being creative and finding new ways to pay their bills and keep going. We are made of really tough stuff and I know some won’t survive this, but some will and there is light at the end of the tunnel if we look for it. ‘
     
    I can’t express my admiration for this business and these women who run it enough, if you have or are looking to support local in your wardrobe, they should be your #1 stop. They carry designers who make all their clothing in Canada and are very supportive of us. Check out their website to see the incredible designers who sell at Flock and Workshop Boutique.
     

    FEMME STORIES | Edition 2 | Emily

    The idea for The Femme Stories was born last year, but with any small business some ideas just have to wait. When everything started happening surrounding the pandemic I was PROUD of my friends and colleagues for how they were tackling these unprecedented times and I wanted to document that, these are their stories.
     
    Emily | Cheerfully Made
     
    I knew of Emily from Cheerfully Made before I actually met her in person, word of her incredible shows had reached me in Toronto. When I moved back to the Ottawa area, her Spring Show in Almonte, was the first Copious show I did. I was blown away with the setup, the organization and her CHEER! All the people who came out were there to shop local, but more importantly they were there to shop the local artisans with the Emily Approved Stamp. I quickly realized that Emily had cultivated relationships with these shoppers, and they trusted her opinion above all. I had just been let into a very inclusive circle! See what I did there? Cause makers are super inclusive!

    emily from Cheerfully Made shop, an Almonte shop that carries locally made products  
    At the very beginning, when everything shut down, what was your immediate outlook?
     
    Every week has been different, which I’m sure is what a lot makers have been feeling. We had just gotten back from a trip when the schools were closed those first 2 weeks, so for our family we were trying to juggling the kids and Cheerfully Made work. Spring is my time to start ramping up for shows and sales at the shop, winter is a slower time for us, I definitely count on spring being an annual rebirth in the store, so my I was in that headspace.
    With that said, I definitely believe in the power of positive thinking, so with our Spring Show a month away, I kept the date as is, thinking this would be over by the. It definitely took me awhile to catch up, I kept thinking it wasn’t going to go on this long.
     
    Around the time of us starting to self-isolate, you posted about upping your website game, was this well underway before everything happened?
     
    I had been building towards it for a while now. I had a website, but I wasn’t really making sales on it, so the goal was to streamline the look of it and make it one place, for both my customers to shop and to highlight makers for upcoming shows. It launched right before the isolation went into place, which was perfect timing, it gave my customers a place to shop and support local in their community.
     
    A lot of businesses find it hard to transition to online sales how has the support been from the community?
     
    It has been great and right now even though things are the way they are, people still need to buy things and past that they want to support us. On the other side of this laptop I am a consumer as well and right now I am truly looking for stuff to buy, it’s maybe not a lot, but it adds up for small businesses.
     
    Knowing you to be a very positive person, what are some of the positives that have come from this time?
     
    Honestly at first, I was like I could use a break. There were lots of things at work that I needed to catch up on, including the website. It wouldn’t have been fast tracked the way it was if it weren’t for this happening. Sometimes you need that push to really make something happen. The same goes for the markets, this year being the 10th annual Spring Market, I didn’t’ want to let it go, it helped inspire me to come up with the virtual market idea.
     
    Being a maker, I jumped at the idea of this virtual market, how did the idea come about?
     
    Originally, I had postponed the Spring Show, but pretty quickly I realized even if that was an option, I might have restrictions on the amount of people allowed in or have to cut back on vendors, so my intuition told me that a physical market wouldn’t be a go. Once I cancelled, I took the day to get my thoughts organized and see what my options were, at the same time the website was doing really well and I saw it was a viable option for customers to find makers and support them.
     
    With the platform already in place all I needed to figure out was how do I merge what makes a Cheerfully Made Market special to the website.  I did a huge brainstorming session to make a list of all the great things about our markets and then see how I could translate those virtually. For example, swag bags, the first 50 people get those at my shows, and virtually I will know who the first 50 shoppers are, so I knew I could still give away swag bags. Music was another big thing, my customers always tell me how much they love the music at shows, so I will have a Spotify Playlist that can played while they are virtually shopping, helping to bring our show experience to their homes.
     
