Susan Gentilcore was raised in a family that loved to travel and had great respect for the environment. That love and respect combined with her passion as a maker led her to create items that help to keep our planet clean. For the past four years, her business All Things Preserved has been helping people discover simple ways they can change their daily routine to become more environmentally friendly and waste aware. When it comes to helping people on their zero-waste lifestyle journey, Susan’s motto is simply, “begin anywhere.” All Things Preserved’s sustainable lifestyle household products are made from repurposed materials. The repurposing reduces dependence on natural resources that would otherwise be used in great amounts to produce new fabrics.
Pre-pandemic, Gentilcore relied on traditional avenues to reach her customers. The cancellation of in-person vendor events, holiday and seasonal markets, and the closure of non-essential businesses like gift shops had a huge negative impact on her business, but there have been some positives. Her biggest success during this time has been realizing her long-time goal to hire marginalized, underemployed or unemployed women, or women who are new to Canada. She employs a local team of skilled women sewists because she believes we can all work together to take care of and support each other. For now, they are successfully working as a team from their respective homes. Her hope is to eventually offer training to develop sewing skills but that will not be possible until they can work together physically in a shared space.
Through the Grow My Business Accelerator program at Laurier’s Women Entrepreneurship Centre, she learned many skills including adapting to digital and virtual business practices, marketing, finding her ideal customer, networking, and business planning. Goal setting was a big part of the program and she continues to use the goal setting tools in her business daily. The opportunity to connect with other female entrepreneurs was the driving force that attracted her to this program. Added to that, she says that having the chance to be mentored by women entrepreneurs added immeasurable value.
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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