Like her name, Faith LeClair is a believer in taking chances when it comes to pursing her business goals.
When the fabric shop where she had worked for eight years closed, she was “devasted”, not only at the loss of a job she loved, but also at the prospect of being 57 and starting a new job search.
Not wanting to give up her passion for sewing and quilting and knowing from experience there was a demand for product and expertise in central and western PEI, she took the leap into self-employment, establishing Sew Blessed Quilters in the renovated garage of her home. The business was such a success, by 2019 it had expanded into the sewing room of her house as well as the basement of the Senior Centre in Kensington, where she held sewing classes.
Up until that time, Faith had primarily used Facebook to promote her business, which sold quilting fabric and supplies, Island made quilts, quilt kits, and small textile home décor items like table runners and pillows.
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced tight restrictions on most retail operations, Faith realized she needed to expand her online presence to ensure the business remained viable, visible and accessible to existing and potential new customers.
During the summer of 2020, the Atlantic Canadian Women in Growth Partnership (ACWGP) developed the Moving Women Online program. It sought submissions of interest from women entrepreneurs across Atlantic Canada to move their current business operations to an online eCommerce platform so they could continue to grow business opportunities throughout and beyond COVID-19. ACWGP is a collaborative partnership between the four Atlantic Provincial Women’s Business Organizations (WBO’s) including: PEIBWA, the Nova Scotia Centre for Women in Business; Women in Business New Brunswick, and (NLOWE) The Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women’s Entrepreneurs.
As the pandemic continued to impact her business, and despite the fact she had very little previous online experience, Faith decided to take a chance and apply for the program with the goal of creating a website that enabled online sales and additional promotional opportunities for the business.
By attending online training and working directly with Project Web Developer AOR Web Solutions (a PEI-based and PEIBWA member company), Faith was able to achieve her goal of launching a website for her company, with ecommerce capabilities. “Moving Women Online was the first program I have taken with the PEIWA and I found it very informative. It was a very welcoming place,” she says. “I am still figuring out the web world but am looking forward to having another option to meet my customers. Sewing gives people so much peace and comfort. It's so amazing to see them with their finished projects.”
For more information about Sew Blessed Quilters:
Email: email@example.com or call: 902-836-4110
For more information about the Atlantic Canadian Women in Growth Partnership (ACWGP) please contact PEI Program Coordinator Rose Fitzpatrick at 902-393-0306 or firstname.lastname@example.org