If you want to find Chris Llewellyn, your best bet – most days – is to knock on her garage door. That’s where the Orangeville resident spends much of her time creating rustic home dÃ©cor items for a national distributor.
“As anyone who has a small business knows, there’s no such thing as a nine-to-five job. It really is an all consuming thing,” she said of her home-based business. “I was told by many people, it would never get this big. … It far exceeded our expectations.”
Llewellyn and her husband, Dan, first started making their own home dÃ©cor items several years ago – when they were living in Brampton – as a way to save some money. Then they decided to start selling these items at craft shows to bring in a little extra money to help pay for family vacations.
“I’ve always had that artistic, creative side to me,” said Chris.
Then, a few years later, she lost her job at a software company and the craft business took on a more central role.
“After we had our second son, I was out on maternity leave, and found out my job, based out of a U.S. company, was gone,” said the 40-year-old. “We had some decisions to make about income.”
Back then the business was mainly centred on rustic looking, hand-painted signs with interesting or amusing sayings – such as changing the toilet does not cause brain damage –dreamed up by Chris. In all, they produced a few dozen items per show including totes, wooden blocks, as well as seasonal decorations.
The craft show circuit was going fairly well, says Chris, but things really took off around 2004.
“One of my suppliers asked me if I would be interested in letting her distribute … the rest is history,” said Chris. “Five years later, we’re distributing across Canada.”
Photo by darlamw