"THE MAKERS" Biography featuring Canadian Frost's Nicole Semeniuk
Nicole Semeniuk our local knitter from BC's Interior.
Tell us about your path to what you’re doing now. How did you start Canadian Frost and what is your background?
I grew up in Northern Saskatchewan, then moved to Yellowknife. I also worked in a diamond mine in the tundra North of there. I know cold. I hated cold. I also hated the hats I was forced to wear 8 months of the year. It wasn’t until I moved to the Okanagan that I began crocheting and designing my own items. Better late than never!
I have been an electrician since I was 18. I began crocheting as a hobby over 10 years ago. Someone bought a Santa hat off my head at a Christmas party and something clicked. I loved the idea of wrapping everyone around me in something cozy. So I started with a small craft fair in my hometown and it grew from there.
How has your style developed as you’ve grown?
My style has changed as my life has changed. I started out making adult hats in several styles, fibres and colours. When I became a mother I wanted an adorable hat for my son and a matching one for myself. My Mama & me line is designed for adorable little ones and the mamas that chase them around.
I also wanted something super special to wear the days when I found myself away from their sticky little fingers. My pure frost line is made for women that deserve something lovely.
Since those first years I have streamlined my products, focusing on my most popular styles and offering the two different lines.
"Be open to new options as your business evolves. Different paths may lead to more success."
When did the idea of starting your business feel like something you could achieve? Was there an “aha!” moment?
My “aha” moment was the birth of my first son. As soon as I saw his little face I knew I wanted to work from home. Two years ago I had double shoulder surgery. After I healed, I faced going back to work as an electrician. My current position was more than full-time shift work and meant we would need a nanny for our children. I was 20 years into my career and suddenly found myself looking for options. I have always wanted to have a career I am truly passionate about. The last few years I have been selling part time, so this year I decided to rebrand to Canadian Frost and grow my business.
If you weren’t running Canadian Frost, what would you be doing?
My lap is filled with children and yarn 100% of the time, and I love it. if I was not running Canadian Frost I would be having more children :)
Does your process come pretty naturally or do you find yourself fighting against creative block at times?
Crocheting and knitting definitely come naturally. What I do struggle with is the numerous creative ideas I have and which ones to move forward with.
"My lap is filled with children and yarn 100% of the time, and I love it."
What advice would you give to someone who is starting out?
My advice is specifically for other creative mamas that want to work from home. I would say “set your boundaries.” There are no limits to creative ideas but often making these ideas come to life we lose sight of the reasons we are working from home; to watch our children grow. Find a balance that keeps you happy, focused and productive.
Outline the 3 greatest attributes you need to be a maker and small business owner:
Know your inspiration and what you need to be fulfilled, don’t try to make a business out of something that is not “you.”
Be open to new options as your business evolves. Different paths may lead to more success.
This is the biggest one for me; do not try to do it all yourself. Seek the help you need so you don’t feel like you are drowning. I hired a bookkeeper and some other like minded mamas and grammas to help. I also asked my husband to make pompoms, a lot of pompoms.
"It wasn’t until I moved to the Okanagan that I began crocheting and designing my own items. Better late than never!"
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