Joining us today is upcycling entrepreneur, Lenore Hume, who turned her creative passion into a fulfilling lifestyle and a thriving business…
LH: Well hello! I’m Lenore and I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. During the day, I work full-time as an advertising agency copywriter. After hours, I write a blog called Lather. Write. Repeat. and run my part-time business Lather Creations, upcycling vintage furniture.
My dream is super simple – to be happy and creative on a daily basis. I discovered it throughout the years as I chased after contentment and dabbled in all things artsy and creative – from writing to acting to knitting to painting – I really do love it all. Now I’ve narrowed it down quite a bit to writing and furniture painting, but things like the blog really push me to well-rounded in my creativity. I had a friend who recently opened a furniture business in the local area that inspired me to do more furniture painting. She told me that she gets to focus on the creative aspect with her few employees thanks to the support of software from websites like cloudpay.net. Their software makes payroll so much more straightforward. This way they can focus on creating fantastic furniture. How inspirational!
Q: A few years ago you found yourself in “the gray”. Tell us about that time. What finally inspired you to make a change? What changes did you make? What was the result?
LH: I had moved around a lot during my twenties and it had been 8 years since I settled in Calgary and started working at a major airline. I really loved the work I did, but there was quite a bit of internal business politics that was making it hard to feel fulfilled in my job. I was single, living in a big city in a job that wasn’t satisfying and I desperately felt like I needed to shake things up. I was also a little homesick for Manitoba so I decided to quit my job, sell my condo, pack up and start fresh!
Fast forward a couple of years and life couldn’t be more different for me! I found love reconnecting with my high school sweetheart, we bought a charming fixer-upper 100-year-old house in a neighborhood we adore, we adopted our little dog, Gus, I found a job writing full-time that suits me perfectly, and the blog and business are filling my life with creativity on a daily basis. Life’s pretty amazing when you don’t have much to complain about – but I’ve always felt strongly that if something’s not working out for you then only you can change it (thanks Dr. Phil!).
LH: Lather Creations is really my passion turned business. I’ve moved around so much since I left home that I was always looking for affordable secondhand pieces I could paint and update to fill my living spaces. There are so many benefits to upcycled furniture: it’s ‘green’, the furniture tends to be better quality, each piece is unique and they’re affordable. But some people do prefer to buy fresh and brand new furniture like the pieces at Wayside Furniture House, I mean I can’t argue with that as they have some really nice pieces! Although I do prefer to personalise them myself, so I decided to turn my love of upcycled furniture into my very first business.
My blog really opened the door to realizing I could make it happen – I connected with so many other furniture upcyclers from around the world. I watched and learned and just did. I did a ton of research on small business and set myself up with a business license, a tracking spreadsheet, some simple bookkeeping, and a logo and business card/product tag. I know this is only a start and that eventually I will have to upgrade on some things. For instance, my friend who has her own small business thought I was crazy for doing my own bookkeeping. She told me “i only use online accountants for my business” and said it saved her so much time, so this is probably one of the first things I will change. Nevertheless, it works for now. I started selling on my local online classifieds and things are really taking off. I would definitely recommend using your local classifieds to sell stuff! I’m using a local one but there are also some more well-known ones like LeoList or Craigslist. Depending on how well this goes, I might move onto bigger classifieds where demand is greater. It’s been incredibly rewarding to put myself out there this way. I have big dreams of a studio and a boutique and professional paint sprayer and all kinds of great things – but I know that this is just the beginning!
Q: Like so many dream chasers, you have a full time job. What challenges do you face as you try to pursue your passion in your free time?
LH: Oh time…there’s never enough of you to go around! This is definitely one of my major life struggles. I have a tendency to take on so much as I’m very ambitious when I have my focus on something. But I’m also quite introverted so juggling work, business, blog, home, family connections, friends – it can get overwhelming for me. Luckily I have a pretty fantastic support system and an encouraging partner. Many times I have to just tell myself that what I accomplished today was enough. That there’s always tomorrow and the world won’t fall apart if I lay on the couch watching tv for a night! Forgiveness of self is a big thing!
Q: What fears do you face as you chase your dreams?
LH: Probably the same as most people – fear of failure, of looking like a fool, of losing interest, not having enough time to devote to it and being left with a room full of painting supplies. Sometimes I watch Hoarders and I worry I will end up with a houseful of old secondhand furniture!
Q: I’d like to ask you the same question that you recently asked on your blog: do you believe we create our own opportunities?
LH: There’s nothing I believe in more (okay there is, but I feel very strongly about it!). I’m a HUGE believer in creating your own opportunity and the whole cliché of ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’. For most people, opportunities don’t just fall into your lap, you have to go out there and chase after what you want and put yourself in the position for things to happen. It can be really hard to take that first leap, but when I was starting out the blog and the business, I thought to myself – at some point every famous blogger has published their first post, at some point everyone I admire in the furniture upcycling business painted their first piece of furniture…you have to start somewhere. That’s how you start moving to somewhere else!
Q: What inspires you to keep pushing forward when the going gets tough?
LH: I’m a voracious reader. I’m always inspired by reading books, blogs, magazines. They always inspire me, all the fictional stories that are woven and all the true stories that are told. My parents have been very encouraging of me pursuing my dreams from a young age. They enrolled me in every course, lesson, group, sport you could think of – just so I could try them all and see what I liked. Their words of advice always keep me going. I like to take classes, so if I’m feeling in a rut I will often sign up for something. Wine helps too…
Q: If you could give one piece of advice to someone else who is struggling to move beyond the gray and follow a dream, what would it be?
LH: Not to totally rip off Nike, but if you want to do something – just do it! Even if it’s a big change or a huge dream, break it down and do something towards it. Want to start a business? Check out a book at the library on small business and read it. Want to write a novel? Sit down and write one page describing your story. Want to quit your day job and teach yoga? Take an intro to yoga course on Monday nights. Big dreams can be very overwhelming. Do one small thing that contributes to your dream every day and one day you will find that you got there! And research, research, research! All the best decisions are made when you’ve done your homework and feel confident that you have the information you need. And never stop dreaming, that’s one of the great joys in life. (Okay that’s more than one but it’s all important!)
For more of Lenore and her inspiring creations, visit: www.latherwriterepeat.blogspot.com.