Female entrepreneurs make their mark in Waterdown
When you walk around the Village of Waterdown, what do you notice? Chances are you see a variety of businesses with something in common: they are owned and operated by women.
The services range from legal to food industry to clothing boutique. Every business owner has a story, and for three women in Waterdown, their passion is a part of the story.
Vicki Hunt, the owner of Carousel Kids, wanted people who come into her store to feel as though they were shopping for something special and to have a special experience without paying exorbitant prices.
“I just felt like it should be possible to shop in a gently-used store where the prices were gently-used but where the experience felt like shopping in a new store,” said Hunt.
She wanted her customers not to feel like they were “rummaging,” but rather be able to browse and take their time.
Hunt believed she could help people and loved being her own boss. In July, her store celebrated five years in operation, and since she has been open she feels as though she is a part of something special.
“It’s been amazing, because everyone is so supportive and you really are very much part of an extended family or a community.”
At Bliss Kitchen, there are always yummy treats. For co-owner Meagan Wright, it’s not only about nourishing the body, but the mind and soul, as well.
“Our premise is that everything that we make is made from scratch daily and from whole foods, so there are no preservatives here, there are no fillers. Basically, what I like to say is that every single ingredient that we use here has a benefit to a person’s health,” she said.
The restaurant, with vegan and vegetarian food for eat-in or takeout, opened in 2015 with Wright and partner Broghen Culver-Brush.
“Basically, for us, it’s food with purpose and intention, and food that we would eat ourselves — and do,” Wright said, noting that all of their ingredients, including salt, oils, and spices, are organic.
Lawyer Kanata Cowan runs her own family law firm, K. Cowan Law, which handles all areas of family law including divorce, separation, pre-nuptial agreements, child support issues, custody and access. She also is a mediator, helping people going through a rough time stay out of court.
“Court has been — is — a very tiring, difficult experience,” she noted. “I don’t know that that’s different, though, because I’m a woman or a man; I think probably family lawyers experience that and some people thrive in that sort of environment, and I’ve found it difficult and [it] can be damaging for families.”
Because she was going to court often, she wanted to create a softer and gentler way to lead those involved to a resolution. “I’m hopeful sort of settlement-mindedness and peacemaking can be utilized to provide better services to people.”
However, there are still challenges women face in business.
Wright said she and CulverBrush found it difficult, at times, to deal with suppliers.
“When Broghen and I were calling around a bunch of different restaurant equipment suppliers before we opened to purchase equipment, every time we called someone, they’d say ‘Oh, can I speak to the owner?’” she said.
And after explaining that they were the owners, Wright said they still had to fight for what that needed and that her business partner had a more difficult time due to her age. “She’s six years younger than me. I’m in my 30s and, for some reason, all of a sudden, you’re respected a little bit more once you’re in your 30s as a woman,” she said.