Spotlight_Vol 23_Issue_3

By 2019, MacNeil noticed more people wearing her brand. With a lot of family and community support, she was able to sell her products in a couple of shops in In - verness and Brook Village. In 2020 when the pandemic hit, she thought this could be the end of her brand. She was very conscious about her spending and how many items she ordered in the spring for summer markets. But with the lockdowns, there was uncertainty of how much product she would need to order and if she would be able to sell it. That would all change with the help of one customer. On Christmas 2019, Mary Janet MacDonald purchased a large order of hoodies for her grandkids. Unaware of her background, MacNeil decided to gift MacDonald with an apron as a thank you for her order. Little did she know Mary Janet MacDonald would wear that apron on the launch of her online cooking show ‘Tunes and Wood - en Spoons’ during the pandemic in the spring of 2020. MacDonald grew a large social media following, so this bright red apron with MacNeil’s Cape Breton Crew logo became popular very quickly. MacNeil went from the usual 20-item orders to ordering hundreds. She shipped them across Canada and the United States.

Unwind with us and explore Cape Breton’s South Coast

“Everything fell into place in a way that it was almost like a movie. It was amazing. I didn’t know all the steps, but I’m not afraid to ask the questions.”

2375 Highway 206, Arichat Nova Scotia, B0E 1A0 902-226-2200

In June of 2020, MacNeil and her husband moved back to Cape Breton for the summer and worked re - motely. Due to the pandemic, the Mabou Farmer’s Market decided to open with tight restrictions and very few vendors. MacNeil took the opportunity to work as a full-time vendor that summer which made a huge differ - ence for her brand. Being a regular vendor and always ensuring high-quality products was noticed by regular marketgoers, and they got to know her personally in the process. With overall online shopping increasing during the pandemic, her online store started picking up as well. By the summer of 2021, more people were travelling and attending markets. MacNeil launched her Coast - al Collection, which brought fresh, bright colours and more of that Cape Breton familiarity to her customers. From mid-October to the end of December, MacNeil’s brother-in-law was available to work a pop-up store for her while she continued her full-time job at Dalhou - sie University. She worked in the pop-up store on the weekends, which turned out to be a remarkably suc - cessful venture. MacNeil decided to launch a Makers and Bakers Pop-up weekend series at the store. This would highlight local bakers and help showcase their products. The Makers and Bakers launch also result - ed in local customers coming back to the store to see

something new and exciting on a regular basis. After a successful pop-up store, MacNeil was ready to start considering a permanent location. She had her heart set on a location in Inverness, her bookkeeping company was willing to go the extra mile in helping her work on a business plan. After months of planning, figuring out finances, and trying to locate the building owner, the right connections led her to secure the build - ing. The previous owner loved her plans for the store. Her brand, quality, and inclusion of other local artisans sealed the deal for him to sell to her. “Most of my professional advisors throughout all of this have been women, and absolutely stellar, incredible people.”

“There’s a story that goes with each of these products”





Made with FlippingBook. PDF to flipbook with ease