Thursday, August 29, 2013

Indie-Preneur interview ~ Upper Bench Wine & Creamery

Okay so I met Shana through a ‘learn to run 10 km’ group a few years back.  All I have to say is, she is a complete blast! A lil pocket dynamo, oooddles of energy, lots of laughs + a great lil runner to bout.  Now after the big 10km race was done,  I hung up my sneakers + took a ummmmmm an extended break , but i’m pretty sure Shana- the energizer bunny - kept going!   So naturally, we kinda lost contact....until one day we happened to bump into each other I ask what she’s been up too + this was her answer  ‘well , we just bought a winery!’

So how did all this ‘we just bought a winery’ happen?::

My hubby Gavin and I had always been looking to have our own place so when we ran in to acquaintances Wayne & Margareta Nystrom, at the local Safeway December 2010 and got to chatting, we partnered up and the rest is history.

 Yikes how stressful was that? How did you know you were making the right decision?::

It was pretty stressful. The property was actually part of a bankruptcy & going up for Auction in Vancouver, so we had to ‘bid’ on it in court. We got one shot at it, there were others bidding against us, so yep pretty darn stressful. Heck yeah! We knew we were making the right decision ‘cause this is what we’ve both wanted for many many years.

 What’s your role + whats the Mr’s role in your business?

Both Gav & I have many roles, I make cheese, do all the administration, help in the Tasting Room, and help keep the ship on course. Gav oversees the Vineyard, winemaking, building matience, helps in the Tasting Room (he’s pretty entertaining).

 What awesome things have happened since??

Gav’s wines have won lots of awards (he’s not a bragger so I’ll gladly do it for him). I’ve recently returned from Toronto where I participated in ACE Bakery Incubator. It was a whirlwind three days of work-shops, networking and all round awesomeness.

 For anybody considering taking a leap...what 3 things should one consider?

#1)Do it for the right reason
#2)Choose your partners carefully (me & Gav worked together previously and knew we work well together
 #3) Understand that the hard work is just beginning!

What is the most important thing you’ve realized since being an indie-preneur??

 Hmmmm good question! I guess I’d say that I’m friendlier than I thought! I always thought of myself as an introvert and a pretty shy person. When you have so many folks coming through the door, interested in what you’re doing it is easy to chat with them. Something that I didn’t realize I’d ever be good at, but I really enjoy connecting with people. Especially when we get the occasional ‘curd nerd’ who makes their own cheese at home. We always have a good story or two to share.

What about this word success ~ whats your definition?

Man you’re asking some pretty deep questions here! I’d say my definition of success would be: Success = life in balance. When I say life I mean family, partners, work & self. I will also say I’m not there yet. I don’t spend enough time with family and rarely take time for myself. But I’m working on it. Life is a work in progress.

How do you guys do it all? And what most peeps want to know is you still have time for running??

LOL! We have a lot of help. We have the best Winery Team ever! Great tasting room peeps, awesome Vineyard workers and I’ve a lovely young lady helping me make cheese. Still run occasionally starting to bike too! Like most working folks trying to get that balance is a challenge, but I’m up for it!

I wanted to give a huge thanks to Shana (+ Gavin) for taking some time out of their day to give this top notch interview ~ I thoroughly enjoyed the read (hope you guys do too), the visit + catching up!!

Here are some of my fav snapshots of my visit::

You can keep up with Shana (aka Big Cheese!) + Gav's adventures at Upper Bench Wine + Creamery here::
and why not 'like' em while you are at it ~ to show your support + give them extra encouragement + love...these guys are pretty darned awesome + supa inspiring to say the least :).

Monday, August 26, 2013

10 months

Well this lil person is now 10 months!! I had planned to take a different snapshot of her, perhaps in a cute lil retro outfit:: giggle - but I just fell in love with this photo.  Morning, jammies, fall/autumn sunshine and that fabulous blonde swirly whirly (yet very light on!) hair.  Such a curious stage of life too, makes you take wonderment in all the tiny things + how much you actually learn in this short life of ours.  Anyways, she has changed so much in just a month...she is now pulling herself up on everything, a moving maniac + the word 'mum' sometimes stuck on repeat (which was cute at first!).  She is becoming more of a unique character everyday which is the coolest thing to see as a parent (you just don't know what you are going to end up with do you ::giggle)
So my Mumma + Pappa arrive on thursday from Australia, so i'll be trying my hardest to keep up with the adventure, but 3 weeks can go awfully fast, so i'm promising to do my best.  But be sure to check back this week as i'll be posting my first Indie-Preneur interview!

