Happily With Love: A Keepsake To Cherish

Last month we did a call out for donations for Baskets of Love Down Syndrome. Nicole, from Happily With Love, was one of the small businesses who stepped up and graciously made a donation. Today we are going to meet the owner of this beautiful shop located in Toronto, Ontario. 

Hi Nicole!! Can you tell us how your business started?

Happily With Love started with the simple idea of creating a cake topper for a friends shower, and evolved quickly from that (I’m the type of person who has a thousand different ideas running through my mind in a single day!) I enjoy a good idea and really loved creating these beautiful pieces from scratch! I’m most in love with the fact that people will use these plaques in some of life’s most memorable moments – from pregnancy and birth announcements, to those first amazing months with your little babe, they really do pull at your heart strings!

What advice would you give to the 20 year old you?

I would have loved to tell myself that it’s okay to take some time to figure your story out. Take a year off and just travel, enjoy being care-free with little to no real responsibilities, do things that you’ll never have the time to do later on! Those were the years! 

See more of her beautiful stories at www.happilywithlove.com

2018 FOR THE SMALL HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

Our 2018 Holiday Gift Guide is NOW LIVE!!!

Featuring only small shops, this gift guide will help you shop small while making a big impact this holiday season. When you purchase from a small shop, you are helping pay for music lessons or for a parent to stay home with their children. You are directly helping the community and it is an amazing thing!! We are so blessed to have your support.

Now enjoy! And if you love what these small shops have to offer, please spread the love by tapping one of the share buttons down below!

 

Want to be in a future gift guide? Sign-up for updates here. 

ECE Mom: Nurturing through love and play

Stories. I think that’s why I am here. For the stories.  They teach me so much and leave me in awe of the strength a person can have. Today we are meeting Stefanie and she is so, so special. She is the definition of strength and grace. Stefanie blogs about parenting, how play builds connection, and how her training in early childhood development shapes/challenges their life as a family. Her book, Chasing Light, is a memoir about finding hope through the loss of miscarriage. Hi Stefanie!

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Why did you start a blog? 

I started blogging during my first maternity leave as a way to update friends and family about our growing family. At one point during that year my husband mentioned he wanted to buy a new wallet and I argued if he gets a new wallet then I’d like something new too. I bought a domain name and that’s when ecemom.com came online.

Tell us a fun fact!

I used to be a provincial level 10-pin bowler throughout elementary and high school. I still have my own ball and shoes.

What advice would you give 20-year-old you? 

Oh 20-year-old naive, Stef. You think you know, but you have no idea! Life is going to take you to depths of grief you cannot even imagine. Surround yourself with community and find grace and compassion for yourself. Also, finish that bachelors degree because when you try to do that in your mid-thirties, you will have two young children and it will be challenging. Just stay in school because I told you so!
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Do you have any advice on being an author? 
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josiah+co: A business to honour our babies

What I love about For The Small is that I get to meet so many people that I would otherwise never have crossed paths with. Every entrepreneur is inspired by their own story and some are so, so special.  Meet Melissa, the mompreneur behind josiah+co. She makes non-slip crochet baby booties. Each item is handcrafted with Heaven Babies in mind as a way to honour our babies gone too soon.

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Why did you start your business/brand? 

After experiencing three consecutive miscarriages, I wanted an outlet for my grief. I had learned how to crochet baby booties after our Rainbow Baby was born, so I decided to turn it into a business and a way to connect with and bless other women who have experienced pregnancy loss.

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What’s the biggest challenge of running a small business? (We know it’s not that glamorous behind the screen!!)

It would definitely be organizing my time effectively and making sure my family comes first.
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What does it mean to shop local? Shop small? Shop handmade?

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Running a small business exposes us to many public opinions. Many are supportive but unfortunately, there are a handful of unnecessarily critical ones. We’ve all heard of them. The woodworker being questioned on whether her products are “handmade” because she uses a laser cutter.  The t-shirt designer being accused of not sewing her own t-shirts from fabric and thread.  The teether maker being confronted because her silicone beads are not made in North America.

As business owners, we often graciously address these concerns in a politically correct manner and try to move on. But it’s not easy. We won’t ever make a public ordeal of it, but these accusations do hurt. We work our butts off for our businesses. The definition of “shop local”, “shop small”, “shop homemade” is very broad. While we may not be 100% handmade or “local”, we are small businesses who are doing our best to maintain ethical standards while still making sure that it makes economical sense. That in itself is not easy because small businesses are scrappy! Seriously!!! We pack orders on our dining room table while our kids are sitting in our laps. I get excited when I find bubble wrap behind Ikea because it saves me a small fortune! Go tell your favourite small shop, “Hey!! You’re doing great things and I support you!” Trust me – it’ll make their week.

Thank you to Alyssa from Munchie Mug Canada for sharing the following piece and prompting these thoughts. YES, YES, YES!

