Today (March 8) is International Women's Day - a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
IDH is a proudly female-run business, with Marnie Warman at the helm, and a talented team of women (and men!) working together to add value to our customers shopping experience.
While reflecting on the significance of the day, Marnie recalls the challenges female business owners and professionals were faced when she first opened her doors over 30 years ago. At the time she was a busy realtor in Oakville/Burlington, raising her two boys, and pursuing a passion for interior design in her downtime (whatever "downtime" is, for a working mom). She admits that earning respect as a female realtor, and interior designer wasn't as difficult as convincing banks/landlords/suppliers to support her as an independent business owner. And setting aside those challenges of starting the business, what about managing it while raising kids? Or maintaining a marriage? A social life?
Marnie recalls, "The mental load of family responsibilities, coupled with the stress of running a business, all the while not showing weakness, was hard. It's still hard! Even though my boys are grown, my life is still busy and the overwhelming role of business-owner often takes over."
And she fully acknowledges that she was not the only woman running a business in Burlington at the time, and that she shares the struggle of the female entrepreneur juggling act with her peers. In that spirit, when asked to name women in the Burlington business community that inspire her, she didn't hesitate to acknowledge the hard work and success of three women in particular, noting that the continued success of their respective businesses is due to the fact that they are women, not in spite of it.
"Not only do these women run successful businesses, but they all have a passion for what they do, and serving their customers - be it a cupcake, Lobster Ravioli, or the perfect MOH outfit. I support them as much for their products/service as I do because they are all good people. And that's what we need to do - support one another's success, so that we have more women encouraged to follow their dream, knowing they have people in their corner," shares Marnie.
Kathy MacFarlane, Owner of The Oyster - "Kathy opened The Oyster close to 40 years ago (wow!), and I admire her positive energy and passion for making people feel good in their clothes. Knowing that running a business for so long brings joy and frustrations, I respect that she has stayed true to her brand and remained relevant in a changing market. It's tough!"
Kelly Childs, Owner of Kelly's Bake Shoppe/Author - "Kelly is an inspiration not solely for her amazing business mind, but for the love she shows her community and customers. She genuinely wants people to be happy and healthy. Her heart is invested in Burlington, as demonstrated through her ongoing advocacy of the downtown Burlington culture. Plus, the decor of Kelly's Bake Shoppe is as lovely as she is!"
Nicky Leonelli, Owner of Di'Mario's Trattoria - "I have been a fan of Nicky's since Di'Mario's was in Oakville. She is smart, resilient and an excellent chef. What makes the restaurant stand out is Nicky - her passion and commitment to customer service filters from the top down. She cares to get to know her patrons, taking the time to learn names and come out to say hello when you visit. It makes a meal at Di'Marios extra special."
Marnie's message to women considering starting their own business: the tremendous satisfaction and pride that comes from owning and running your own successful business is second to none. Yes, it is so much work, and will likely take over your life. Yes, it may be a risk financially, and there may be sacrifices. But if you have a passion and are driven to create something all your own, don’t let any of this, or any person deter you from achieving your goal. The end result will be so worth it.