In Celebration of the Mom Entrepreneur (Part 2)
Some parents talk to their kids about environmental stewardship; others live a life that allows their children to see these values being applied. I’d say Siobhan Barker falls into the latter category except that it wouldn’t quite be an accurate statement. You see she didn’t so much fall there as much as she chose to be there very deliberately; lots of us start out the day with high ideals, this mom entrepreneur stays the course adhering to her principles even in the face of difficult challenges. She is an inspiration to all of us for living life the way she does, out loud, on purpose and in tune with what she believes. So hats off to Siobhan for showing the rest of us that operating an environmentally sustainable, local business can be done. The quality of her hand-crafted crocheted hats and her creative use of repurposed materials makes them a great choice for consumers wanting to spend their dollars wisely on products that are beautiful and made with environmental savvy. When asked what values she thought her son was picking up from witnessing her work as a mom entrepreneur Siobhan said, “He has grown waaaay more conscientious about ethical choices as a consumer.”
Her hats, cards, and pouches are sold under the name Mama Says: Put A Hat On! They can be purchased on line, at local craft fairs and in some specialty shops including the North Vancouver Community Arts Council Gift Shop. Amongst the many styles available she has designed a hat called the “Super-Slouch” that is “7 styles in ONE”. It can be made to order with monochrome, stripes, textured and smooth yarns. Her work often incorporates Adinkra designs which are African symbols indicating a variety concepts, words and meanings. Of these symbols Siobhan says, “I have created an original combination Adinkra symbol that bridges a message of Justice, Creativity, Ingenuity & Patience on the newly developed men’s hat line. This new Adinkra combo symbol can be custom tailored to the colours of a business or personal preference.”
To date Siobhan is the only person I know who has had a crochet related injury; for the details on how it happened you can check out the story on her website. While there you can see her most recent collection of hats and bookmark the page so that you can return to it later to see updates as they are added. The site also includes a story about how she was inspired to return to crocheting while visiting her father in the hospital as he suffered through dementia, injury and illness. Putting family first is another thing Siobhan does very well. While sitting at her father’s bedside she took the setback in stride; cherished the remaining moments she had with him; taught herself to crochet again and developed a hobby that she would later turn into a business to support herself and her son. Siobhan is a not only a single working mother, but is a singular model of what the human spirit can accomplish when it sings out in a voice that simply must be heard. If Mama Says Put A Hat On!, people do. When asked what advice she might be able to give would-be mom entrepreneurs Siobhan said, “Basically- you can do it, you’re a MOM which is super (with or without a cape and tights)!”
When setbacks happen in life sometimes hearing about people who have overcome their challenges can inspire us all to hope for a better day. Students who may be facing their own setbacks will find a supportive crew to help them in Laetare’s many qualified tutors. Please check out their profiles today and if you feel so inclined, share a link our website and to “Mama Says Put A Hat On”. Help spread the word; there are amazing people all around if you just know where to look! Stay tuned to The Lunch Kit News for more stories of inspiration, innovation and information.