This article is a series highlighting the graduating businesses from the Business Advisory Centre’s Starter Company Plus program. This program has been a key stepping-stone for businesses and entrepreneurs looking to grow in the region and since 2017 has resulted in the creation of 74 startups and supported 47 business expansions. The program has also seen the opening of 22 brick-and-mortar locations in the region, and has created 141 jobs in the local community.
The Kawartha Craft Company produces and sells easy to follow, do it yourself, crafts kits for children of all ages. Kits are stocked with hand-picked local supplies and tested out for ease of use. The Kawartha Craft Company donates kits to local shelters and works with local charities in Peterborough and the Kawarthas to supplement fundraising initiatives. Our kits are a great hands-on, non-screen, creative activity for kids.
Kawartha Craft Company’s website has launched at: www.kawarthacraftco.ca and their Instagram is @kawarthacraftco
1. What was the Starter Company Plus experience like for you?
I really enjoyed taking part in the Starter Company Plus program. I thought I was prepared to launch the Kawartha Craft Company when I applied to the program, but quickly learned that I had a lot more work to do. The workshops were informative and had me thinking more strategically about branding, customer profiles and how to conduct market research. I made real changes to my business plan directly stemming from our presentations from local experts. And honestly, I was so inspired by my fellow student entrepreneurs. Each business idea was interesting and the entrepreneurs I was learning alongside had wide and valuable previous experience. I am really looking forward to watching their success.
2. Where did the idea for Kawartha Craft Co come from?
I love creating and getting kids and teens involved in crafts. I have three children aged, 11, 9 and 4 so they help test out my kit ideas. I wanted to create craft kits for all types of learners with easy to follow instructions, in both picture and written forms, with no plastic waste and quality, tested materials. I also wanted to feature craft supplies from local stores wherever available.
3. What are your hopes for the business in the next 3 years?
I hope to grow the business enough to hire employees to help with product development and to help run my market booths. I want to hire young people in summer and co-op positions.
4. Has it been difficult launching a new business during the pandemic?
I had planned to launch the business in Spring 2020 but then the pandemic happened and the Farmer’s Markets were cancelled. Seeing how small local businesses were hurting I continued to buy craft supplies locally and hoped that the pandemic would pass and I could launch in Fall 2020. My timeline has been stretched and it isn’t business as usual but I am excited to join our small business community in Peterborough County.
5. What has the response in the community been since you launched?
Our local community has been very supportive and I can see a lot of opportunities for me to collaborate with other small businesses.
6. What is your favourite thing about living and working in Peterborough & the Kawarthas?
I feel so fortunate to live here and I have so many favourite things. I moved here in the summer of 2019 with my husband and three children. I love that we have so much natural beauty around us from the rocks to the trees and the gorgeous lakes. I love that our local resources are run by fabulous people like the staff at the Buckhorn Library. And I love that we have so many talented artists in our area.