Meet SEWN Member…
A Font of Experience
Toni and her partner came to the Sunshine Coast in 2016, largely on the recommendation of a realtor friend and numerous visits to local friends. Today she gets to pursue her passion for print and graphic design from the comfort of her home studio.
“In the warmer weather, when I need a break from my computer screen or a challenging project has me banging my head on the desk, I wander out into my back garden to survey my “domain” and to chase the deer away. When I need to recharge, I listen to the birds that come to feed in my yard or I rest my eyes on the amazing variety of greens in the forest outside my window. Even the squabbling crows and ravens offer me something I can’t get in the city. I am in a peaceful place with wonder all around me inspires my creativity.”
“In my early 20s, I moved to Vancouver in search of freedom and cherry blossoms. Believing in the importance of a steady income, I found a nice secure job as a production artist at a large printing company. 27 years of regular paydays and health benefits ended in 2006 when the company down sized. A few months later, something fantastic happened when a chance meeting led to my first freelance job. It lasted for over three months and that is how I got started. I was amazed to discover the pleasure of collaborating with other creatives in a studio environment. It felt great to be appreciated for my printing background and expertise. I loved the freedom offered by contract work.”
With her design training and deep roots in the printing industry, Toni delivers everything from creative concepts to print-ready files (and everything in between) for three client niches:
- Business owners who value personal service.
- Design studios, marketing departments and ad agencies needing support for in-house design staff.
- Non-fiction authors and book publishers.
“I love helping my clients to realize their goals by doing something that I’m really good at. I’m very honoured by their trust in me. That is the gold. I’m also passionate about connecting fellow entrepreneurs with people or businesses that can help them grow their own business.”
Toni says being involved with SEWN has definitely helped with name recognition and with finding a few clients on the Coast. While her client base is mainly larger businesses and design studios in Vancouver, she would love to work with more local businesses.
“Many of the local businesses I’ve talked to have a do-it-yourself approach because of limited budgets so I try to “pay it forward” when time and resources allow.”
Toni cites a 2018 report A profile of small business in British Columbia, which found that “…roughly 98 per cent of all businesses in BC are small businesses. In 2017, there were… 3.6 per cent more than in 2016. Of these, about 84 per cent were micro-businesses with fewer than five employees.”
“That is us on the Sunshine Coast! And we are growing as more people move here for the lifestyle and (slightly more) affordable home prices. I see nothing but growth in SEWN’s future.
My experience in creating and building my business has offered many “personal growth opportunities”. It can be a very tough gig but ultimately worth it. I’m always open to offering support and encouragement to my sisters in SEWN. I wouldn’t be here myself without the help of my own support network.”