Whats in an en­tre­pre­neur?

Sherbrooke Record - - FRONT PAGE - Dish­pan Hands Sheila Quinn

This year I took an En­trepreneur­ship for Women course through the CAE in Granby. I met a small group of women who were em­bark­ing on such dif­fer­ent projects. Over the nine weeks of Tuesday morn­ings spent to­gether I learned that suc­cess­fully be­ing in busi­ness for your­self most likely re­quires, above all, self-care and tenac­ity. That sounds so sim­ple, but it’s true, and it’s more chal­leng­ing than it sounds. I have de­vel­oped a great fas­ci­na­tion for women in busi­ness, es­pe­cially here in the Town­ships. I feel com­pelled to share their sto­ries. Here is the first of many to come:

For So­nia Zale­sack, owner, op­er­a­tor and cre­ative mind be­hind Mous­se­line (Bul­wer’s space that brings a whole new mean­ing to coun­try charm) self-care was the first thing that led her into busi­ness for her­self. Work­ing at her own pace, in a sched­ule that she set, from her own home, cre­at­ing art­ful de­signs that she was pas­sion­ate about was the win­ning com­bi­na­tion that led to her tak­ing the leap into run­ning her own busi­ness.

What if we asked “What’s in a name?” in this case?

Ideas and hours, ferns and flow­ers, resin and seeds, moss and weeds, process and sales, draw­ing boards and fails, sur­prise and won­der, and gar­dens to plun­der. That is what Mous­se­line is made of. “I was talk­ing about the name of my com­pany with my hus­band, and was hold­ing for­est moss. Mousse. Mous­se­line. It was as easy as that!”

A name can be a chal­lenge to set­tle on, but that was not the case here – the name came eas­ily. The process So­nia uses to cre­ate her re­mark­able ear­rings, bracelets, pen­dants and other jew­elry items is more com­plex, and there is some­thing deeply ground­ing and sat­is­fy­ing about that. Cre­at­ing a piece of Mous­se­line work in­volves first gath­er­ing and car­ing for plants and flow­ers to insert into her work, and then the chem­istry and del­i­cate bal­ance of work­ing ei­ther with small ob­jects (such as tiny clear glass globe pen­dants) or resin moulds that can take days to layer her pre­cious pressed pieces into.

So­nia’s work is oth­er­worldly, del­i­cate, whole­some, earthy – each pressed flower or leaf, or even dan­de­lion fluff seems cap­tured and pre­served in time, per­fect, colour­ful. You could say she has the gift of mak­ing na­ture and time stand still.

Of­ten off-set with sil­ver, So­nia’s work could be eas­ily imag­ined on wed­ding par­ties and in gift bags – and that may be why her name and her small busi­ness ring a bell for some of you, as she was fea­tured in a Record ar­ti­cle (Oc­to­ber 14th, 2016) fol­low­ing some very unique at­ten­tion from big-league en­ter­tain­ment.

Af­ter a stretch of com­mit­ting to build­ing her busi­ness; a pe­riod of worry (com­mon among en­trepreneur­s I’m dis­cov­er­ing) set in. So­nia be­came con­cerned that Mous­se­line would not get off of the ground. Af­ter con­tem­plat­ing the pas­sion she felt for her busi­ness, she stopped this anx­ious ac­tiv­ity and brought her­self back to the core of her dream.

That ‘re­set’ gave her the courage to keep go­ing, and within days she re­ceived com­mu­ni­ca­tion from the or­ga­niz­ers of the 2016 edi­tion of the Amer­i­can Mu­sic Awards. She was in­vited to pro­duce eighty pieces that would be in­cluded in gift bags (swag, as they call it) for at­ten­dees at the show. The ex­po­sure and at­ten­tion this once-in-a-life­time op­por­tu­nity gen­er­ated con­tin­ues to draw folks to her work. She found the en­ergy to con­tinue.

While she helms the cre­ative process, So­nia is not alone in mak­ing Mous­se­line the suc­cess­ful small busi­ness that it is. Her hus­band as­sists in car­pen­try needs, as well as help­ing with ideas re­gard­ing dis­plays and shar­ing ideas. Her daugh­ter, Laila, and her mother pick thou­sands of flow­ers for her each sum­mer. As we sat dis­cussing her busi­ness, a neigh­bour popped by with some dried hy­drangea flower ‘skele­tons’ to share. So­nia’s cre­ations are so ethe­real there is a true mag­netism in­volved. We leave with an urge to go flower-seek­ing for pieces she could in­cor­po­rate into her work!

Since the Amer­i­can Mu­sic Awards ex­pe­ri­ence, So­nia was se­lected for, and be­gan par­tic­i­pa­tion in, L’ac­céléra­teur des Ar­ti­sans du Québec – a bril­liant project iden­ti­fy­ing and sup­port­ing bright minds, and the cre­ative projects en­velop­ing them, ac­com­pa­ny­ing lo­cal artists through men­tor­ship and stud­ies re­lated to de­vel­op­ing and im­prov­ing their busi­nesses. This project is open to all Que­bec artists/ar­ti­sans, or­ga­nized and planned by folks from all across the prov­ince as well. Lake Me­gan­tic was cho­sen as the launch site for this pro­gram since one of the goals es­tab­lished by the pro­gram or­ga­niz­ers was to set up in a city where re­build­ing, re­vi­tal­iza­tion and pos­i­tive ac­tion was needed. So­nia is one of just eight for­tu­nate par­tic­i­pants in this year’s pro­gram.

This week­end the Mous­se­line home shop opens of­fi­cially this Fri­day, July 14th, from 11:00 – 5:00, and from then on will be open Wed­nes­day-thurs­day-fri­day from 1:30 -5:00 p.m. and Satur­days from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. She will be closed dur­ing the con­struc­tion hol­i­days. To con­sult her sched­ule and see more of her beau­ti­ful work, visit www.bi­joux­mous­se­line.com.

Her work will also be fea­tured in the Sen­tier Artis­tique des Haut-boisés, fea­tured this com­ing week­end, from July 14th, 15th and 16th. www.sen­tier­artis­tique.wee­bly.com or for more in­for­ma­tion call: 819-875-5156.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the Ac­céléra­teur des Ar­ti­sans, please visit: www.quartier­ar­ti­san.com

COUR­TESY OF SO­NIA ZALESACK

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