Inspiration can really come from unexpected places. Therese Bombardier finds hers in antique stores or second hand shops. As the head, heart, and hands behind Therese Bombardier Designs, she prefers to take something old and use it to create something new. By imprinting clay with antique doilies and lace, she creates elegant patterns for ceramic jewellery and functional housewares. As a member of the growing Halifax, Canada, maker movement, this one-woman-show knows what it takes to turn a craft into a thriving small business.

WHERE DID THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR BUSINESS COME FROM?

Entrepreneurship runs in my family and I always got excited thinking of the possibilities for my own business. I’ve also always been interested in art and the environment and working with my hands. So, after my job with an environmental NGO was ending in 2012, I was accepted into a government program that helps people start their own business. I love creating things out of discarded and found materials, so this business allowed me to work full-time on these interests and offer the world tangible creations.

Therese Bombardier

Therese Bombardier

WHAT IS YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH?

Therese Bombardier Designs hand crafts elegant ceramic jewellery and functional housewares in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The designs for my original imprinted earrings, pendants, tumblers, mugs, and vases are inspired by my personal collection of doilies and lace.

WHAT IS THE BEST LESSON YOU’VE LEARNED THUS FAR?

Be flexible, inventive, and positive. It’s much easier said than done, but things aren’t always going to work out the way you planned. So, instead of letting obstacles get you down, look at it from a few different angles and be creative – there’s always more than one solution.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST SUCCESS?

Being able to support myself financially from my business has been my biggest success.

WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN?

I’ve been blessed with so much good advice from peers, family members, and mentors, but my oldest brother who is also an artist and business owner said, “Therese there will always be fires to put out.” It makes me laugh, but it was a huge reality check. He was telling me to not get stuck on the failures or obstacles, as they will keep coming up. You just have to move past them. Be creative and look for other options and solutions. It’s also definitely important to have a vision for your business. A business plan can help achieve that vision, but you have to keep in mind that your business is a fluid, flexible thing that will constantly change and morph as the business grows.

IF YOU COULD GO BACK TO THE BEGINNING, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOURSELF?

Always be on top of your accounting and bookkeeping! I’m better at this now, but when I started it was hard to figure out exactly how to organize everything. Taking advice from other business savvy people helped make it easier. I’d also remind myself to be confident and not let my fear get in the way of trying something new.

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?

Aside from expanding my reach in stores across Canada, I am developing new work that marries my love of photography with ceramics to create beautiful, new functional wares for the home. I’m also working on creating new patterns and textures that will appeal to a broader audience. Developing new ways to create more environmentally sustainable methods and practices is also top of mind. Mostly, I want to continue to learn and grow as a business owner and human in this world.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This has been another great example of an entrepreneur who has learned to turn obstacles into opportunities, and handmade products into a successful business. Some other great lessons that we can all learn from Therese’s experience are to be confident, overcome the fear, and do your bookkeeping! Thanks so much to Therese and best of luck!