Are you loopy?
As I sit in my shop taking in the beauty of what I have created I am stuck in my thoughts about the path I walked to get to this place.
Let me start by formally introducing myself. My name is Nancy LeBlanc (nee: Perry). I was raised in a small steel town in Northern Ontario called Sault Ste. Marie.It was a good place to grow up: small, quaint, safe. My mother was from the Soo, so I was raised near her family.
My father is an Islander, being born and raised on Harper Road in Tignish (hence my maiden name). Those who know me know I use both my surnames interchangeably, depending on what I am doing, who I am with, if I am in my 'professional world' or 'personal world'.
I am a Social Worker and have worked in this field since 1996 (that just aged me). I have had both a rewarding and disheartening career, but that was the path I chose. I have no regrets, I love what I do and the people I help.
Two years ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to leave Ontario and move to PEI. Having had spent many summers here, and always loving PEI, leaving everyone and everything I knew was not easy. I miss my friends and family in Ontario, but I now live in a place everyone wants to visit, so I am never lonely for long.
After moving to PEI, I had the opportunity to walk away from my career, a decision I made with a heavy heart but I knew it was time. Leaving my career gave me the time to think and reflect on my life, career, dreams, and really start thinking, "what do I want to be when I grow up?"
I have always wanted to be in business for myself, but have never had the courage. As I pondered what I wanted to do for a career in PEI, my head and heart often went back to opening a business.
I have two very good friends, who I met when we were in the corporate world, travelling the Province of Ontario doing compliance audits on children in foster care. We worked together for years, while we traveled the province 46 weeks a year. They became my family when I was away from my family. My two friends left our corporate world and started businesses for themselves. I was envious of their desire to leave their careers, the stability, and their comfort for the unknown. We always stayed in touch, got together when we could and in August of 2018 I reached out to them with, "I may be thinking of opening a retail business, what do you think?"
My friends (and mentors) immediately took me under their wings, introduced me to the retail world, brought me to retail owner gift shows, answered my many questions, and gave me the good, the bad, and the ugly about running a business.
After months of talking, conference calls, two trips to Toronto to meet and locate wholesalers, I made the decision to quit my day job, and open a retail business.
I kept this decision very close to me, only sharing it with family. I was not ready to announce to the world that I was making a plan to leave my career and take one of the biggest risks I have ever taken.
After months of preparing, buying, going into debt, I am opening my little retail shop. It is been a whirlwind of excitement, fear, and anxiety. The support I have received by friends, family, fellow business owners, colleagues, as well as countless others, has solidified for me that I have made the right decision.
Am I loopy? The answer to that question, perhaps I am, but this life is too short to have regrets. I don't ever want to wake up with the "what if's". I am doing it for me this time. I'm hanging up my corporate attire, for an apron, a paintbrush, and some awesome products.