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Repost from Munchie Mug Canada

Shop LOCAL – we’re so grateful to all of our customers and supporters and wanted to let you know that Munchie Mug truly is a small, family run business! Just a word on what it means to be “local”. I’ve had a lot of people ask me if I’m really a local business because the Mugs are manufactured in California. I can see where they’re coming from, but did you know that many local shops and businesses outsource their supplies from other countries? But I AM a local mama, (Steveston born and raised, now living in South Surrey), I run Munchie Mug Canada completely on my own (with Hubby’s support), between naps, preschool drop-offs and after my kiddos go to sleep. I pick up all the mug components myself over the border, and I PERSONALLY assemble each Mug myself for every single order you receive or see in store. I’ve carefully selected the packaging to fit your order, stuffed every box with thank-you cards, printed off all the shipping labels, and then dragged my kids to the Post Office to send your orders out (sometimes I make several trips in one day to make sure they get to you on time!). Between packing orders, I’m hustling on emails and phone calls to recruit retailers that many customers have asked me to contact, and this doesn’t even include social media marketing! Ooh Instagram. If you only knew what the small shop community does to market their products and increase their following and ensure their posts are seen. Believe me when I say, we really do do a happy dance when you place an order from our stores and support the crazy moms sitting behind each of these accounts. The amount of time, thought, stress and love – YES LOVE! – that goes into our businesses is unheard of. But it’s because we love our products and love the idea of getting to spend more time home with the ones we love that drives us to keep at it. So when you ask me if I’m really a local small shop, I have no qualms saying, YES! There’s a local family from YOUR community behind Munchie Mug Canada and when you buy from us, you’re supporting US! So, YES, we ARE local, and we LOVE being a small shop and LOVE being a part of this community. So THANK YOU for supporting us!

 

Love this? Have something to share? Drop it in the comments below or in our Facebook group. 

 

Mia’s Moccs: A must-have baby item

Meet Kim and Alyssia. They are the mother-daughter duo behind Mia’s Moccs, a shop that carries baby and toddler leather moccasins. Yes, those super adorable fringe-y shoes that you try to rock as an adult!

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How did you guys first start your business? 

Based in British Columbia, Canada, Mia’s Moccs was founded in early 2016 by mother-daughter duo Kim and Alyssia.

Mia’s Moccs was created to offer stylish leather moccasins for babies and toddlers at affordable prices. When Alyssia was pregnant with Mia, she had a hard time finding baby shoes for under $45, so she decided to design and create great-quality genuine leather moccasins, with her mom Kim, that everyone could afford.

Each pair of moccasins are designed in Canada by Kim and Alyssia, and lovingly and ethically handmade overseas by their own team of seamstresses using the most durable cow leather. Each pair of moccasins contain leather soles for durability and sanitary reasons, as they’re easy to wipe clean, and a cushy insole to provide extra protection and comfort for your little one. Bigger sizes now include rubber soles for extra traction.

Mia’s Moccs are a great gift as they can be used as everyday shoes, slippers or day care shoes, and are able to be dressed up or down for any special occasion.

Mia’s Moccs has been awarded the Nanny Robina Seal of Approval after extensive product testing by Canadian celebrities, parenting experts, doctors and moms and have been featured on Breakfast Television Toronto.

By purchasing a pair of Mia’s Moccs, you’re not only receiving a pair of stylish and comfortable shoes for your little one, you’re joining our family.

What’s your key advice to running a small business/biggest challenge?

Running a small business looks like it’s easy and looks like it’s going to be an easy profit, but it’s not. It’s a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication and a lot of competition. Be prepared to stay up late designing, packing orders, replying to emails and spending your weekends traveling to and from markets. It’s so amazing and rewarding working for yourself, but it’s a lot easier to work for someone else! If you’re looking to get rich fast, don’t start a small business.

 

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Down Syndrome Awareness Month: Meet Danielle

Hey! It’s October! For The Small has teamed up with a local non-profit organization, Baskets of Love for Down Syndrome Awareness month.  Today we are featuring a fellow mompreneur, Danielle, who the inspiring founder behind this organization.

Danielle, what is the story behind Baskets of Love?

I was pregnant with Conor at the same time as five other friends, colleagues and neighbours we knew. After we received Conor’s prenatal diagnosis, my pregnancy went from being a joy and celebration I could share with those around me to being a very dark and lonely time. No one I knew was going through what we were going through. No one could genuinely say they understood or even able to offer any support or encouragement specific to the emotions and grief we were experiencing. I truly felt alone and it’s an awful thing to feel when you’re about to welcome a child to the world. Our experiences with medical professionals after Conor’s diagnosis only compounded those feelings. At the time of our diagnosis, it did not feel like our medical system was equipped to support new parents with the emotional aspect of receiving a Down syndrome diagnosis. To this day, you’re still handed a brochure or a piece of paper that’s been photocopied a hundred times with some information on Down syndrome and I believed something needed to change. New parents of a child with Down syndrome deserve more. They deserve to be loved and supported. They are welcoming, or have just welcomed, a child. A child worth celebrating. It wasn’t until we met other families of children with Down syndrome that we started to heal. A community rose around us and supported us in a way we desperately needed. It’s scary, yes, but everything is going to be okay and that little extra chromosome is going to be the greatest gift you never knew you wanted.

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