Pop Up Shopping

Pop up retail is a new concept for me.  It’s been hovering right there on my periphery but I wasn’t really sure what it meant.  Last night at Black Bear Resort in Port McNeill I experienced my first one.  Vendors from Port McNeill, Port Hardy, Port Alice, Sointula and Campbell River all gathered together to showcase their merchandise in an intimate setting.  Organic marketing with a Facebook event page and posters around town gathered at least 100 customers together for the one night event.

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Megan Hodgson – Wild Threads

Disclaimer – Megan is my daughter and the main reason I gave up Netflix and a warm fire on a chilly Thursday night.  Megan sews baby & toddler toques made from organic cotton and flannel receiving blankets and burp cloths.  Our adorable grandson Bowen was her first model and as he grows so does the selection of toque sizes she offers.  The patterns are funky coastal with trees, whales, mountains and mermaids.

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Michele van der Wielen of West Coast Mamas from Campbell River

Michele was the organizer of the event.  Meeting with some of the other vendors at Orca Fest in August they kept in touch on Instagram and came up with idea of the pop up in Port McNeill.  The lobby and meeting room at Black Bear Resort were packed with displays and they’re already talking about another one next month.

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Sandra Krieva Designs

Yes, I was extremely happy to buy a few Christmas gifts at Sandra’s table.  I won’t mention what those items are in case that family member reads this post 😉 I can tell you that Sandra sells jewelry, bath salts, body scrubs, cards & gift tags, different sized heatable bean bags and more.

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Neva Perrott – Neva’s Naturals

Neva is one of the founding members of North Island Farmer’s Market and she’s a huge supporter of the burgeoning home business movement.  Her foaming lavender hand soap is my absolute favourite and anyone who has tried her salsa raves about it.  Definitely got a bit of a kick !!  Neva is always experimenting with essential oils for her bath bombs and bath soaks.

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Jodie Belliveau of Port Alice & Kirstin Baron of Port McNeill both represent Hempworx

Things I learned tonight from Jodie & Kirstin.  Their product Hempworx is Hemp Oil that people use topically or internally for all sorts of ailments.  It’s basically cannabis without the THC and completely legal.  There’s loads of information about the product on the official website or ask Jodie & Kirstin directly about buying or selling the line of oils & sprays.

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Belen Becker

Those yellow pie shaped sheets in the lower left of the photo sparked a very interesting conversation with Belen.   They’re used in place of plastic wrap to store leftover fruit and vegetables.  The beeswax in them keeps produce fresher, longer and is so much better for the environment.  She also had some warm & cozy looking wool socks for sale as well as some cool looking wooden combs and retro plant hangers.

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Gabriel Dey of Sedna Designs from Sointula

New to the North Island Gabriel has been living in Sointula for ten months.  Her jewelry is all hand crafted and the majority of it are one piece originals.  Very passionate about her craft Gabriel shared details about some of the stones, wire & process that go into each piece.  Sooooo pretty — it’s amazing I walked away with only one small bag.  But I know she’ll be back again soon.

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Deborah Tierney of the Chandler Shop from Port Hardy

My apologies to Deborah that I missed coming back for a proper chat.  But reading the business card I can share with our readers that you sell: all shapes and sizes of beeswax candles – pillars, tea lights and wax melts as well as hand dipped taper candles.  Also soy wax candles, soaps and bath products.

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Laura Chase – Young Living Essential Oils & Lynda Biggs – Artist

Young Living Essential Oils has landed on the North Island in a big way.  Facebook pages are popping up with instructional videos and “make & take” parties where you learn a bit about oils and make your own foaming soap, bath bombs or rollers.  Incredibly versatile oils can be used to make your own household cleaning products, lotions, soaps and rollers.  I call one of mine “nighty night” and it smells wonderful !!  Laura’s mother-in-law Lynda Biggs is an incredible artist.  I’ve seen her floral arrangements and and canvas paintings but last night she was displaying painted tiles.  Vibrant North Island vignettes of scenery and flowers.  She’s also looking for students for a limited class in tile painting scheduled for the new year.

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Michelle Hogstead – Lip Sense, Jaylene Lancaster & Megan Hodgson – Wild Threads

Michelle sells Lip Sense.  It’s a water proof, smudge proof long lasting lipstick.  Seriously you can put it on and rub your lips and there won’t be one tiny bit of residue on your fingers.  An amazing array of colours – it’s very popular with busy moms.  You can eat, drink and carry on with your day without worrying about reapplying.  Megan & Michelle shared their table and were joined by their friend Jaylene.  Heartwarming that these three young moms have known each other since elementary school, are married and have children.  I’m so proud to be a 3-generation family in Port McNeill.