    There are lots of other details I am organizing for the Virtual Market, but I have been blessed with the guts to move forward and have blind faith that it will work out. Plus, I know all the makers want it to work, so together I know we can all create an amazing experience for our customers!
     
     
    If you have ever been to a Cheerfully Made Show you know the detail that is involved, Emily creates an experience. The thing that impresses me most about all these women, is their drive to not let this affect their business. Yes, some things will be different, but Emily has always been about supporting the maker community that she loves, and sharing their talents with clients who trust her. Hearing her speak so passionately about this new challenge, I was inspired myself. It made me think, how I can make the shopping experience special for all the clients that attend this Virtual Market, she elevates us with her ideas and enthusiasm, plus she does it so cheerfully!
     
    Cheerfully Made is multifaceted business, from her bricks and mortar location in Almonte, which carries all locally made products, to her markets that she puts on 4-5 times a year in both Almonte and Ottawa, to the courses she has created to help makers get started, up their game or branch out to a new area. Ultimately this woman is about one thing, the Canadian craft community, she supports them, promotes them and shares her knowledge with them! You can connect with Emily via instagram, facebook or check out her website
    And be sure to check out the Virtual Market Event Page to get all the details!
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

    FEMME STORIES | Edition 1 | Britt

    The idea for The Femme Stories was born last year, but with any small business some ideas just have to wait. When everything started happening surrounding the pandemic I was PROUD of my friends and colleagues for how they were tackling these unprecedented times and I wanted to document that, these are their stories.
     

    Britt | Gloss Events and Décor 

    I have had the privilege of working with Britt from GLOSS on a number of fashion editorials, her positive energy and meticulous eye for detail is unparalleled. With her as your planner I have no doubt your wedding day would be perfect because of her creativity and drive to create beautiful spaces. When everything started to happen, my mind continually went to Britt and the weddings she had planned for this year. Chatting with her, you can hear the love she has for these couples and the desire to help them reconfigure their wedding date to a new day.
    Brittany from GLOSS events and decor, ottawa wedding planner and events coordinator
     For your 2020 Brides, are they looking to push to later this year or postponing till 2021?
     When the self-isolation order came in, we were optimistic that things would be back to normal within a few weeks, but as time went on and we learned more, couples started to reschedule or began to consider backup plans. My heart was heavy for them, weddings are planned months in advance and it was hard for some of my brides to lose their date. With a tidal wave of weddings being changed, we had to work quickly to make decisions to secure their dream wedding. There has been a lot of navigating the logistical chaos of contacting vendors and renegotiating contracts. This unpredictable future has impacted a lot of wedding dreams and with every sacrifice being made it is a good reminder of what true love is really about. No matter the final date, ultimately our couples will be married and these 2020/2021 weddings will reflect love’s strength.
     
    Where do you start when moving a wedding? With so many people shifting it must be hard to accommodate with all the same vendors.
     It always starts with the venue. They are the holder of dates and usually the biggest expense for our clients so we wanted to make sure that things will transition smoothly. The next steps are based on the couple’s vendor priorities (ie: a photographer they can’t live without, or rentals that are critical to their vision). The goal is to try and keep the same vendor team in place to fulfill the couples vision, but if we have to adapt, we will.
     
    Did you have any brides that wanted to move forward with their date, but do a social distancing wedding?
     Surprisingly no (or not yet at least.) Honestly, I would love to get creative with alternative wedding ideas! Just imagine how romantic it would be to have just you, your significant other, your officiant and an amazing photographer or videographer to capture this personal moment. It would be so special, and genuinely about the love two people share.
     
    Even though this is a crazy time, have you been contacted by brides for 2021 weddings?
     Yes, we are definitely getting inquiries, couples are still getting engaged! They are also realizing that certain dates will be at premium in 2021 with many 2020 weddings being forced into that year. Having a wedding planner who really knows the industry and can effectively help navigate around obstacles will be even more important.
     
    Do you think there will be surge of weddings on unusual days in 2021 because of so many weddings being pushed a year?
     Absolutely, I think people will have to learn to embrace the extraordinary time we are in. When meticulously planned, even a wedding on a Thursday or Sunday can be just as special! There’s a bonus as well because you can often save money on some big-ticket items when you’re open to alternative options!
     
