Uninformed observers can be forgiven for assuming that the woman who runs around Yellowknife selling knitted clothing and baked goods deserves the rest of retirement.
In fact, Donna McLeod retired from a career in finance in 2016, and since then has run Created By Nana mostly as a hobby.
“I wanted to do something I liked. I like making things, cooking and doing my crafts. I thought maybe other people would appreciate it as well,” she told Yellowknifer.
She makes almost all of the baby and toddler apparel by hand (and with a sewing machine) and prepares all of her pies, baked goods, salads and sandwiches herself.
The food side to her business has branched out into gift baskets and light catering.
Her husband Victor helps out with deliveries and logistics.
“He does all the lugging and slugging,” she said with a laugh.
Everything is made at her house. A new public health regulation set last summer enabled her to obtain a home permit for commercial food preparation.
Food represents most of her sales but the apparel side keeps her very busy.
“I have to hustle to keep things made. Today I spent the day making hoodie baby bath towels. A few weeks ago I did an order for six pairs of children’s mittens,” she explained.
Customers usually order through her Facebook page and website and she also sells her wares at pop up displays around town.
While Donna loves making things, the logistics of her business have proven to be a challenge and she’s grateful that her husband can help out.
“He keeps me straight if I need carrier bags or food containers and letting me know what I need for suppliers. He’s very astute in letting me know these things.”
Spreading the word about her company has also been a challenge because advertising can be expensive and she acknowledges there was a learning curve with handling social media.
But once most customers have tried her products they have come back, she said.
Donna couldn’t specify how much revenue she has earned, but said her intention with Created By Nana was never to become rich.
“It’s not a lot of revenue because I don’t charge a lot for what I provide. I try to keep the prices as reasonable as I can. I try to cover my expenses and make a few dollars off the top that I can put in my retirement fund.”