GRAND BANK, NL – Business was brisk at the 13th annual Trade Show and Holiday Fair at the Grand Bank Lions Community Centre Oct. 13-14.
The event, sponsored by the Grand Bank Development Corporation (GBDC) through the Regional Women in Business Network, hosted 21 female-operated businesses from communities on the Burin Peninsula, including Grand Bank, Fortune, Point May, Marystown and Burin.
Conrad Collier, GBDC’s economic development officer, said the show has become somewhat of a traditional event leading into the Christmas season, offering lots of options for people looking to get a head start on their Christmas shopping.
The purpose of the trade show/holiday fair, however, he said goes much deeper than that.
“We do our best to showcase female entrepreneurs, giving them a venue where they can market their wares/services and in some cases, test market a product before going out into a larger market base,” Collier explained.
“It also gives the female entrepreneur the opportunity to explore potential partnerships with other entrepreneurs – I am sure that happened here this weekend.”
Collier noted a variety of products were displayed at the show, including fashion items, quilting products, seal skin products, baked goods, crafts, and skin care products.
A unique venture
Grand Bank resident Joan Pope was one of the participants showcasing her products at the fair. Her business, Johanna’s Upcycles, reuses discarded material to create products of higher quality or value than the original.
She takes materials she’s not using herself, given to her by friends, or obtained from the Thrift Store to create such items as mitts, scarves, aprons and cushions.
Pope, a retired schoolteacher, explained upcycling is a big thing today, but she got into it for personal reasons.
“I hate wasting things,” she said. “I needed something to fill up the free time I have in some sort of a creative way, and I wanted to use any monies I made to give something back.”
Profits Pope receives from her enterprise go to Gifts with Visions, an initiative affiliated with the United Church of Canada that makes a difference in peoples’ lives through a variety of projects, services and programs.
Filling a need
Valerie Fleming and daughter Megan, owners of Good on Ya’ in Point May, were eager to display their products at the trade show.
The mother-daughter duo makes their own natural skincare products using therapeutic-grade essential oils and plant-based ingredients with no dyes, artificial fragrances or preservatives.
Their product list includes body butters, body scrub, lip balm, lip scrub, dry shampoos, bath soak, facial scrub, and kelp masks.
Fleming noted all their products are certified by Health Canada and based on formulations created and tested while studying organic skincare science from an accredited institution in the United Kingdom.
Like many entrepreneurs, the Fleming team saw a need for a product and created it.
“We were inspired to create our own line of all-natural skincare products based entirely on our personal skincare needs,” noted Valerie. “We both have sensitive skin and realized using regular mainstream skincare products with the chemicals and fragrances was causing our skin to become even more sensitive.”
Fleming thanked the Regional Women in Business Network, under the leadership of Judy Peach, for hosting the trade show again this year.
“It afforded us an opportunity to network within the business community as well as showcase our products to potential customers,” she said. “It was extremely well organized and proved to be quite successful for us as a small business.”