    Your company is based on personal relationships and sitting face to face with brides who you work with. When the self-isolation order went in place how did you shift to maintain your business within these restrictions.
     We were very lucky to have booked meetings with the majority of our clients in the weeks before things got “real”, so for the most part there were recent face-to-face meet ups. Post pandemic we have opted for ‘overcommunication,’ we are sending extra emails to check in, additional phone calls to stay connected, and Zoom online video conferences with their vendors to select stationery designs, discuss layouts, conduct virtual tours, clarify details, etc.
     
    It is important to recognize that everyone’s way of life seemed to disappear overnight because of Covid-19, and this new reality can trigger a sense of loss, feelings of disappointment, sadness and uncertainty, especially for couples whose big day was on the horizon. Our business is about curating wedding dreams built upon personal relationships, and so even with social distancing, togetherness, understanding, patience and positivity are essential. Therefore, it is very important to us that all our clients know that we will be here for them whenever they need us.
     
    How did you react when this happened, did you instantly know you could get through this, are you struggling with ups and downs?
     When the news broke that we needed to stay home, I imaged it would be a hard couple of weeks but I became deeply saddened during the first few days of self-isolation, I started to become overwhelmed by the idea that not only my business, but my life was about to change in a massive way. As I had more time to accept my new normal, I soon realized that there was power and even a sense of control within that acceptance. Since that moment, I’ve tried my best to embrace this time as a gift. It means more quality time with my 4 kids, extra one-on-one with my husband, I try to take a little time every day for myself just to breathe, center my thoughts and inner reflections. This time has allowed me to complete a few decorating projects and check some things off the to-do list around the house, as well as cook some great meals for my family. On a much larger scale, as we all do our part to stay home, I have become more aware of the environmental impact on our planet, and hope lasting lessons are learned worldwide in that regard.
     
    We will get through this together and hopefully there isn’t another moment like it in our history, but for now, I try to find pockets of normalcy within the waves of emotion. In the meantime, we might as well do our best to drink good wine, laugh more, experiment with different recipes, play board games & video games, dance, sew, paint, watch movies, read a book, teach, learn, be there for the people around us (even if that means digitally) and always love deeply.
     
    How has this affecting plans/goals for 2020 and has it fueled major ideas for 2021?
     I love planning and creating unique and special events, the ideas are endless! One of my current isolation projects is a giant 400-balloon installation that I am building to drape across our house. I hope the rainbow of colours and sheer size will brighten someone’s day and bring a smile to the face of health care workers on their way to work at our local hospital. Beyond the present moment, I guess we will just have to wait and see what the future holds!
     
     
     Talking with Brittany was extremely uplifting, she is very positive person and I loved hearing how she was helping her clients get through this crazy time! I think the two most powerful things I took away from our talk was, even though we are all on a rollercoaster of emotions, knowing we are all in this together, we are all struggling, but that there is someone to support you when you are down and you can help bring someone up when they are down, then that cycle of kindness is there. The second was the beautiful way she is looking at all this time we have been given. On top of running her company, she is a wife and mom to 4, so homeschooling too! She told me their family did a food cart that they put at the end of their driveway and the kids made signs that said ‘help yourself’ and ‘take whatever you need’ and while the kids watched people enjoying what they had done, she told them ‘this is kindness, when you see someone take food off that cart you know you have done something kind, you are making them feel better and they will pass that kindness onto someone in their life.’ It was beautiful to hear her speak about teaching her children this, a life lesson I know they will carry with them forever, that you can personally spread positivity, kindness and happiness!
     
    GLOSS is a boutique event planning and interior decorating business located in Ottawa that prides itself on being trend setting, detail oriented, and making their clients feel like the most important people in the world. The majority of their business is planning spectacular weddings that allow them to run wild with their unique ideas based around their clients. Every element and detail are well thought out from the font selection on your invitations to the fireworks at the end of the night. With each event their goal is to always exceed their client’s expectations. To learn more about Britt’s company GLOSS, check out her website featuring her stunning work. You can connect with Britt via instagram, facebook or check out her website
    Photography Credit: Laura Kelly Photography