Sunday, April 21, 2024

Alumni Spotlight with Sarah Crowe

Where and when were you born?

 I was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador on August 3, 1994.

What is your current job and list some things you like about it?

I am a small business owner. I run my handmade apparel and jewelry business out of the Quidi Vidi Artisan Studios in St. John’s. I enjoy almost every aspect of my job. The most fulfilling part of my work is seeing an idea develop and become a wearable piece. I love the design process. It’s exciting to see something that was once just an idea or a rough sketch turn into a functional piece of clothing or jewelry. I believe that the way we dress ourselves is deeply personal, as it is the most visible way that we express ourselves to the world. I always feel honoured to be a part of that experience for my customers who also find joy in my clothing and jewelry.

How does it relate to your diploma or certificate?

The Textile and Apparel Design diploma that I received through College of the North Atlantic is essentially the foundation on which I’ve built my business. This program helped me develop all of the technical skills that I use on a day-to-day basis in my business, including sewing, pattern making, design, natural dye work and surface embellishment. I also learned many of the business and marketing skills that are required for my business through the program. 

 What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your lifetime?

 The decision to change career paths and go back to school was a hard one for me. I completed a Bachelor of Arts in French and felt that I was spinning my wheels in the mud for a couple of years after I finished my degree. I worked in the service industry and was considering a move out of province when the pandemic hit. While the effects of the pandemic were terrible, I was grateful that it gave me the time to reflect on the trajectory of my career. I ultimately realized that the path I was on was not fulfilling and I needed to change direction. I had worked hard in university and found it difficult to turn away from the path I had set out for myself during those years. I’m so glad I made that tough decision, as it has allowed me to create my own career in a field that I love. 

What’s your favourite place in the world?

Probably on my grandmother’s back patio, with all my family around. Really, wherever my family is. 

Can you describe an experience that changed your life?

When I was 10 years old, my mom put me in sewing lessons. That was when I was bitten by the creative bug and have been in love with fashion, design and craft ever since. 

 What’s your favourite movie or book?

My favourite movie is the animated Lion King from 1994. We had a VHS copy growing up that we pretty much watched every weekend, so there will always be something cozy and nostalgic about that movie for me. My favourite book is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It’s a beautifully simple story about following your heart and pursuing your dreams. 

Is your current career path as you originally intended?

Not at all. I started university thinking I wanted to be a French teacher. Towards the end of my degree, I was leaning more toward translation work. The more time I spent planning a career in that field, the more I realized that I needed to find something creatively fulfilling. When I was little my dream was to become a fashion designer, so I guess it’s all working out as I hoped it would back then!

What challenges did you face in launching your career?

The biggest challenge I’ve faced in launching my career is the uncertainty that comes with being a small business owner. I never know for sure if a product is going to be successful or if customers are going to like it as much as I do. There’s something very vulnerable about putting yourself and your art out there for the world to judge. One of the best skills I’ve learned through the Textile and Apparel Design program is how to receive feedback and use it constructively to improve my work. This has helped me adapt when things don’t go according to plan.

What advice would you give to your CNA first-year self?

I would tell my first-year self to enjoy every moment in the program. Your teachers are brilliant craftspeople and educators, so stay engaged and get the most you can out of every moment with them. Don’t be afraid that you won’t be good at some things – the best things happen far outside your comfort zone, so lean in. Show up and give your all every day. It will pay off!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Ryanne McIsaac
Ryanne McIsaac
Ryanne is Editor of CNA Currents. Born and raised in Stephenville, NL, Ryanne moved back to Newfoundland after spending 16 years in Calgary, Alberta. Ryanne has a Journalism Diploma from College of the North Atlantic and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Cape Breton University. She worked for many years as a reporter and freelance writer. She is happy to be back in her hometown and working for CNA.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

Twitter feed is not available at the moment.


Hometown Hero

By Minal Abhange Liam O’Brien can hardly be described as a fish out of water. In fact, the Office Administration student considers swimming a passion...


Who are resource facilitators? By Karla Ivany             At College of the North Atlantic, Resource Facilitators (RF) play an integral part in student life. At each campus, an RF...

Explore Other Articles