Happy Birthday Thrive!
Ten years ago my first baby was born when I started my own business in August of 2009. At the time I didn’t think about starting a business as akin to parenting, but now having done both, I see so many similiarites: I have nurtured Thrive, sacrificed a lot for it, went through some challenging times, but never gave up on it. It was so much more than a “job.”
The conception of Thrive...
The idea of becoming a landscape designer wasn’t my first choice of career. Less than eight years after graduating hair school I was a senior stylist managing the salon I worked in. I had predictable hours and great friends at work. I loved the creativity involved, and how every day was filled with “feel good” moments when clients walked out feeling transformed. But ultimately, standing behind a chair doing hair took its toll on me physically. I wanted to do something that would keep those good parts but put an end to the tendonitis I’d been suffering.
It didn’t take long to sprout the idea of a University of Saskatchewan course in landscape design. Could I take my gardening passion from a hobby to a full-fledged career? Starting my own business wasn’t necessarily my end goal when I began my Prairie Horticulture Certificate 13 years ago. As I closed in on completing it, I leapt from the comforts of stable employment and started my own design- consulting business. What was I thinking?! Maybe I was naive or brazen or a bit of both. Either way, I knew I wanted to be my own boss. I probably wouldn’t have taken the leap without the safety net of my husband’s support. He believed in me and encouraged me to go for it despite the uncertainty of being self- employed. I come from a long line of gardeners, and with my Master Gardener mother, entrepreneur father and sister as inspirations, I launched Thrive.
The struggle is real
Thrive was officially kicked-off in August of 2009 with very little fan fare , I started my own business. Someone recently asked me how I got my first design clients and how I got my name out there. It got me thinking how fortunate I was to be trusted by my wider circle of acquaintances, colleagues and former hair clients. They were willing to give me a chance and hired me or referred me to others.
There were so many challenges starting off: learning a new design program as I worked with my first clients, figuring out all of the business logistics plus doing cold- calls to greenhouses and with landscapers to introduce myself as the new designer in town. I learned a lot, made mistakes, and grew as a landscape designer.
The Truth Behind Being a #BOSSMOM
Less than two years in we had our first actual child. I couldn’t afford to take a full maternity leave and abandon clients, so I pressed pause on Thrive for three months and then returned to work. . When we had our second child two years later I was established enough to take six months off work. My clients were so understanding and supportive, often waiting for me to return instead of booking with other companies.
I could not have prepared for the challenge of managing being a mom and running a business. Just because I had a home office it didn’t mean I could work whenever I wanted since babies won’t wait to start crying until you are off the phone with a client! We enlisted the help of my in-laws right from day one. We figured out a routine that seemed to change every few months depending on pre-school, naps and eventually full- time school with 10 weeks of summer holidays [insert stressed- out mom emoji here]. Even with this so- called routine constantly changing I fully appreciate the lifestyle I get to live being a #BOSSMOM. This means making my own summer schedule which gives me plenty of days off to hang out with my kids or being at school for drop-off and pick-up, or getting to sit at my desk most days in slippers and sweatpants!
10 Years Later...
Now 10 years, two kids, and hundreds of designs later, I have cemented myself in the landscape industry, not just in Regina, but in southern Saskatchewan. I still don’t know it all but I am undoubtedly a more confident designer with a decade of experience behind me!
I love turning old run-down yards into new vibrant outdoor living spaces. I get excited along with a young couple who has bought their first home and are keen to tackle the yard themselves (but need the guidance and know-how to plan the landscape first). Meeting people is my favourite part of my job because I love that face-to-face interaction and helping sort out how to achieve a dream yard. Seeing the excitement over the finished design is a close second. While the winter winds blow, I’m hanging out with client designs imagining myself in Saskatchewan’s backyards in summer! My day-to-day with Thrive doesn’t feel like a job, it feels like winning the career lottery!