We’ve met a lot of inspiring women since kicking off the Whole Family Happiness Project. Entrepreneurs, artists, innovators, creators, activists — all moms — have shared their stories of, and inspirations for, leading a purposeful life.
We revisited the WFH archives to bring you 6 of our favourite mompreneurs, who, each in their own way, are striving to make a difference. Revisit their excellence below, and get familiar with all our Parents with Purpose at Whole Family Happiness.
1. Indigenous Harvester Leigh Joseph
A combination of traditional Indigenous knowledge and a degree in ethnobotany led Leigh Joseph to create The Wild Botanicals, a gorgeous line of hand-harvested, small batch beauty products that pay homage to her Squamish roots. Currently based in Dawson City with her husband and two kids, Joseph is growing her business while completing a PhD. “One of the most important things is to listen to the instinct within you for something that you are passionate about,” she says about starting a business. “Don’t be too quick to push it aside in the name of all the other things going on in our busy lives.”
2. Tradition Connector Lori McCarthy
Through her outdoor adventure business, Cod Sounds, Lori McCarthy uses lessons in the traditions and culture of local food to build appreciation for, and encourage preservation of, Newfoundland’s natural resources. We push these messages to recycle, reuse, take only pictures and leave only footprints, but in my grandfather’s time that was just how it was,” she says of the importance of forging a connection to the land. “We just learned those things passively through being in the woods, picking berries, being in nature. Doing this teaches you a fierce connection to, and appreciation for, what we have.”
3. Eco Entrepreneur Justine McKnight
After the birth of her second son Justine McKnight — always the entrepreneur — noted a lack of Canadian-made eco-friendly, lightweight, and modern baby wraps so she created her own. Human + Mother, is her line of eco-friendly baby wraps made of sustainable beechwood fibre milled in Ontario. “We get told all the time that nothing is impossible,” she says. “But I think it all comes back to belief in yourself and whatever makes your heart call out.”
4. Makeover Mama Maria Velve
When her youngest son developed eczema makeup artist Maria Velve started questioning the products she used on her clients. Now through her company Marvellous You she specializes in teaching busy moms the art of green beauty, namely effortless — and ethical — makeup application. For those looking to update their makeup bag with newer, more natural options Velve has this advice, “Think first about the things you’re putting on the largest area, such as skincare and foundation. Concentrate on your biggest real estate and then add little things after that.”
5. Social Architect Hijab Mitra
Born in India, educated in England, and settled in Winnipeg since 2005, architect Hijab Mitra knows there is more to buildings than bricks and mortar. Through her firm, Mistecture, Mitra takes on projects that benefit their communities — mainly large scale housing and educational builds. Their first project was Marie Rose Place, affordable housing that serves single female immigrants and provides refuge to those feeling abuse. For Mitra it’s very important to get to make a difference through her work. “ I like helping people fulfill their purpose,” she says. “I’m fortunate to be able to have this job where I can serve other people in this way.”
6. Mystery Maker Suzanne Matczuk
Through her business, Mail Order Mystery, Suzanne Matczuk uses a series of letters to guide kids through a mystery they need to solve. With her fresh-take on storytelling Matczuk has built a booming business that employs eight employees, all from a table in her dining room — and she’s proud of what she’s accomplished, even if success can be overwhelming at times. “The parts of it that are hard I wouldn’t trade away,” she says. “I’ve surprised myself a lot, I’m in unknown territory and am getting a lot more confident and constantly learning how to do things the best way. It is very satisfying.”
Robyn McNeil is a Nova Scotia-based freelance writer, bartender, and assistant editor of the Whole Family Happiness Project. She lives in Halifax, with her son and a penchant for really strong tea, yoga, hammocks, and hoppy beer.
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The Whole Family Happiness Project is a group of moms exploring our connection to our individual purpose, our family happiness, and the happiness of the world around us. Come join us on Facebook.