I want to begin this post by thanking each of you who are reading this for supporting my journey as a small business owner. Through the years, I have ventured into some unique projects. From my blogging career since 2008 to becoming a world-wide selling artist with I See Noise Prints to starting my own marketing company, CIEL Creative Marketing, heading into the world of apparel sustainability with ARCHIVE and partnering with brands like Mastercard who support my entrepreneurship. You have been there through every step, and I am appreciative of the feedback and support you have given me. This week is Small Business Week in Canada, and I’d like to remind you all to celebrate the small businesses in your community!
What does it mean to run a small business? A few things that come to mind are community, action, education, fulfilment, economy and growth. Before I can dive into what it truly means to run a small business, I need to share where I’ve come from.
I am very grateful to come from a family of small business owners. Growing up, I was immersed in the day-to-day of running a business. At six years old, I started my first business of selling my Happy Meal toys to the other children. At nine, instead of a juice stand, I took my business door-to-door! Who could say no to a child? My parents and brother were consistently developing their skills and running a successful business. You can say I was surrounded by focus, commitment and enthusiasm!
As a child, I was able to witness how to run a small business when my parents opened their own. I remember being in awe of the customers that would come in while taking in day-to-day operations. I’ll never forget the first time I picked up a pricing gun… what a thrill! After that, my mother ran a very successful company, and this is where I discovered my love of business. You wouldn’t imagine how many runs to Staples I’ve done in my life! Running down the aisles imagining all of the reasons I would need supplies for my future businesses then running to the till to watch my mom tap her Mastercard and away we went. My brother has run an impressively successful company for years. As my older brother, he set the standard for chasing your dreams. Little did I know that as I got older, all of these moments in my life would collectively empower and educate me into the small business owner that I am today.
Running a small business is not all fun and games; it is a lot of hard work and persistence. It is providing something of value to your community for the people and economy to grow. It is about creating and sharing moments and watching the domino effect of empowerment land on each neighbour. Small businesses are not all about doing one thing perfectly but doing many things well, for the greater good.
Running CIEL Creative Marketing is my way of educating and empowering other small businesses. By providing an avenue for them to run their business effectively, they can grow while giving something back to the community. Marketing is more than social media; it’s about the connection to people, places and things. You can find me running around town to connect with clients in varying industries from food, fashion, tech and more.
ARCHIVE aims to create a circular economy in Vancouver. We are creating ways for our community to have a hand in what happens to their apparel. To date, we have diverted 1000 pounds of clothing from the landfills from just two events. We are gearing up for our third event this February! A small business can activate a big change!
Small businesses provide the spice of life to our communities. I can’t imagine a life where all I can experience are big-box shops with corporate structure, hustling the same products in every store. We need to experience the different cultures, foods, products, services, languages that small businesses bring. Small businesses provide us with innovation and a heart-felt connection. I adore popping into my local coffee shop and grocery store that are both family-owned knowing that when I provide them with my money, it’s going straight into the pockets of those who are serving the community. One of my favourite quotes is “when you buy from a small business, an actual person is doing a happy dance!”
With big change also comes big expenses! Whether you’re running a small- or large-scale business, it can come at a cost. This is why, more than ever, we need to support our small businesses! A small business doesn’t always mean small expenses. Thankfully, I use my Mastercard credit card for all of my business expenses, which means I can efficiently gain access to what my business needs while earning points in the process. Whether it be points I put towards future hotel bookings, restaurants, travel costs or printing services -it all adds up and makes a big difference (note that credit card benefits vary by issuer). My Mastercard credit card makes my stops to local stores, online orders and everything in-between as seamless as can be.
This week, let us all take extra time to visit and show support to our favourite small businesses. Watch the video above to learn more about my life as a small business owner.
Video by Spooner Creative.