Q1: What do you and why did you decide to work for yourself?
Helium and air-filled decor for all occasions, weddings/birthdays/graduations/retirement, school events etc. I have worked with balloon decor for over 14 years. For 12 of those years I was employed at a local party store with 2 wonderful women who owned the business. With the store closing its doors and our youngest leaving home for a great school opportunity, I decided to start my own a small business with balloons.
Q2: Being an entrepreneur is one thing, but being a woman of colour entrepreneur navigating a predominantly male-dominated terrain can bring forth some "interesting" obstacles. How do you break these barriers down?
To start, for the past 32 years I have been navigating a predominately male-dominated terrain in my household. Lol I feel this has been preparing me and has been quite beneficial for me and my business. I have met a few challenges, but on a smaller scale. Don’t get me wrong larger barriers are still out there and are very visible. I’ve just chosen to tackle them with a different, but stronger perception and tact.
Q3: As entrepreneurs, (especially artists) we have to invest in ourselves. This investing goes above and beyond the monetary. How do you invest in yourself? How do you ensure your business' biggest asset (you) is well-taken care of?
I’ve just started back into investing in myself as far as my physical self. Before life happened big for me, with a family, and I was a dance and aerobics instructor. It’s amazing how much time you have on your hands once your children have discovered their own life path. The enjoyment of watching my boys grow, play football and live their dream is the most fulfilling investment for me. Although this was a huge part, I did find some time for myself to recharge. I’m just learning again on how to invest in my well-being and it’s a very calm and freeing feeling.
Q4: What advice do you have for other women entrepreneurs out there looking to do the same?
At first, I thought I was crazy to want to try a business at this stage in my life. I remember in my younger years dreaming about owning my own dance studio because I loved dance so much. Then the thought would quickly diminish with the unkind dark cloud of feeling lesser than. A female and a woman of colour at that. I truly don’t know how my mother did it with five kids. She is my female super hero and I was very fortunate to have such a strong-willed mom who taught me that I could be whatever I put my mind and efforts to. Woman of colour or not! I’ve also been inspired by my niece, Chelene Knight, who just put herself out there and just went for it. She has brought an incredible amount of pride, confidence and self-worth to the women of this family and many other women. My advice to any other women wanting to step out into their own business, is that the fear of the unknown, the what ifs, the unsureness will fade with each step. Don’t let anyone define you into their molds or visions of how you should be. You are driving this bus!
Q5: One minute of fame time! Tell us anything and everything. Promote yourself, we are listening!
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Virginia Jacobsen is wife to an amazing husband, mother of two, successful second year in business. She enjoys dancing, chocolate, and a good sense of humour.