From Dreaming to Doing
Dream, believe, achieve—these five Bay of Quinte entrepreneurial spirits have done all three.
This group inspires us with their journeys from dreaming to doing, sharing a little insight into the how and, most importantly, the why. By the sounds of it, they have zero regrets—which bodes well for those of us who are teetering on the edge of that leap of faith. It helps to realize that there is actually room for everyone, despite the common scarcity mindset that convinces many people otherwise. Opportunity is limitless—a good motto to write on a sticky note and consult whenever self-doubt starts to creep in.
There is a seemingly endless list of Bay of Quinte businesses making it work, so our only question for those in doubt is “Well, why not you?”
SHAMSA AND KALTUM HASSAN
Our passion for slow, intentional beauty was sparked by our grandmother, mom and aunts, who passed ancient beauty rituals from our Somali culture down to us. Growing up, our mom used honey and olive oil on the skin for their anti-aging properties and would make harrud, a skin-brightening mask made with crushed turmeric. Every Sunday afternoon we did our beauty rituals—it was how we spent time together, and it taught us about the art of replenishing and taking care of oneself. Some of the happiest times, and the most important lessons, came from our weekly afternoon pampering sessions with the matriarchs in our family. When we were developing our skincare line, our goal was to share the transformative power of turning a mundane routine into a treasured ritual like the one we experienced growing up. We meticulously source high-quality ingredients, which we blend and infuse by hand into botanical formulas intentionally designed to elevate your everyday wellness routine.
BLACK BARN CO.
ASHLEY LOUGH AND SHALAGH ELLIOTT
Black Barn started as a roadside stand at our home north of Napanee where I sold our farm-fresh eggs, artisanal bread and cookies baked from scratch. I loved baking but knew I wanted something more. Terrified, I decided to take the leap into an online home décor and lifestyle product shop, as design and decor is my true passion. I am a full-time correctional officer, and this was a creative outlet that balanced the stress of that role. After a few months online, a brick-and-mortar space was next on my to-do list. In the meantime, I found a business partner in Shalagh Elliott of Shalagh Elliott Design—she was the perfect match. I had my eye on 17 Market Square in Napanee, which was rented at the time. But then it unexpectedly fell into our laps, and after six months of renovations we opened our boutique and design studio space. We sell predominantly Canadian-made products, featuring many local artists and makers.
THE COTTAGE BY CALLISTO
MEGHAN AND ALEX CALLISTO
We are a husband, wife and pup trio who love to travel and share new experiences with each other, our friends and our family. We have been visiting the Bay of Quinte since 2015 and fell in love with the laid-back atmosphere, friendly people and amazing selection of activities to enjoy. We couldn’t think of a better place to start our accommodations venture! In 2021, we purchased our first property in Brighton and created The Cottage by Callisto. We’ve carefully curated the space to feature small businesses and local makers, with hand-picked decor and furnishings—and even a custom-made guide map showcasing all of our favourite places—to enhance our guests’ experience in our home. Since becoming hosts, we are very excited to have the opportunity to share what we enjoy about the area and its excellent local businesses with our guests.
SHE’S HIGH ON VIBES
I am a professional life coach, artist, reiki practitioner, face/body painter and hula hooper, and a proud Indigenous woman and mother. A few years ago I found myself struggling. Life had not been easy, and I let past trauma create a reality I did not enjoy living. I found healing in culture, connection, mindfulness, energy work, movement and creative projects. My passion is to support others while they create a life they love, and to share creative projects that inspire action, change, healing, connection and love in our community. I now offer a safe and brave space for others to do the same, with no judgment or expectations. At my studio in downtown Belleville, I offer unique classes and workshops that encourage a healthy mind by exploring healthy habits through childlike, intuitive play. She’s High on Vibes is all about sharing love, joy, energy, creativity, connection and culture with my community and beyond.
SMALL SCALE BREAD
ROB THOMAS AND SARAH WILLIAMS
Small Scale Bread was born out of necessity rather than any plan to open a bakery. We craved the kind of bread we’d had on trips to places like San Francisco and Copenhagen, and we wanted to replicate it at home. We had dabbled in sourdough baking at home, but it had been a good few years since we’d had an active sourdough culture on the go. Luckily, making a new sourdough starter is a simple process that requires little more than some good flour, filtered water and a jar to store it in. Once word got out that we were making bread, we were soon selling our sourdough loaves out of our pals’ place, The Brake Room. Even though our business kept growing, and we now have a physical location—where we offer a variety of sourdough bread, pastries, specialty coffee, craft beer, natural wines and a selection of fun housewares—we remain fairly small scale, just how we like it.