It is safe to say, I love retail like a farmer love’s his land. Growing up amongst it and many entrepreneurs, it was a natural choice to academically choose to study business and then pursue it. In my youngest days I spent hours, in a playpen in a restaurant and later standing on a milk crate to see over the counter in our restaurant till I graduated to washing tables. Later, I was accompanying my mom travelling the prairies assisting in art shows that today would be known as modern markets or pop ups. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t even reached double digits in age yet, we learned young that we could all do our part, even if it was carrying crates or art cases, or better yet keeping mom company and hopefully not driving her crazy on those long days.
My final high school year, I was delighted when my mom restored a charming character home and opened her first brick & mortar boutique with a good friend & partner. I got a little more taste of this world that I loved and all the different directions it could go. 25 years later, this particular business has since evolved into two successful separate enterprises – one, my mom’s artful & acclaimed award winning art gallery and the other most recently transitioned after a retirement of the first owner into the sale of a new up and coming entrepreneur taking a new approach to a women’s clothing & lifestyle collective boutique.
A year abroad after high school, had me window shopping & studying the displays in the most beautiful European Town Squares, as well as the exquisite merchandising & charm of the most world renowned shopping destinations of the Galeries Lafayette in Paris or Harrods’s in London. Don’t get me wrong, I filled rolls of film with all the bucket list destinations and landmarks, but there was always a pull to this fascinating world of retail, the presentations & stories that I realized I was so drawn more and more to what would become a lifelong quest of learning, loving & studying. I am not sure all backpackers loaded Battenburg lace from Belgium to the zippered rims, but I did because it would fit perfect into our tea room boutique back home. How much more authentic of an story or product could you show & tell I thought?
Fast forward to a Bachelor in Mgmt. with a Major in Marketing from the University of Lethbridge I eagerly returned to Saskatchewan to continue to help build my mom’s growing career as an artist, her brand & the award winning destination that we built to put on the map over the next 12 years together. When an opportunity to return to college in 2012 arose, but this time to teach, I took a giant leap into a new professional development & love for business from a different view. I will never forget when my program head handed me my course list with “RETAIL 220” on the top, I thought to myself, “I could not be more lucky to be paid to do this,” but also,” how do I get those students out of those desks and back down to my familiar territory downtown where I really know retail.” I am so grateful to that program head, when I approached my lesson plan with a “Learn to do by Doing” as my mom had taught me, she said “Go for it.” That first fall, I lead a team that first won community praise with an applied study assignment that donated $10,000 dollars, matched by a community donor of $10,000 which equated to 20,000 lunches locally to Hunger in Moose Jaw. They were than awarded provincially amongst all of the Saskatchewan Polytechnic campuses with medals for “Community Involvement” & “Innovation” at their convocation in 2013, and also recognized at the Legislative in Regina for their philanthropic efforts & applied learning. They further took this story to the national stage, when a selected team of them went along with myself to compete amongst the brightest in the country of their findings for Applied Research & Development in Business at the National Polytechnic Showcase. I never knew what a world of teaching would expose me to, but profoundly, I became the student, and I continue to watch hundreds of those students develop in their own careers & learnings with pride, excitement & antcipation for all that evolves when you apply your passion to what you do. Internationally, they also applied a Lemondade Stand business model approach to a classroom challenge to sell water drops, that also raised over $3600 to donate to a local group on their quest to assist Canadian ambassador Ben Mulroney & WaterAid with the Kilamanjaro Climb for Life. Proceeds for this project went back to build an Ethiopian water well. That same spring of 2013, this first group of graduating students also journeyed along with me to open my first brick & mortar boutique.
I loved studying & teaching the connection to business through the execution of retail with not just my students but all industries known to our economy. From a hockey academy, to the automobile & financial services industries, I have been privileged to also touch my retail hand with a creative marketing spin & contracts to enhancing the experiences of their own guests & brick & mortar destinations.
Balancing teaching & entrepreneurship was a task I was committed to and up for the challenge, but after five years, my heart was pulled back to retail and I decided to pause teaching to further explore my own passions & learnings in the industry, as well as a few other opportunities I wanted to pursue. In the winter of 2018, a vacancy in the Historic Train Station of Moose Jaw presented one of those opportunities not only to enter the the floral industry, but also a welcomed responsibility to reclaim a space worthy of a new destination to the map of Moose Jaw’s shopping, tourism & commerce markets. That following fall, another vacant and crying out space for new hope & community, I ventured once again into uncharted territory with an events venue and later a coffee bar to compliment the landscape of our floral store on one end of the street and an enchanting little coffee destination only steps away. Again, with a century of history within the walls, I could not pass up the opportunity to ignite new life, beauty, depth & experiences admidst craftsmanship that I am honoured to fill & bring guests into.
“When the flower blossoms, the bee will arrive.” The FLOWER STATION CO. & THE HIVE unite this vision and this dream. When you build it, they will come. I am privileged & driven by the unity & commitment to my team, my mentors, family, former student’s and most importantly to that of my children to continue to build, inspire, curate & bloom for all the gatherings & opportunities in any and all forms to come. From our brick & mortar walls, to the pages of our websites, from the inspiration on our social platforms to our community investment & philanthropies, all with a great deal of passion, hard work & dedication….we invite you to come along with us to… BLOOM & GATHER.