Upstairs on Beacon: Building Success Together
– by Doreen Marion Gee –
This is part of a rotating series of articles on members of Sidney Meet Up Women’s Networking Group, featuring women in business on the Saanich Peninsula.
In today’s economic climate, entrepreneurs have to think outside the box to survive. Enter the women who started ‘Upstairs on Beacon’, those visionaries in pant-suits with a revolutionary way to build their collective success. Judging by what they have achieved in just a few months, they are set to take this sleepy little town by storm.
In August, ‘Upstairs on Beacon’ energized this community with a collection of new funky, trendy shops and services. A few female game-changers joined forces to help and support each other in a business cooperative, sharing space side by side – and sharing the overhead. The high costs of doing business, mainly rent, deter many entrepreneurs from opening shops. This new ingenious cooperative initiative makes it affordable and possible for each vendor to have and grow a successful enterprise on the Peninsula. Ultimately, our community benefits from this infusion of their talent, beautiful products and valuable services.
The cooperative is the brain-child of Cheryl Young, the dynamic founder of Sidney Meet Up Network of Women in Business. “The most important thing that we do is support, help and share with one another.” The entrepreneurs offer high-quality fare and valuable community services as they benefit from this collective enterprise.
Cheryl Young runs Norma Jeans’ Closet, a Ladies Consignment Boutique with a delectable array of gently used clothes in mint condition – some new, some vintage – at reasonable prices. Exquisite jewellery, designer lamps and paintings glisten in the low light.
The talented Jo-Ann Way of Nuttycake Photography (nuttycake.com), is delighted to showcase her work at ‘Upstairs on Beacon’: “Sharing this space makes it affordable for people like me.” And it allows her the freedom to pursue her craft and an income while her work is displayed.
Another class act is Nancy’s Sew Creative (nancysewcreative.com): Nancy McMillan runs a thriving business on the Peninsula creating extraordinary slipcovers for chairs, designer cushions, bedding and drapery. She loves ‘Upstairs’: “Because I have very little overhead here, I can extend the services of a full ‘workroom’ at wholesale prices.”
The very creative Pretty Mad Hatter Lady, Beverley Bond, designs amazing Fashion Hats and Fascinators. Stephanie Solyon of Glamour Girls Vintage brings in high-end genuine vintage clothing. Oceanna Hall and her Lady ‘O’ Spiritual Counselling treats customers to a remarkable Tarot experience – unlocking their true selves and facilitating hard decisions. Lastly, Sidney Taxi proudly and reliably serves our community.
“It keeps growing!” gushes Cheryl Young about the new enterprise on 2405 Beacon. She encourages new vendors to apply for space – men included. This cutting-edge cooperative paradigm is a brilliant template for businesses trying to get off the ground. As Cheryl says, “Hear us roar!”