2014 marks my 10th anniversary as the owner and creative director of Dream Designs. 10 years ago at this same time of the year, Steve and I drove around Vancouver in search of organic cotton fabrics which would lead me to Dream Designs.
I was studying at UBC towards my MBA degree at the time, and my Entrepreneurship course study group picked organic textile as our main focus. It was a sunny warm day during my Spring Break and cherry blossoms had just started to bloom in all of the neighborhoods. Having read about organic cotton in length, I had a strong desire to touch and feel it. We visited store after store and was eventually directed to Dream Designs because it had the best selection of organic cotton fabrics at the time. There we met Doreen, the chirpiest grandmother and sales associate in the world. She showed us the products, and talked to us about organic natural textiles and eventually the store - that the founder had passed just a month prior and Dream Designs was looking for a new owner.
I got very excited about the opportunity. Prior to moving to Vancouver and joining the MBA program the year before, I had worked four years in Investment Banking in New York and Hong Kong. I got tired of the corporate world and wanted to fulfill my lifelong dream of having a business that contributes to the world. I was looking for an opportunity exactly like Dream Designs and prepared to start one after graduation. What a coincidence that we found each other just at the right time!
I never met Irma, but from what I've heard she was an amazing woman. I loved her passion for natural living and eclectic taste in design, which permeated all throughout Dream Designs even to this day. (Here is an article about Irma written by one of her friends. http://www.futonlife.com/Magazine/Summer-2004/Our-Friend-Irma.aspx.) Did Irma's ghost take me to Dream Designs as her best friend suggested? I think quite likely.
Steve and I got married the following year. Three years later we had our daughter Aria, and our son Ladon was born just two years ago. At one point, the company had three stores but things got too busy, so we downsized back to the original one to make life more manageable at home. Taking time to raise a family has deepened my belief in healthy and sustainable living and given me a different mentality towards broadening Dream Designs' reach. Where will we be in the next 10 years? I guess there is only one way to find out.