Some of my first memories are curling ribbon with my grandmother in her downtown Bracebridge bedding shop.
There was this big wooden countertop that I could stand behind and still be hidden from the customers, and a pink plastic stool to sit on if I got tired from standing.
I would attempt to help by practicing curling the pink ribbon with the scissors with much guidance from my grandma. I would watch her gracefully tie the ribbon around the handles of the customer's bag and hand it over my head to them. Me with wide eyes and a sense of accomplishment being her little helper in the store.
My grandmother was a woman beyond her time. Widowed at a young age she opened a store in the downtown core of Bracebridge. A place where tourists and locals alike would come by and see her, find the perfect quilt, pillow or towel and be on their way.
She started it along with her business partner, but somewhere along the way it became her own. I loved watching her fold things with her pink painted nails, her dangling jewelry clicking on the buttons of her tweed blazer. I loved watching her laugh with the customers of whom she knew by name, and her hand swiping credit cards and I loved watching her curl pink ribbon.
When my grandma became too ill with Alzheimer's to run the shop, my mom took over. From years of helping her and learning the product, customers and management of this quaint little bedding shop my mom was a natural.
She moved the shop around the corner, so we were now on the main drag. My brother and I would pretend we were mannequins in the windows, and as we got older we would occasionally vacuum or straighten the shelves.
As I became a teen, I began working the shop with my mom. I loved getting to know the regulars, I loved lending my opinion when someone asked and picking through the catalogues to find things that spoke to me and my style. My mom quickly learned that I loved to style. It's an important expression of mine as a creative person and I would spend hours rearranging displays and windows to have a certain feel or theme.
I loved watching my mom navigate the business as the world and economy shifted, I loved watching her manage the shifting styles and finding love and quality in every item that came in and out of the store. I loved watching her curl the ribbon on each customer's parcel.
As an actress, and educator and a partner in a theatre education company business, this desire to create and to be an entrepreneur like the women before me clearly never left.
So now, as I think about the next chapter of my life and the things that bring me joy, I come back to that shop. I come back to the feeling of a good quality towel, a duvet cover that expresses who I am, a bamboo sheet that feels luxurious and special... and I want to create that feeling again.
That shop on the Main Street of Bracebridge was an expression of two wonderful women. Women who allowed people to find that perfect item and bring it into their home as expressions of themselves and their families.
I hope in this new world, and in this new way, I can do what they did. Bring you well thought-out home items that allow you to express yourself through your home and hand it over all tied with a curled ribbon.