When I opened Hello Yellow in the summer of 2013, I couldn't have anticipated any of what was to come over the course of the following two years. All I had really wanted to do was be part of the evolving downtown Almonte scene again, and create a new vehicle for the hand-makers I'd met over my years organizing the Handmade Harvest Craft Show.
What began as a small little shop filled with handmade items from across North America (mostly local) rapidly grew into something much more. I quickly learned that by purchasing products from actual people instead of faceless importers, I was connecting with individuals who became immediately invested in my success. And bonus! They all had Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. Some of them knew how to work with retailers (ie wholesale, package and brand their product), and some of them needed guidance, but despite the obstacles I came across originally, working with them was so rewarding, and improved my brand's reach tenfold.
But what was my brand? I had Hello Yellow, Handmade Harvest Craft Show and I had recently begun working with Etsy Canada as a brand ambassador here in Ottawa. I had multiple websites and email addresses, and keeping up with all of that communication was becoming an increasingly daunting and confusing chore.
I longed for cohesiveness, and simplicity while still having the flexibility to grow.
And then, I attended a conference called Small Ottawa. It was there that everything started to click. The theme was "Small" as a business strategy. YES! I thought. I can be small. It's ok. I don't need to get bigger, or do more, or say YES to every opportunity. I can keep my little shop and show in Almonte and really focus on making them great without watering them down by making them bigger.
I left that conference with a plan to consolidate. By putting all of my brands under the same umbrella I could reach my audience more effectively and spare myself the unnecessary stress of having to manage so many hats.
And so, Cheerfully Made Goods + Markets was born. Cheerfully Made is a handmade hub for local area makers and the people who love them.
What began as an adorable tagline for Hello Yellow, is now the name of both Hello Yellow AND Handmade Harvest Craft Show.
In a nutshell, Cheerfully Made is both a retail gift shop that carries only items made in North America (mostly local) AND a series of craft shows that call the Ottawa Valley home.
I look forward to continuing my mission of supporting the Canadian craft community by offering makers opportunities to showcase their work and make an life doing what they love.
Also, might be nice to hang with my kids once in a while. We'll see.
Owner + Organizer, Cheerfully Made Goods + Markets