An interview with Amber Thompson of Idea Enthusiast.
Describe your business.
That’s a big question for me — I have a few! I’m a Graphic Designer, Professor and Entrepreneur.
My entrepreneur side has two prongs: Design workshops and a handmade home decor business with my Mom (@sweetburrowco).
My workshops are about bringing accessible and affordable design tools and tips to entrepreneurs and aspiring influencers.
What brought you to the region?
I grew up in Trenton, and I’ve always loved the creative energy in the BoQ area. It’s such a supportive and inviting environment with so many new entrepreneurs like myself, so there was no question of where, just when.
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Okay okay you’ve heard about the workshop 101 times but do you know who’s teaching it? Let me tell you. ✨ My name is Amber. I have been a graphic designer for about 7 years, and an idea enthusiast my entire life. I have been working for small companies my entire career which allows me to have my hands in every project. My capabilities span a large range from web design to packaging and everything in between. I’m a maker at heart and love to create with my hands — which is why you’ll see me share my prop building, home and party decor as well! I have a passion for branding, typography and hand lettering. Through the months of May to October you will always catch me in a pair of linen pants. I’m always up for a new creative challenge, with a bob-the-builder attitude. We can fix it! We can do it! . ✨ Let’s make it happen. Code BOSS20 is still up for 20% off tickets to the Design Toolkit Workshop! Tickets in bio. . . . . #letmeintroducemyself #graphicdesigner #graphicdesign #design #bio #bosslady #workshop #yyz #eventbrite @eventbrite @makelemonadeco #makelemonade #learnsomethingnew #toronto #socialmediaqueen #socialmediamarketing #buildingabrand #branding #socialmediaassets #media
What makes Bay of Quinte a good fit for your business?
Residents of BoQ are looking for quality over quantity and looking to support local businesses first. I didn’t feel this was always the case, but when I noticed the shift with the opening of The Brake Room, I knew my ideas and skills would be put to good use here. I think Bay of Quinte is a good fit for any business that is authentic, intelligent, kind and ultimately built with love and passion.
What was the hardest thing about starting a business?
Starting is the hardest part. I had so many ideas of what I could do, how to do it, where, when, etc. I ultimately started with Sweet Burrow Co, which was something my Mom and I talked about for years. Eventually she put her foot on the gas pedal and I went along for the ride.
Once I felt more comfortable in how you start a business (ideas, brainstorm, naming, supplies, etc) I started with my workshops. I booked a meeting room at Make Lemonade in Toronto, sold 7 of 14 tickets and built the workshop after I booked the room. It forced me to get into gear. I knew what I wanted to teach, the touch points and topics, but then figured it out as the workshop day quickly approached.
That’s my style I guess: Hesitate, hesitate, DIVE HEAD FIRST, learn how to swim.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs in the area?
Not every idea is gold. Do your market research, ask people, observe and identify the crossover between what you’re passionate about (because you’re going to work long hours to make this idea work) and what the public needs or is missing.
Even small crafters need to be aware of this. There are certain markets that are saturated in the area, and you [need a] way of differentiating yourself from the crowd.
What surprised you about starting a business in a smaller community?
The welcoming committee. Not a literal one, of course, but when I put the idea out to Hello Boss Girl, Kerry, to bring my workshop here, she was delighted and we sold out the tickets within a week or two.
With Sweet Burrow Co, we started doing a few small craft shows and the welcoming advice from all the makers was astounding. It wasn’t about SELLING at every show, we ended up loving them because we met other like-minded and amazing makers.
The saying “A rising tide lifts all boats” truly applies to this community of makers and entrepreneurs.
Describe your perfect day off.
Attending a craft show — retail therapy of the best kind. I love discovering new shops and businesses. I don’t get those kinds of days very often so I find myself fitting in these discovery times while I’m on to the next item on my to-do list.
What’s your secret to surviving winter?
Staying inside. Vitamin D. Vacation. I’m not a winter person at all. I would be happy living next to the sun. It’s something I’m working on, loving all seasons as they are. No success yet, but embracing the Hygge of things is helping — if only slightly.
If you were to have one word tattooed on you, what would it be?
Oof, just one word? Hmm. Persevere is the first word that comes to mind. I tend to get caught up in what is going wrong, and that sometimes blocks my drive to push forward. I think this would be a great reminder for me to focus on what is going right and keep going.