By Glenda McCarthy
Many Newfoundlanders have experienced living away at some point in their lives, and most can recall times they felt homesick, longing for the little things that makes our culture so unique. Ashley Porter, a recent Home Support Worker/Personal Care Attendant (PCA) graduate, intends to make things a little easier for those living off the island. Through her new side business, Loves It, you can now have a little piece of the Rock shipped right to your door, no matter where you live.
“I noticed the trend in subscription box companies and thought I could put a local spin on it incorporating my love of local products,” Ashley says. “Our beautiful province is full of incredibly talented crafters and artisans and our mission is to support them in every aspect. We buy from local crafters and businesses; package up a box of goodies and send off a little piece of the Rock with love.”
Ashley has been working as PCA full-time since she graduated from CNA in June, but still decided to start her business in August. She had an overwhelming response practically overnight. Just 24 hours after she launched her website she had her first 20 subscribers signed up, all eagerly waiting for their first shipment. Each Loves It box contains four to seven items – all Newfoundland sourced and handcrafted.
“The response so far has been amazing – it took off very quickly with a lot of interest from local businesses and Newfoundlanders living away from home. The (artists) are really impressed. They are enjoying the big orders and are excited to be involved.”
Ashley feels the subscription boxes are a great gift idea for your loved one living away, or even a way to treat yourself. Who doesn’t love a surprise box with an assortment of goodies? From homemade jams, hand crafted soaps, all natural lip balms, Newfoundland spices and preserves, prints by local artists, key chains, coasters, home décor – the possibilities are endless when it comes to crafty Newfoundlanders.
“A perfect gift for yourself or a loved one living away from home, each box is packed with all handpicked homemade goodies from their beloved Rock – what more could you ask for? It works great as a care package for a loved one as a little pick me up, a birthday surprise or a ‘just because’ gift.”
Ashely believes the service offered by her company could make a big difference to those missing home. While this idea may be unique, to those who know Ashley well, it’s no surprise she came up with this thoughtful idea. In her full time career is as a personal care attendant she continually thinks about the well-being of those around her.
“I don’t think people were really surprised. I am always up to something and always busy. My parents were supportive, but I think they were mostly surprised with how quick it took off and the amazing response I have received so far.”
Her goal from the very beginning was to make a difference for the artists she sources her products from.
“The whole premise behind my company is to support local business. My parents were entrepreneurs as well and I understand what it takes to be an entrepreneur here in Newfoundland and Labrador. The orders I am placing with the local businesses and artisans in our community are bigger than their average sales so it is great to help them out in this way. This project runs all year long so the point was to keep their sales up through the slow winter months.”
The 23-year-old says this is something that can help make a difference in their lives, which coincidentally, is also the reason she chose her full-time profession as a PCA.
“My favourite part of being a PCA is seeing the difference you can make in someone’s life – no matter how small your act of kindness, you can see the gratification in these people’s faces and the feeling is incomparable. Just knowing you made a difference is really heartwarming and gives you more of a reason to come to work.”
Both of her career paths are labours of love for Ashley.
“I would say that starting this business has been a real learning experience. I am proud of my province and the wonderful creative people here,” she says. “I’m grateful to be able to work with local businesses and crafters and get their products out there. I have always been involved and interested in the crafting community and am proud to continue to support the community with my new business.”
This is just the beginning for Loves It subscription boxes, but Ashley hopes to keep building on her clientele and base of craftspeople. Her first few months have certainly been busy. The first shipment went out on Oct. 15 and catered to the needs of 50 monthly subscribers and 100 one-time orders, which she says is phenomenal for her first delivery. Since that order the company has received a number of requests to go international and Ashley has already expanded her services to meet that demand. Without a doubt, Loves It is off to a great start.
For more information, or to place an order, visit the Loves It website at www.lovesitnlbox.ca.