A catalyst for change

This mama traded in her life as a business analyst in pursuit of her more creative-side. Because sometimes you just have to go where your passion takes you.

Genie Woo has been my virtual cheerleader for just over a year now. As online "pen pals" -- both trying to navigate the world of running a small business while juggling family -- we hit it off right away. I caught up with the Ottawa-based mom and her family (hubby Ben + four year-old son, Simon) when she was in Toronto recently visiting friends.      

"As a child, I used to imagine myself as an artist or designer. And even though I studied economics in school and worked as a business analyst for many years after that, I always dreamed of following that passion," says Woo of her decision to focus on more creative pursuits after her mat leave in 2014.

Since starting her business, a small Etsy shop selling knit goods and tassel garlands, its evolved into a party shop with more than 300 products including, hand-cut confetti, balloons, party tableware, supplies, and of course, her signature tassel garlands.

Like so many working moms, Genie has limited time to spend with her son Simon. "I'm so lucky he's an understanding boy," she says. "I have strict deadlines to ship out goods to my customers. Sometimes my son sits with me and will draw or play quietly on his own beside me as I work." Her goal as his mom is to show him how to simply be yourself. She models what it means to work hard, manage ones responsibilities, and being passionate about everything he chooses to do.   

Her business is now in a transition phase, moving from a small, personally run online shop, into being able to accommodate larger orders. Next on her to-do list: improve the efficiency of her business and focus on customer service.

So where does this crafting mama see herself in the next five years? "That's easy," she says. "I'll have more of a balance between work and family life; I want to bake more; decorate my house; and travel!"  

Visit Genie Woo on Instagram:  @genwoocraft