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Support local women in business this Mother’s Day

Celebrating our second Mother’s Day during the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t ideal. Women, especially working mothers, have been taking on more than their fair share of stress during this uncertain time.

From leaving the workforce to care for their families during lockdown periods, to facing barriers to reemployment due to the cultural bias of being a mother, women are struggling.

When we look to celebrate our own mothers on Sunday, May 9, 2021, let us support other women in our community who are running businesses and earning a living despite the overwhelming challenges of this pandemic.

Megan Hamilton of ubu skills. Photo by Melissa Howlett of Dust & Breath Family Art

Megan Hamilton of ubu skills helps women gain confidence and authority. Whether that’s in a business meeting on Zoom, a speech at a wedding, or even at home, she helps women take up space, and speak up.

“I think one of the reasons that women like to work with me is because I’ve lived that speaking fear,” Hamilton shared. “I used to have really low self esteem and I could never speak up for myself. I’ve spent years combining my classical theatre education and my music performance experience into training that reflects the difficulties that women face, while being compassionate and encouraging to help foster growth.”

“I truly believe that when we can have more women’s voices in the public forum, we will change the world.”

We all know a Mom who struggles to put herself first. Hamilton’s supportive and empowering coaching style helps Moms understand why they have so much difficulty claiming what they need, while providing them with techniques to do so. Her Dynamic Presence coaching package offers three months of 1:1 coaching to help women finally move forward in their lives. Learn more here: https://www.ubuskills.com/dynamic-presence.

Gift cards are available in any denomination. Contact ubu skills for details: [email protected]

Image via Reclaimed Words.

Reclaimed Words, a local business run by Sherri Richards, creates works of art from used or recycled hardcover books. Richards created this business as a way to express herself after healing from a concussion and living with PTSD.

“I suffered a concussion in 2019,” Richards said. “As a healing strategy, my concussion specialist told me to try and learn a new skill. This is where I discovered book folding. I’ve also been living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder which requires support from a Service Dog, though I was never able to confidently say that I suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The word “reclaimed” in my business name comes from me being able to reclaim my voice after years of being silent.”

Most of Richards’ work comes from custom orders that clients request for a variety of celebratory occasions.

“This Mother’s Day, please feel free to check out the Reclaimed Words Facebook page for gift ideas,” she suggested. “If you are interested in one of the books, cards or jewellery posted, send me a message there to discuss design and ordering information.”

Reclaimed Words is also on Instagram. Orders can be placed through direct message on her page @reclaimedwords2020.

Don’t see the book you think the special woman in your life would like? Reclaimed Words also has gift certificates available and custom orders are always welcome. Custom orders take between two and four days.

Free, contactless delivery is available in Kingston, Amherstview and Napanee. Shipping is also available.

Richards said she looks forward to discussing unique design ideas for the Mom in your life. “Please feel free to contact me to discuss your unique design needs, custom order requests or how to arrange your one-of-a-kind handmade Mother’s Day gift delivery at any of the information listed or by calling me at 613-329-2332,” she said. “Thank you for supporting local!”

Cameron Watson returned to her hometown of Kingston in September 2019, only months before the pandemic hit. She said starting her fashion business, Oak and Fir, gave her the opportunity to create a new community here in Kingston, and relieve some of the isolation she was feeling after leaving her university community in Ottawa.

Oak and Fir ‘we are the change’ t-shirts. Photo by Emily Lott from Lott of Love Photography.

“I have been able to connect with Kingston women like I never have before. There is a whole community here of women with entrepreneurial spirit who cheer each other on, offer advice and listen to each other’s frustrations. The journey I’ve been on since launching the store has been one of the most inspiring and empowering experiences of my life thanks to this huge group of powerful Canadian women,” she shared with Kingstonist.

It takes a village to raise the next generation of changemakers, and in that spirit, Oak and Fir is “celebrating mothers, mother figures, those who want to be mothers, those who have always been or always will be mothers,” with their Mother’s Day collection. The collection features shirts and tote bags from Polished Prints, designed by mothers for their little ones.

“You can be sure that the amount of love put into these designs is overwhelming,” Watson said. “All designs are screen printed by hand with water-based inks on 100 per cent cotton fabric.”

Visit the Oak and Fir website to see their entire eco-friendly and sustainable line of products.

Rhonda Evans of Glocca Morra Farms and Studios. Image via Glocca Morra.

