When the pandemic hit, I was furloughed from my job of 13 years as a Flight Attendant, along with tens of thousands of others across Canada. After months in isolation like the rest of the country, I was missing travel terribly. I was missing how it made me feel such profound gratitude for the world and the people it.
I spent from May of 2020 until July of 2021 bringing WanderlustStuff to life. Without a doubt, that seems like a long time to the average person... 14 months to open some online store and launch a website? Why?
Here's my story:
From the inception of WanderlustStuff in May of 2020, I started to work on learning everything I could about different ecommerce business models and about the ecommerce industry itself. It was DAUNTING. I had created several websites before and was managing several businesses Facebook Pages, and a had a very extensive marketing background to help me - but this was new. ALL NEW.
I decided that despite what I had going for me in previous marketing and online skills - that I still needed help from the tech community, and I applied, interviewed, pitched and was ultimately awarded a spot in an Accelerator Program that blew my mind for six straight months.
I could barely even focus on starting the business, I was so engrossed in all the news things I was learning about business itself. The way everything was done - from methodologies to marketing - had changed TOTALLY since I was in the corporate world sixteen years ago.
But thanks to that program teaching me about the power of experimentation, I learned how to plan experiments with my products and customer mix, how to track effectiveness, and how to FAIL FAST and move on quick when things didn't work. I became a mad scientist.
The Accelerate Okanagan Venture Accelerator Program led me to being scholarshiped into a fast-track financial program for Canadian female entrepreneurs with the Women's Enterprise of Canada; and following that, into being accepted to the Shopify 4 Startups Program - where I vastly accelerated my ecommerce education and updated my marketing skills with some serious new digital savvy.
I've become a web developer, graphic designer, product researcher, vendor negotiator, product description writer, photographer, videographer, social media content creator, retailer, shipping manager and leader to 2 part time female staff and 3 part time female apprentice students all at the same time.
I've never given myself the opportunity to get an education like this. It's been a time of internal growth, self-reflection, and just as much frustration as there has been inspiration. Frankly, I sometimes feel too old to be doing this much learning and this much work so late in life!
But through this - I've found my purpose. Shining light on products and companies doing good things in our world. Bringing messages of hope and awe about how great this planet is and all the people in it. Helping women see the world with the products I find and sell. And behind the scenes I'm collaborating with young women in Canada and abroad who are helping me build this. Their fresh perspectives on our world and positive outlook on life are what inspire me (and keep me young!)
Its been quite the journey so far, I'm happy to say I've arrived at my final destination :)