Stay tuned for the next Pop Up Port McNeill Shopping Night sometime in December.  An event page will show up on Facebook.  Other vendors have already approached the organizers so get ready to do some Christmas shopping !!

The Green Baron Gardening Services

Always on the hunt for the next story I asked a friend if she had suggestions on which local business I could approach.  Her immediate and enthusiastic response was Kirstin Baron from Green Baron Gardening.  And then that thing happened.  It happens to me all the time.  That new name now on my radar keeps cropping up — on Facebook and in conversations.

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Meet Kirstin & Matt Baron of The Green Baron Landscaping Services
Busy people, busy lives. It just wasn’t working out for Kirstin and I to meet face-to-face so she kindly answered my questions by email. Horror of all horrors they were lost in space the first time she sent them. I’m grateful she gave it another go — second time was the charm !!

A wonderful example of entrepreneurial spirit, I’ll let Kirstin tell you in her own words how a serendipitous gift gardening of tools, tremendous community support and an encouraging business mentor have all resulted in success.

Why are in this type of business?
Because I had the schooling and work experience, and I saw a real need for it in our town!

What is your background, education, work experience?
My education background is in horticulture. I took 3 years of the Horticulture Apprentice course at Kwantlen College, focusing more on the greenhouse industry than landscaping. I also worked for a few nurseries during that time, in Surrey, Aldergrove and Nanaimo.

Can you provide me with a description of your business?
Yes, we are primarily a landscaping business, but have included other exterior services such as gutter cleaning and pressure washing homes and driveways.

How long have you been in business? In this business? In other businesses?
This is our second year in business as the Green Baron Gardening, and our first business!

How did you get started in this business?
I actually received a gift for a birthday a few years back that included some gardening tools and a wheelbarrow, as I was thinking about starting a gardening business at that time. So I used what I had and started slowly working casually for friends and family.

How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?
I believe a lot of it came from my schooling and work experience in the greenhouses. Some of it I learned as I went, and a few skills may have been bred into me, as my grandfather, mother and her siblings all have a green thumb.

Do you know who your competitors are?
Yes but I don’t consider them competitors. So far I have had a wonderful relationship with them, and we work together to help each other.

How do you market your business? How are people aware of your business?
Our main form of advertising is through our Facebook business page, but I have found that word of mouth may have been the biggest form of awareness for us!

Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? The next ten years?
I see our business growing and diversifying to meet the needs of our clients on the North Island. It’s already changed so much from what I thought it would be. I also see my daughter taking over in the next 10 years — at least that’s what she wants. She has her mind made up already!

Whom do you seek advice from for your business?
First and foremost my business mentor. He’s been a great source of knowledge and encouragement. I also seek advice from my aunt who owns a large nursery in Lone Butte, my mom who is incredibly knowledgeable about all things garden, and my dad and 2 brothers who are also entrepreneurs.

Do you have employees? How many?
Not at this time, but we had 5 employees over the spring and summer. They were all wonderful!

Can you describe your customers?
Most of our customers are busy business owners themselves or work full-time and just don’t have the extra time to tend to their gardens or home exterior. Some are new moms or people who have injured themselves and need some extra help. I find a lot of our customers have one or 2 overwhelming projects that they want our help with.

What are the biggest issues for running this business?
Weather is probably the biggest issue! There are a few things we can still do in the rain but it makes most of our work very difficult.

What is the future for this type of business?
I think the future is bright as long as we work with our customers and their budget to provide quality services. There seems to be a need for these services.

What has been your greatest moment of success?
I really feel most successful when our customers are happy, and loving the work we’ve done.

What do you do to recharge when you’re feeling drained?
Taking a whole day off here and there to just relax is what I need! This type of work is hard on the body!

Can you share strategies for making the best use of your time?
Turn off the tv and close Facebook!

On October 20th at the Port McNeill & District Chamber of Commerce Recognition of Excellence Awards Gala I was taking pictures for the Chamber of Commerce.  Jon Lok from Strategic Natural Resource Consultants was the presenter for New Small Business of the Year Award.

“This business is said to show excellent workmanship, care of their clients and great community spirit. This business has grown in the past year and now has several employees. They deliver quality work and always looks to layer new products to their business in order to remain sustainable. They understand the concept of starting small and growing with demand. The winner of the New Business of the Year award is:  The Green Baron Gardening Services.”

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Congratulations !!!
Since I first approached Kirstin about this article, her husband Matt power-washed & removed pounds of disgusting gunk from our gutters.  Two more names to add to their expanding list of happy customers !!

Their services include: weeding, mowing, spring & fall clean-up, pruning, landscaping, yard waste removal, sod, lawn care, sweeping & line painting of parking lots, pressure washing buildings & driveways.

Contact The Green Baron Gardening Services at:

250-230-0092

greenbarongarden@gmail.com