Believing in themselves
When Heather Jones was out in a fishing boat with her father and brother around her native Twillingate, she often wondered why the fish was the only thing harvested from the sea. Roaming the beaches around her outport home, the young Memorial University student, mother and now business owner couldn’t help but notice the seaweed that washed up on the shoreline. Like fish, why could kelp not be harvested and processed into something consumable for the marketplace?
Heather’s inquiring mind led her to discover that not only could seaweed be turned into something useful for consumers, but she is doing just that.
Kelp Me! is not only a clever play on words, it’s also the brainchild of this young entrepreneur who had a dream and acted to make it come true.
The environment is an important issue for Heather, a fact she has demonstrated through the development of her green business.
Heather now spends most of her time with her young son, while her free time is dedicated to Kelp Me! a line of all natural body care products that do not contain any preservatives, dyes or perfumes. However one of the important ingredients in the products is Newfoundland seaweed.
In fact, she goes the extra mile to ensure as many local ingredients as possible are used, including recycled packaging such as driftwood and recycled paper. It’s not always easy to make 100 per cent natural products, but Heather does just that. Refusing to use chemicals or fragrances, she feels she can make a better product the natural way. Not only does this practice help the planet; it keeps her customers healthy and happy.
Last week, Youth Ventures named Heather’s enterprise Venture of the Year for Newfoundland and Labrador.
Her innovative business also earned Heather Excellence in Innovation and Excellence in Agriculture awards at the Youth Ventures annual awards event held in Harbour Grace.
Heather was one of eight young entrepreneurs who have been recognized for their contributions to their communities and province.
We were especially pleased to see a young singer/songwriter/musician from our coverage area pick up an award. Lauren George of Whiteway took home the award for Excellence in Artistic Achievement for her original songwriting on her first CD, Obsession.
Heather, Lauren and all the other young entrepreneurs are all deserving of the provincial recognition they received for the vision and dedication that has led to their early success.
Sponsored by the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Community Business Development Corporations, Youth Ventures is a youth-based initiative funded by the federal and provincial governments.
Heather Jones believes “if we have an idea we want to see materialize, we must first believe in our abilities and then roll up our sleeves and make it happen. It takes research, hard work and a lot of determination to start any small business.”
Heather and her fellow award winners have certainly demonstrated all of those qualities and more.
When Health Minister Jerome Kennedy told all the young award winners, “you’re so far ahead of me when I was your age,” he could have been speaking for all of us.
How many of us can say we were operating our own enterprises based on our own ideas at such tender ages as the young people who were recognized last week?
But perhaps it was the late Robert F. Kennedy who said it best when he said: “Some men look around them and wonder why? I dream things that never were and ask why not?”
Instead of wondering why things were the way they were, these young visionaries stopped long enough to ask themselves why not?
We should encourage them to continue on their path to success and hope they will stay here and make their own province a better place in which to live. Because if they are our future, than our future is in good hands.