Rhonda Evans of Glocca Morra Farms and Studios is a chef, an artist, a designer, a teacher, and an entrepreneur.

“When I asked if I could participate in an article regarding women in business for Mother’s Day I had to think hard about what I wanted to say,” Evans shared. “I am a woman that wears many hats. My husband and I have a six-generation farm and I am a mother of two beautiful daughters. Mostly grown-up, finishing college and heading out into the real world. Scary as it is right now.”

She confirmed what we all know: running a business and taking care of the rest of our lives in this COVID world has been very difficult.

“I would think that parents with younger children trying to do homeschooling and work from home, keep their house running, and keeping everyone happy is probably the hardest job they will ever have done,” she said. “Because the most important factor in all this is mental health and to be able to balance all of the things mentioned above, it is really important to take care of oneself.”

Evans has been running a food truck, Glocca Morra Grill, for a number of years. “I love all of the events that I get to go to, people I get to see, new friends and old friends. So yes, I miss doing this. Because of COVID, I have taken a break from my catering business. Who knows what the future will bring.“

Besides running a catering business, Evans is also a multidisciplinary artist. She trained as a graphic artist many years ago, but now she works in many different mediums and art forms.

Evans said she feels very fortunate as an artist. “I have had my studio to work at in the Tett Centre. We have the support of a very small community of artists working in the creative studios,” she said. All the artists within The Creative Studios space have been supportive of each other, and Evans said that has been a great resource for her own mental health.

Evans offers classes, when we aren’t experiencing stringent COVID restrictions, as well as craft kits, face masks and unique pieces of art in many different mediums. Check out her offerings on her website. She said her revenue has gone down about 85 per cent because of the pandemic. As a result, she now offers private online tutorials for anyone who needs help with creative projects.

On the positive side, Evans said she’s had much more time to work on her own art and her personal growth as an artist.

“I have a show coming up at the Tett Centre, Harnessing Chaos – an Artist Mind in Motion, in the gallery from June 8 to 13, pandemic permitting,” Evans shared. “It will feature pieces of my past, as well as all the new work that I have been doing throughout the pandemic. After that, and throughout the summer, there will be a pop up at my farm on the third Saturday of June, July, and August.”

When the situation improves, and we can return to in-person shopping and events, visit Glocca Morra Studios in the Tett Centre, in The Creative Studios on the second floor. Until then, stop by the website and follow her on Facebook.

Mother’s Day Seafood Platter by AquaTerra. Image via AquaTerra.

AquaTerra wants to help you say thank you to mom this Mother’s Day with takeaway options crafted with love. Choose from a locally-sourced Afternoon Tea at home, a decadent seafood platter loaded with lobster, PEI oysters, crab, shrimp and tasty sauces and dressings, or a four-course tasting menu that is as unforgettable as she is. Pre-order and see the details at www.aquaterrakingston.com/mothers-day-to-go.

“Our to-go program would not be as successful without the handwork and dedication of Chef Lesley Larsen, head chef at the Quality Inn & Kingston Central,” said Skylar Reid, Marketing Coordinator for Diamond Hotels. “Chef Lesley has been with Diamond Hotels for 10+ years and was willing to shift gears and join the team at AquaTerra due to the pandemic.”

Chef Lesley Larsen and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, at a banquet, pre-COVID. Image via AquaTerra.

Chef Lesley was born and raised in Kingston and attended KCVI. She began working in kitchens at the age of 16, and soon after graduation, she signed up for an apprenticeship under a chef in Kingston. 40 years later, she still loves what she does. “There is always something new to learn, whether a technique or recipe, it is ever-changing and evolving,” shared Lesley.

“Mother’s Day is a little bit different for her, as she is a mom herself,” Reid continued. “It is a busy day for restaurants, so she typically does not have the day off to spend with her daughter. However, she said that makes the next day much more special — because it is their day. She shared they spend time together shopping and follow up with dinner and a movie.”

Chef Lesley says being a chef on Mother’s Day is awesome. She loves having the opportunity to help families celebrate their moms by giving them a break from cooking and a chance to spend some much-needed quality time together.

However you choose to celebrate Mom this year, consider supporting women-owned businesses with your purchases.

This article is sponsored content. The businesses above paid a fee to be included in this article. If you would like to be approached for posts of this nature, email [email protected].

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