business, man

May 27, 2008 – I was approached by a man this morning who is the founder of a business which makes beaded “fairy” inspired clothing for little girls as well as shoes for women. I begin to enquire the how’s and who’s of the making process. (They are made in Bangladesh.) When I explain I only carry Canadian handmade, I am met with a barage of opposition: What is Canada anymore? Canada is global. Nothing is made in Canada. If it is made in Canada it is so expensive no one will buy it. We agreed to not argue this major differences of opinion. We wished eachother well and off he went into the windy grey day to find a distributor for his products.

In the business world, it can sometimes be difficult to be the minority. I am a new business woman selling handmade Canadian products. He is a big experienced business man talking about world economies and profitablity. It is so easy to feel intimidated and begin the spiral of doubt. 

And then the door opens again and a “new to the shop” customer steps inside and says “Wow. This is so cool. It is like all those indie artist sites but a touchy, feely version”. And I look around and see all this amazing talent and beautiful product that is made by someone I have met or spoken with. (Some of which is a total steal Mr. Canadian handmade is too expensive and no one will buy it.) And I am happy.

Just thought I would share…



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4 responses to “business, man

  1. Chara, this is a nice note. Keep doing what you’re doing! I love stepping into your shop. Every time I’m there you’ve always got the greatest products, and they’re always changing, always unique!

  2. L-A

    It’s interesting that someone could be so negative about the idea of selling Canadian made products. I think there are a lot of people out there who are willing to buy Canadian and handmade, which is why your store is such a fantastic idea. I know I was excited to hear it was around as I’ve been trying to buy local (or at least Canadian) for a few years now. Sometimes it’s not easy to do, but it’s getting easier (thanks to Love, Me!) and worth it when you do find Canadian made goods.

  3. jen

    Thanks for expressing how I have felt for so long and never had the words to say it out loud.
    I run into clients and designers all the time who appreciate what we are doing. You keep on trucking. At least we can look in their eyes and feel no burdens about where it was made and by who…
    keep it up.

  4. Something really similar to this happened to me too a while ago, except the “business man” in question kept asking me rhetorical questions such as “if you are in business to make money, than why not sell widgets/doodads/whachamacalits instead of Canadian-made if that is what is going to make the most money?” He didn’t understand that I was not in business purely to make money (or else we’d have opened a Tim Horton’s franchise or something), but rather to make a living while contributing to something I strongly believe in. There was no way he was going to see my side of it though, and he was quite condescending actually, as though he needed to teach this poor little girl the rules of business…

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