Life is good in Westport...
"The journey is the destination", hands down, the most powerful message woven into the fabric of the Life is good philosophy. In 2007, what I thought was just another average day in my life, another left turn that could have been right or wrong, lead me into "Jake" at a Life is Good Shoppe. Not fully understanding who Jake was or what he meant, it is difficult for me to articulate my experience but I knew one thing for sure, my life changed forever that day!
The summer 2007 was a difficult time for both my husband and I, John had recently resigned from his professional life and I was struggling to find the good in my career path. Change arrived when I met Jake, I clearly remember entering and exiting the Life is good Shoppe and my husband John turned to me, put his hand on my shoulder and said "everything is going to be ok". Even though I have known this since I was a little kid, that things are what we make them to be, some reason this experience validated my belief. I truly believe that Optimism is something we all have inside of us but often it gets clouded by obstacles and lost in the day to day distractions. I am now compelled to help others find their inner-optimist, and see the good; so this is the beginning of my journey...
After much hard work and optimism John and I managed to open the first Canadian Life is good Shoppe in Westport. Ontario. The doors opened and April 4, 2008, and I remember our first sale, it was an aqua soccer ball. So my journey began and quickly went from product, to people to promotions and events. Our first event and still closest to my heart was our ambitious "Pumpkin Festival". Only 6 months into our new business we were committed to carving 500 pumpkins and illuminating the Westport harbour to demonstrate another of my favorite quotes, "don't knock something build something". So against all odds and terrential rainfall, we achieved our goal; this was one of the most moving experiences of my life. This event gradually evolved into what is now known as "The Random Act of Pumpkins" , we continued this for another 5 years and carved well over 7000 pumpkins between 2008 and 2013. Every year we come up with new and exciting events to demonstrate that you can accomplish things if you are in the right state of mind, for those of you who know us you've probably been to a few of our events, such as The McCartney Years concert, Watermelon for Wishes, and this year we will be sponsoring a stage at the MUSICWestport Festival.
In 2010, I learned another important lesson in life, live each day as it is your last because once a loved one is gone they are gone. For those that didn't have the privilege of knowing my cousin Julie Sanders, let me tell you a bit about her. She was a loving caring mother, inspiring wife and daughter, she always put other's needs before her own. Julie lost a battle with cancer, but not without an amazing fight. She taught me that when bad things happen, life is still good. Julie and her family have been instrumental in our Pumpkin Festival and this continues to inspire me to this day.
Selling tee shirts is the easy part, demonstrating optimism and leading by example is what I chose and I take that responsibility very seriously. Yes, I certainly make sure that my business runs smoothly and can keep a balanced spread sheet but I am talking about our customers that depend on us, share their stories: celebrations of marriage and partnerships, the birth of a new born child, winning a battle with cancer, taking the courage to come into the shop at the one year anniversary of the loss of a child and celebrate in their life, taking a life journey to remember a loved one and visit the places that they held dear and plant some of their ashes in our flower pots, welcoming back summer residents who feel like they are "coming home" and can't wait to share what has happened since we had seen them last. Customers (I call them my life is good family) continue to inspire the commitment to the Life is good philosophy each and every day.
I want to hear and share your story. Please send your Life is good story to me at firstname.lastname@example.org