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Okay so i've been charting + darting between 3 different Bank Businessing accounts....analyzing, researching and charting all the associated fees :: there are A LOT! So really it was getting starting to get..... not so fun, and really hard to get all the tiny bits of information into one chart!!  Then I realized, who the hell out there is going to care about the price of 'receiving an e-transfer' (other than moi!) so I thought instead of a boring chart, i'd give you a quick summary of what I learned over the last few days::

- It all comes down to transactions transactions transactions!  .  If you can roughly estimate how many you would make in a month...then go from there (made me realize how few transactions I actually do ~ with having most of my sales through Etsy/Paypal or cash sales through markets/shows)
- Start with the most basic of accounts (I was definitely in the wrong account for me) + work your way up
- everything tiny thing costs you a buck or 2 ~ so cut corners where you can, go paperless, do most everything online, read that boring fine print.
- I always thought most Banks would offer much the same service + fees, but they vary SO take a bit of time to make a boring bank chart....and the picture becomes pretty clear ::giggle
- credit unions seem to be pretty awesome

So... my Bank is okay ~ I could do better.  I love that the ladies there know my name, but I could be saving a touch more monies if I swapped a)accounts or b) to a credit union.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Yes Ma'am i'm all finished up...both the pizza sized Galette + my Special Project, :: the Gathering Apron by Sew Liberated.  Made me realized how little sewing I do other than Sparky Jones, so its funny to follow someone elses pattern/rules ~ although a good way to learn other techniques, tips + tricks.  Whats really great about this company is they have video tutorials for the patterns, like who can ever understand a written pattern fully anyways :: not me !! giggle. 
It really is a beautiful apron both on the frontside + backside/lining, I did use top notch fabrics, so it turned out just as delightful, although next time around i'd probably change a couple of ways of doing things so it wouldn't be as fiddly to make ~  ie, stiffer fabric (Ramie is beautifully soft, unironed looking like linen, but quite floppsy), sewing the straps in a different manner + no lining the front pocket.  I have blues in mind for the next one!!
(A big Thanks to my model Miss Lottie Van Jones )
I have a couple more things to make for this birthday package, so i'll show you everything when i'm done!
And onto this weeks lovely assignment ::  The Banks!
I love my Bank, I really do ~ however, I've always wondered if they were the right ones to be doing my businessing with, I have been with them forever with my personal stuff, so it was all to simple to do Sparky with them too.
So i'm just going to investigate + compare 2 other Banks with mine, just to see what else is out there + if i'm in the right place for me.  A lot of monies goes to them over the course of a year, so its good to be financial aware....which is conveniently on my list!!  I'll be posting the results on Friday/Tomorrow  - yippy yo yo its off to the Banks we go ::giggle!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Good Day - Big Grin

Okay my weekend project is still in production mode! ~ all cut out, pintucks sewn + ironed...looking pretty darned good so far! Can't wait to get really stuck into it tomorrow!!(got a couple of other things burning in my mind that I want to get started, like NOW:: giggle)
Anyways, life is always happy when the Mr brings home a pizza sized Apple, Raspberry + Rhubarb Galette from Joy Road Catering plus vanilla icecream (i'm still working on that one too, although I have made better progress on the galette than the project ~ whoops!) but I have to say today things got even better ~ I found something I've been looking for + wanted for a long time!!!
Over the last week I have been visiting some bookeepers + accountants for my businessing needs..and today I have found the number nerd for moi, and this makes me so so so happy. She's a bigtime professional .....but supa funny, really down to earth + what I love about her most, she is 200% passionate about her job - she loves numbers so much I think she could even gobble them up. Most numbering peeps lose me at 'hello', after that i'm daydreaming about fabrics, hat ideas + delectable notions ~ but this one, we talked numbers, spreadsheets, accounting software, business goals, taxes and on + on...and by the end of it, I was pumped with a big grin ready to take on the world with my new love of numbers.
So was I glad that I put in the time to secretly interview numbering folks for a future relationship ~ like only a crazy woman would...yep, you bet ya.  I don't feel completely overwhelmed, I feel excited + I will now have someone in my backpocket to help me when I need it and is as passionate about my business as I am.  Onward + upwards my friends...

Friday, August 16, 2013

This weekend.

