In The Company of Great Women
I don’t tend to think things through. I feel like I give my ideas careful consideration and due forethought, but I usually discover during the implementation process, that I have not considered many of the obstacles, angles and concerns expressed by those around me. This naïve approach to life has served me well. If I had really done my homework and delved into serious investigations, I doubt I would have married a man with three children who had not yet entered adolescence, gotten pregnant with a compromised uterus, adopted a baby from Ethiopia or written and published a book about Muskoka.
But, I did do all of these and the results thus far fall pretty close to the miraculous. I have three amazing adult stepchildren whose importance and value in my life far outweighs our tempestuous times. I have an almost 12-year-old daughter who rocks my world daily – in all the best ways. I’d love to introduce her to the doctors who were certain I’d never conceive. And then there is my son, the sparkling cherry on top of the sundae of our family. His charm and charisma light our family from the inside out.
As for Lost Together Publications, this baby has brought me more unanticipated rewards than I could have dreamed. One of the greatest fringe benefits has been the opportunity to spend time with some fascinating women. In the self-publishing world, books don’t just jump out of the trunk of one’s car and into bookstores near and far, although I have been very lucky in that regard. One of the greatest avenues for sales and self-promotion has been through a local network of mompreneurs. I’ve had the great good fortune of being invited to trunk-like home sales by Snapdragon Designs founder, Pam Willcocks and Cocolelly co-founders, Courtenay O’Hea and Lesley Chisholm.
It’s been a privilege to spend a day or two in the company of these great women and the other vendors, such as Helene Clarkson Designs, Lucie Bergeron-Johnson from Richard Johnson Photography, Martha Fell from Jaxx and Marbles, Yvonne Robertson at Sahara Tea, Sue Henderson, founder of Suetables, Beth Godfrey Jewelry and Christine from By the Bunch. These women are smart, fascinating, hard-working mothers who develop, discover, design their own products and bring them to the market. They set up in each other’s welcoming homes and invite each other’s clients and customers to come and shop in comfortable living rooms. In between sales, they generously share development tips, marketing ideas, and e-commerce platform challenges. Business stories are inter-changed with parenting tales and texts from children with missing gym shoes and unsigned permission forms. We cover booths for one another, as someone has to go home and feed lunch while another has to run a child to an appointment. There is a sense of camaraderie and support that pervades the room full of entrepreneurs all hoping for sales from the same shoppers.
There were many reasons not to start this publishing company: inexperience, expense, lack of distribution system and marketing machine to name the first few that come to mind. And all of these are true. But an introduction to and inclusion of this cadre of women who begin the day with hot coffee and banana bread and end it with a glass of sparkling wine and red licorice while facilitating support for their customers was an unanticipated perquisite for which I am grateful. To get up in the morning and spend the day with a talented and friendly group of women in a relaxed, comfortable setting may not be something I thought through, but I do have the good sense to treasure it.