Here she shares some of her thoughts and experiences of being a Yukonstruct member, an artist, and an entrepreneur.
Why did you join Yukonstruct?
I was working out of a great shop in Saskatoon before moving up, really enjoying the community and shared space environment. Particularly because Den Designs was my only job before moving to the Yukon, and I lacked an office or work social life. I had heard great things were happening up in the Yukon and could not wait to check out Yukonstruct. I think I toured the space day 2 of being in the Yukon and Lana sold me on it instantly – signed up right then and there! Yukonstruct is an impressive space with lovely, helpful people in a positive and supportive environment.
What has been your favourite project so far?
Wood prints using my own photography is the main focus of my business and my primary income for the business. When I had more space and a backyard, I loved making industrial and wood tables using a mixture of plumbing pipes and reclaimed wood. Working out of Yukonstruct and seeing what others are making, I now know that once I have some more time freed up, I can get back into making these larger items and am really looking forward to it!
What advice do you have for other makers in the Yukon?
I am new to the Yukon so cannot speak directly to this market yet, but, I would say that any maker really needs to be open to learning from others. Mentorship is key! I have been very fortunate in my life to have gone to school with, and connected with, other entrepreneurs along the way. It is great to hear from others’ experience and gleam knowledge where you can. So far, I can tell that the Yukon is a unique place, filled with very talented makers, artists, and entrepreneurs alike. I feel very blessed to be here and cannot wait to meet like-minded folks and explore collaboration and partnership opportunities.
What inspires you to make things?
I started Den Designs in 2017, following the loss of my father Dennis to a rare cancer. He had given me his hand tools and I used them to create these prints and other home decor pieces as a means of coping with the grief during the time I spent caring for him while he was sick. After he passed, I continued to create these prints and other artful pieces using my own photography and designs and selling them to friends and other folks. Within the first year, my art was sold at 10 retail locations, now going into my third year of business, you can find Den Designs in over 25 retail locations in Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and now the Yukon. We donate 10% of every sale to western Canadian cancer patient lodges, supporting those undergoing cancer treatment in honour and in memory of my later father, Dennis.
What are you working on now?
Den Designs is business as usual, I work most evenings and weekends at Yukonstruct to create prints for my retailers and other customers. And this summer, our first ever storefront is opening at Carcross Commons and we cannot wait to share the space with Yukon Built! We are very busy prepping for a very busy summer ahead! Come on down to our shop this summer, located right beside the Bistro!