Well my Mumma + Pappa will be coming for a visit soon ...and it just so happens that Mumma's birthday is fast approaching too ~ so i'm really needing to get busy on her birthday projects!  She is turning a fantastical number, so I figure this pressie has to be just as special.
I found the perfect pattern in a scrumptious fabric shoppe, way back when we were in Australia (I could have bought the shop out, but lucky the Mr. was there to remind me of how much i already own + love + have at my fingertips)..... but alas, like a true addict I really did need the right fabric to make this project just so ::giggle
And I happened upon the bestest lil rustic gardener combination at my local fabric store (I hardly ever buy brand spanking new fabrics, I prefer to use vintage or preloved fibres with built-in character.... so it was a bit of a rare nice-ity).  A  quality cotton polkadot in neutrals, and  a delectable linen looking fabric that is actually a fibre called Ramie (which is made from a flowering perennial th native to Eastern Asia +  is one of the worlds oldest fibre crops, like 6000 years old ~ interesting fact!)
So this weekend, I shall be snipping + stitching....hoping to get it finished, a few snapshots taken, wrapped and ready to go.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The hunt.

This weeks crazy adventure... is to go on a hunt for a new accountant. Yes I have finally decided that my fear of numbers has never been calmed by my previous accountant. Deer in headlights, stuttering tongue + a stupendously dry mouth are words that come to my mind when I think of being in that tiny room with stale ol' paper + no open windows ~ I've never felt comfortable (more like a teenager about to get into some serious trouble!), what do you know :: I've never really felt comfortable with doing the bookwork!
So a break up is in order :: time to move on + start a fresh, new relationship with numbering peeps that understand the handmade culture (+ lifestyle)
I have a few folks I planning on visiting in the next week - so wish me luck, fingers x'd!

Monday, August 12, 2013

August Overview

Well a touch late ~ but I thought I should let you know what sort of mischief we'll be getting up to each month, like a monthly overview! Its something I need to do for my businessing self each month, so I may aswell share it here too! And the most exciting news is :: I've just done my 1st Sparky Indiepreneur interview, which i'll be sharing with you later in the month - its an smashingly good read, can't wait :)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Till Monday..

Sorry peeps ~ just taking a quick break until Monday.  Gosh dang cooties have left me a bit depleted, so needed a couple o days off to let my fuzzy brain + tired body rejuvenate :).
In the meantime you should have a looksee at this gorgeous lil place, that makes me happy ::

Monday, August 5, 2013

Mood Box.

A while back, I had decided to start a Mood Box, instead of a mood board - bit more tidy + I have a stack of ol' vintage tins that need a job. So along the ways I have been collecting, postcards, labels, stickers, business cards, hangtags...basically anything that catches my fancy!!
As I predicted, there is definitely a few common themes :: which is the perfect way to figure out how you should/want to brand your goodies!! (and keep that creative mind inspired!)
Just thought it was worth a mention now - as a good collection needs time to mature ::giggle.
Happy long weekending Canadians!!
lovely snaphots::
1.  the beautiful asian woman that adorns my Mood Box
2.  the contents
3.  not a bad collection!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Organized Me.

the ol' shipping envelopes ingredients paper eyelets Paper eyelets January income + expense Stacked paper dots Well I figure, if I make things fun, then i'm more likely to do it! This is a project that i've been thinking about for a while...My cute organized Businessing 'income + expense' binder. I'm currently sans binder, as.. do you know how hard it is to find a recycled binder in Canada! I just can't seem to put all my hardwork in a plastic vinyl piece of throw away junk (feel free to email moi if you have a source)
So anyways I've made a start + its perfect timing as the month of August (starting today) is going to be about...
the financials!
About this cute organized Businessing Binder project ::
Well after rummaging through most of my boxes, I found I had an abundant supply of ol shipping + office supplies - so instead of throwing them away + consuming more ~ I got creative! 
The ingredients needed for the job :: 
~ 12 cream coloured file folders - one for each ,month. Bank statements, visa bills, gas mileage sheet, monthly business journal + all other top secret snippets can be hole punched and kept here
~  24 shipping envelopes - 2 for each month, 1 for income + 1 for expenses, all receipts can be filed here in an organized fashion with small clips
~ washi tape....I just really  wanted some + turned out to be the best thing for colour coding
~  my new toy :: a create your own text stamp (love!)
~  geeky cute paper eyelet stickers.
~  one recycled 2" thick binder (to come)
lovely snapshots ::
1.  A stack of my ol' shipping envelopes
2.  All the yummy ingredients used 
3.  Paper eyelets
4.  Shipping envelopes are all binder ready, with 3 punched holes + sturdied up with eyelets
5.  Closer look at my favourite month - january
6.  Washi tape + colour coding
7.  12 months of folders all stacked up ready to go
8.  The theraputic aftermath of hole punching..