In­spir­ing Jour­neys in En­trepreneur­ship

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Three in­spir­ing Moose Jaw business women told in­spir­ing sto­ries about their jour­ney as an en­trepreneur to be­come a business owner. The three were guest speak­ers at the Women En­trepreneurs of Saskatchewan ‘Sweet Suc­cess’ pre­sen­ta­tion. Emmy Barr, who is known as the Queen of Caramel, has over­come a lot of ob­sta­cles in life, and is now do­ing some­thing she ab­so­lutely loves. The happy and out­go­ing 21 year-old makes caramel treats, with the help of her great-grand­mother’s se­cret recipe, which are pop­u­lar with ev­ery­one. Barr has a ge­netic con­di­tion called Wil­liams Syn­drome, which can come with de­vel­op­men­tal is­sues, learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties and med­i­cal prob­lems. With the help of her fam­ily and friends she sells the caramel treats at craft sales, show­ers & spe­cial events. Her friend helps with the caramels, her brother de­signed her business card and she has a Face­book page. “It’s a huge bless­ing that I have a job I love. I re­ally like the spe­cial events,” says Barr. She likes to go to the sales and adds; “It makes me happy to make caramel.” She took sec­ond place in the “Just Watch Me” video con­test in Fe­bru­ary 2015, which was open to those who self-iden­tify with a dis­abil­ity or on­go­ing health con­di­tion. Barr’s mother, Penny, told of the bar­ri­ers to ed­u­ca­tion and their plans for fu­ture years for Emmy. There were col­lab­o­ra­tive meet­ings with dif­fer­ent peo­ple to de­ter­mine a suit­able path, but Emmy found mak­ing caramel the most in­ter­est­ing. When Bre­ann Cole couldn’t find any materni- ty clothes shop in town, she made plans to open one. So in 2009 shortly af­ter the birth of twins she opened ‘The Bebe & Bump,’ which is a ma­ter­nity store with a unique dif­fer­ence: she man­u­fac­tures the clothes. She takes apart the cus­tomer’s favourite clothes and re­designs them into ma­ter­nity wear. The fab­ric is good qual­ity so it stretches as the belly grows. She says non-preg­nant peo­ple will also have her re­design their reg­u­lar jeans to avoid hav­ing the “muf­fin top” look. Jeans are the most pop­u­lar, and peo­ple from all over will send her their jeans, she re­designs them with the panel and ships them back. “The stats prob­a­bly weren’t with me, but Women En­trepreneurs helped me with some startup costs,” says Cole. “I didn’t know how to fund it all and wasn’t sure what I was do­ing. I just knew it was some­thing no one else was do­ing, and I could also take my kids to work with me.” She ad­mits her ideals in the be­gin­ning have been ad­justed. “I thought I would be swim­ming in money, but it’s not like that. At times it’s re­ally a strug­gle. Some weeks I work for free,” said Cole. Hav­ing high en­ergy and de­ter­mi­na­tion is needed as she shares her time be­tween op­er­at­ing a business, at­tend­ing classes, be­ing a sin­gle mom, and tak­ing on ex­tra sewing jobs for her mom’s com­pany. Although the strug­gles have seemed in­sur­mount­able at times, Cole said lov­ing what you do can make a dif­fer­ence. “I love go­ing to work every day, and that has car­ried me along some very hard days.” It was a roller coaster ride for Amy Duzan, and whether or not she would fi­nally re­al­ize her dream of open­ing Elite Hairstyling & Aes­thet­ics Train­ing Cen­tre. “I like mak­ing peo­ple feel good about them­selves,” said Duzan, who has 11 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in hairstyling and aes­thet­ics. “Per­sis­tence pre­vails when all else fails” could re­fer to Duzan, and her de­ter­mi­na­tion to re­al­ize her dream. She de­signed the cur­ricu­lum and waited for ap­proval. If it wasn’t ap­proved, all her work was for noth­ing. But the cur­ricu­lum was ap­proved, so she moved for­ward to find a build­ing, get ap­proval for it, find stu­dents and get ready for a Septem­ber 2013 open­ing date. Then another road­block chal­lenged her when the build­ing where she had her sup­plies stored went up in flames two days be­fore open­ing. But Duzan went ahead with what lit­tle she had, teach­ing the small class of stu­dents. “My goal was al­ways to give the best ed­u­ca­tion my stu­dents can have,” said Duzan. “It has taken a lot of hard work but the business has grown be­yond our ex­pec­ta­tions.” Her ad­vice when some­one gets dis­cour­aged with the process of en­trepreneur­ship: “Be in­spired and just keep go­ing - a new day, a new dream.” The three women gave thanks to the Women En­trepreneurs of Saskatchewan and their part­ners, for the fi­nan­cial and business sup­port to help them along the road to suc­cess. Women En­trepreneurs part­ners with Com­mu­nity Fu­tures Saskatchewan and the Clarence Cam­peau De­vel­op­ment Fund. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives were on hand to show­case the three women, and to en­cour­age others to take ad­van­tage of the re­sources of their com­pa­nies when step­ping into the world of en­trepreneur­ship.

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