I have been fired five times.
It’s not a fact I’m proud of or one I'm excited to share, but it’s a key part of my story. To be honest, I just wasn’t that great of an employee. I constantly felt like I was doing everything wrong, and I questioned every decision I made. Working in an office made me miserable.
I spent years feeling like I had some fatal flaw. Why couldn’t I make this work? Everyone around me seemed to have figured it out. I really did try. From the age of 20 to 30, I had 11 full-time jobs. The ones I wasn’t let go from, I left because I was constantly searching for the right fit and moving on to what I hoped would be “the one.”
Eventually, I became a stay-at-home mom, and I did love it. But when I had my second baby, postpartum depression took over. Fear and anxiety controlled me, and I had trouble finding happiness in just about anything. When my son was 20 months old, I had my third baby, and at that point, I knew something was wrong. I saw my doctor and got the help I needed, but I was still feeling lost. My husband travelled extensively for work, and I felt like I was in an endless cycle of nursing, cooking and cleaning.
As my kids grew, so did my desire to do something for myself that would bring me happiness and purpose. I didn’t want to have a corporate job, but I also didn’t want to be a full-time mom and housewife. Don’t get me wrong, both are very important and respectful ways to spend your life! But I was determined to find a way to do it all. I wanted to feed my creativity, make some money, and still be there for my kids.
It began almost accidentally when I bought an old wood desk from an online marketplace and decided to give it a makeover with a fresh coat of paint. Those few hours that I spent on the driveway working away while my kids napped brought me indescribable happiness. Just me, a paintbrush and the sunshine. That desk got a beautiful facelift, and so did my soul.
After that, I painted anything I could get my hands on. I scoured the streets on garbage night for cool furniture, rummaging through thrift stores and online sales. I would post my refinished pieces on my social media pages, proud to share this newfound creativity and excited to see the compliments rolling in. People loved my projects! I felt appreciated and talented, and it was such a foreign feeling. Pretty soon people were asking if I would sell the furniture I was making over, and my little business was born.
For five years I taught myself everything I possibly could about making over furniture as I painted on the driveway, on the dining table, and in the family room watching Netflix while my kids slept. If I had a free moment, I had a paintbrush in my hand. Our house was bursting at the seams, driving my husband crazy, but he also saw that I had found something I loved.
I am the kind of person who is always searching for the next exciting adventure, and in 2017 I found myself dreaming of a little shop filled with beautifully painted pieces and a messy little studio where I could create. I found the perfect spot, signed a lease, and in October of that year, I officially opened Trendos Interiors.
The weary mom who picked up a paintbrush years earlier had officially turned a hobby into a job. My little shop is celebrating five years this month, and I have filled that time and space with painting, creating, and sharing my passion with others. I went from someone who couldn’t hold down a job to owning a business. I went from feeling flawed and ashamed to feeling accomplished and proud.
Less than a year after opening, I outgrew my space, and I moved into a location twice the size on Main Street in town. I now have a paint studio, and a store where I sell my painted pieces, a line of furniture paint, candles, gifts and home decor. I offer classes to teach others how to makeover their own pieces, and I have a staff of four amazing women who work with me.
During Covid, when I was forced to close the physical doors of the shop, I spent three weeks building a website and moving every item in my inventory online. I started offering online shopping with curbside pick up, shipping across Canada and free delivery within town. My sales tripled, and my business thrived.
Gone are the days of feeling inadequate and incompetent. I might not have been very good at working for someone else’s business, but I am killing it when it comes to running my own! In the end, there wasn’t anything wrong with me. It’s AMAZING to be different and carve out your own path. My favourite part of the past ten years has been showing my kids you can create a life - and a career - that you love. If my kids want to climb the corporate ladder, I will support them every rung of the way. But if they want to dream beyond that, I will be their biggest cheerleader.
A friend and I were talking recently about our “mom bods” and how difficult it can be to love ourselves as we age and change. She refuses to let it get to her and said, “If I put on a pair of pants that don’t fit, I just put on a different pair of pants!”
That sentence landed hard with me, and I realized that it can be applied to so much more than just clothes. The traditional path of a degree and a desk job didn’t fit me. So, I tried on something else instead! There is such beauty in the idea that we have choices. Society taught me that I was expected to follow a certain path, and when that path didn’t work for me, I felt like a failure for a long time.
I wasted years feeling like I was getting it all wrong when in reality, I was just trying to force myself into a pair of pants that didn’t fit.