Fe­male en­trepreneurs make their mark in Wa­ter­down

The Hamilton Spectator - - BUSINESS - JU­LIA LOVETT

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.

Vicki Hunt

Kanata Cowan

Meagan Wright

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