Susan Campbell has always loved using her hands to create. She taught herself to sketch at a young age and learned quilting and sewing from her mother. She enjoyed the challenge of finding ways to create something beautiful, and useful from scraps, and surplus or repurposed materials. Bakeapple Designs started as a creative outlet while she was working full time for a local non-profit. It was a way to continue her creative hobby but with more purpose. She was making things she needed and would use.
Three years ago, she was burnt out from work and needed a serious change. Bakeapple Designs became a full-time pursuit.
Campbell believes that art can be practical and does not have to be precious. As a textile artist, she offers pieces that are functional and practical. A splash of colour here or an unexpected combination of patterns there adds moments of joy and fun to the routine moments of the day. The pieces are an alternative to mass produced and disposable fast fashion. They are meant to be used, worn, washed. Bakeapple quilts and textile art can utilize fabrics or garments with memories attached to them, capturing the memories, and passing them down through generations, or be investments in functional art to add beauty to a space.
The pandemic forced Bakeapple to shift its business model and with that came a learning curve. There was an immediate need for high-quality, reusable, and stylish face coverings, and this need only increased during the year. Campbell saw an opportunity to add some positivity to the collective experience, realizing that fun masks will not solve the real issues we are facing, but they do add a moment of levity to the situation. A lot of time was spent testing different designs and materials to see which provided the best fits and protection. Eventually she found a design that could be produced in large quantities without sacrificing the expectations of style, quality, and durability that Bakeapple is known for. The shift in direction has enabled her to grow as a business owner. Bakeapple sales have more than doubled in recent months and she was able to donate masks to local not-for-profit community groups for at-risk populations.
Campbell was encouraged to investigate the Women Entrepreneurship Centre via another local Etsy seller after having a conversation about her business not growing as she had hoped it would, having difficulty accessing business information and supports, and the lack of connection and community she was looking for in running her business. The WEC Ecosystem Program offered business tools and information she would otherwise have had little access to or had great difficulty discovering on her own. The program has also brought her an amazing network of mentors and like-minded business owners and entrepreneurs to connect with as a community and to lean on for support.
Glodeane Brown is the Founder and Editor of the Culture Fancier blog where she regularly writes about arts and culture events, and interviews creative professionals. She is an arts management professional living and working in Kitchener, Ontario.
The Women Entrepreneurship Centre (WEC), as part of the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University, is dedicated to empowering women entrepreneurs of every age, stage and culture to achieve their business dreams. We believe in fostering leadership. We believe that everyone deserves an equal shot at success. We believe in connecting you with the right people, skills and support to make it happen.
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