Although I am getting better at it, sometimes I get a bit anxious before a meeting, with these kickass women entrepreneurs I interview! Especially when I think someone is so “cool.” Sorry if that sounds a bit juvenile, but I don’t know any other way to put it! I’ve drooled over Whitney Haynes’ jewelry for quite some time and to be honest I was a bit intimidated by her, I had definitely put her on an entrepreneurial pedestal! Looking back now, I have no idea WHY I created this “story” in my mind….of course I still think she is uber cool, but I should NOT have been nervous to talk with her! Whitney is so open, down-to-earth, and holds such similar values as me, that I was immediately comforted when we met to work on this feature. Before I knew it we were bouncing book suggestions off of each other and kicking back in total girl bonding mode. I am so inspired by her very relatable journey and it has been a joy to get to know her better….connecting is life! While our conversation flowed very freely, I did have specific points I wanted to touch on, which are outlined below. This maker is a total reflection of her brand, and while I know the word authentic gets thrown around maybe too often, I feel it’s truly an accurate description of Whitney and her work. And this is how her business grew into what it is today. People latched onto the beauty that is Whitney Haynes Designs and the lovely effects of word of mouth worked their magic.
What was life like before Whitney Haynes Designs?
Whitney explained that life was moving by, at a fast pace. Living in Toronto and working as a corporate buyer, she was going through the motions, though at the same time never felt like this way of life was hers. When you are good at your job and have built up to a level of success, those feelings often get pushed away as the days tick by. When something looks good on paper…and when you know others would be lined up to trade places with you, it can make you question any doubts you have. Fortunately, Whitney did not ignore those thoughts, and it was her awareness that brought her to the moment of huge change. This change was made without knowing all the answers (because who can guarantee anything in life?), but it was made with determination and clarity.
What steps did you have to take before you were able to take the leap into full time jewelry design?
It didn’t happen overnight (which is a good reminder for an impatient person like myself!). After, leaving to Toronto and moving to Kingston, Whitney spent about five years happily working as an interior painter, which allowed for her to grow space in her mind to “figure things out.” It was of high priority to be able to spend time home with her son, who was in kindergarten at the time, and to let creative vibes flourish. She allowed herself to be curious and took a variety of interest courses within Kingston, and thankfully found a passion in silversmithing.
Would you consider yourself a morning lark or a night owl? When are you at your most creative?
When busy, Whitney doesn’t seem to fall into either category. She explained that a lifelong struggle with migraines has lead her to being very productive when she is “feeling good” not wanting to waste time, as another migraine could be around the corner. You can find her at any hour of the day creating in her workshop, ideas spiralling one after the other.
Have you always sensed the tug of the entrepreneurial way of life?
Absolutely. This was touched on earlier, things just didn’t seem quite right on her journey up the corporate ladder. Whitney was also very inspired by her sister Heather, who has embodied the entrepreneurial way of life right from the beginning.
What aspect of your personality do you have to struggle against to stay on a successful path?
Whitney has years of experience under her belt and generally keeps track of things that MUST get done in a very fluid and mindful way. However, she would love to be more organized with planning and recently started using a Best Self Journal which she is loving (and of course now I want one!)
What advice would you give to someone totally wanting to shake up their career?
With so many things people want to change, it often never seems like the “right time.” Whitney stressed that it will NEVER be the perfect time. However, if you do take a leap of faith, it is the fear of the unknown that can fuel you to stay on the right path. Use that fear, along with patience, the support of those around you…and just general hard work. If you truly want something, you can manifest it.
If someone could hand deliver your favourite homemade meal to you once a week for eternity, what would that be?
While her initial gut reaction was to say bacon and eggs, we both agreed this was something that is too easy to make and not worthy of this fantasy, so she settled on a hearty chicken dinner, pure comfort food.
Whitney will be returning to the 1000 Islands Makers Market on November 2nd at the Gananoque Firehall Theatre, we would both love to see you there!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored in collaboration with Whitney Haynes Designs.
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