Colleen Rhodes is the founder of Meins Designs - a business that creates beautiful yoga accessories like meditation pillows, yoga mat bags, totem bracelets and much more. Born and raised in a suburb of Toronto, Colleen recently quit her corporate job of 25 years and relocated to Vancouver to become her own boss. She has been basking in the joy of cultivating her inner crafty being: Seamstress, Bracelet Maker, Photographer and Writer. With this refreshing new start, she hopes to live her life doing the things she loves instead of living someone else’s dream.
What’s keeping you busy these days?
I’ve been holding monthly upcycling workshops for a non-profit organization here in Vancouver, reading lots of memoirs as research for writing my own, writing my mother’s story, designing new products for my company Meins Designs which is always exciting and one of my favourite things and some dressmaking for a client.
When did you start your own business?
Meins Designs was born in April of 2014 after a life-changing trip to Peru.
What’s the best thing about being your own boss?
I love making my own schedule, working when I want to, making all of the decisions about my business, no one to report to and getting to do what I love every day!
What’s the worst thing?
Not having enough time to do everything I want. I always have so many ideas popping into my head about products I want to make and then seeing what they look like in different fabrics. Being your own boss means you’re in charge of all departments, Research & Development, Production, Sales, Marketing, Accounting. I love every aspect but it all takes time.
When did you get into creating and sewing?
My mother taught me to sew as a young child so by the time I went to home economics sewing class in Grade 7, I already knew how.
Why did you give up on it earlier in your life?
Being a grown up got in the way of my creative side. I got busy with life, family and a full time job, there was never enough time to spend in my sewing room. I only managed bits and pieces and that wasn’t very satifying.
You were working a normal 9-5 job in an office before. Was there one particular day where you realized that you want to change something in your life? And if yes, what happened?
If I had to choose a day, it would be the day I arrived home from 17 days in Peru. The last 12 days were spent in Iquitos in an ayahuasca healing camp in the middle of the jungle. I walked back to my car in Toronto after getting off my plane and could help but tell myself out loud, “This is so strange”. I knew right there that I had to make a change, I just didn’t know to what extent that change would be.
How does a normal day look like in your shoes?
My dog, Cooper is my alarm clock, I get up when he needs to go out. Some days we power walk on the bike path, other days we walk to the off leash forest so he can sniff around the trails. Meals are a very sacred event in our home, my partner and I light a candle and eat together in front of the window every morning. After that, I sew as much as possible or I get in design mode and come up with a new product, sometimes it’s a social media day when I post new products and promote them. I see my dressmaking client every couple of weeks or so for fittings, pickups or she brings me new projects. I fulfill orders and prepare for upcoming workshops. I spend evenings with my partner usually playing video games LOL.
What else are you passionate about?
Aside from sewing, I love to make bracelets, draw/colour mandalas and I especially love to write!
I am passionate about animals and animal welfare; I help out at The Happy Herd Farm Sanctuary in Aldergrove, BC every month, but I am most passionate about my own Wookie/Teddy Dog, Cooper and my cat, Charlie (RIP 1999-2016)!!
I love to recycle/upcycle as much as possible and try not to consume so much, I prefer to buy second hand if at all possible. Our apartment is full of upcycled and recycled treasures!! There are only a handful of items that were purchased brand new.
End this sentence: Life is good, when…
I can get up in the morning and do what I love.
Where can people connect with you?
Any exciting news?
YES!!! I have recently discovered a textile recycling business in Vancouver called Our Social Fabric. It is a non-profit organization run by a volunteer Board of Directors. They accept donations from individuals, estates and the film industry, theatre, manufacturing, which might otherwise go to landfill. They have sales once a month for the public to buy cheap fabric and notions. The money from these sales goes towards expenses like rent and supplies. I started volunteering with them in October and have applied to be on the Board of Directors, which I hope will be accepted by the end of this year. It’s so wonderful to be surrounded by so much fabric and many like-minded people with a similar passion for sewing!
Interviewer: Paula Hartmann
There is a gentle voice inside of me that is whispering, "Come home, Come home!” This voice is reminding me that it is my birthright to feel at home here on this planet - at home within my body, my relationships, my environment and within the service that I'm offering to the world.
We usually associate "feeling at home" with being physically in a space where we can be ourselves, where we're allowed to lay down our masks, our bras, put on jogging pants and be real.
But "feeling at home" is not confined to the space within the four walls that you own. Home can be anywhere - a place and a moment in time where you feel completely relaxed and accepted.
I'm sure you can relate to this. Sometimes you meet a stranger and instantly "feel at home" with this person. Or it happens that you travel to a foreign country or city and you feel like you’re arriving at home although you’ve never been there before. Something feels familiar: the smells, the colours, the sounds. Somehow you’re at ease but your mind can’t make sense of it.
It’s usually when we follow our intuition and go with the flow that we meet people and find places that feel natural to us.
Try to tap into this energy of "feeling at home" for a moment. If it’s possible close your eyes and try to recreate this feeling in your body. Imagine how you're coming home after a long day out and think about the things you usually do after you enter your home. Maybe you stretch out on the couch, maybe you brew a cup of tea, maybe you change your clothes or put on your favorite music. Imagine how it feels to be at home and let this feeling of relaxation sink deep into every cell of your body.
Now think about your every day life and see if you can find other places, situations and people that create this sensation of feeling at home within you. These are the moments where you can be natural without having to pretend to be someone that you’re not.
Think about your relationship with your partner, your friends and your kids. Can you be 100% yourself there?
Think about your job. Does your job and the environment you’re working in feel natural to you?
What about your body? Do you feel at home within your body?
And what about your lifestyle? Does your lifestyle reflect who you are?
Imagine your every day life in front of your inner eye and pay attention to the areas where you don’t feel completely at ease. Now there are two reasons why you don’t feel at home in these areas. It’s either because you don’t belong there and you’re holding on to something that you’re not, or it's because you don’t allow yourself to be who you are with other people or in certain environments.
I want you to go to the place that you’re struggling with the most and I want you to ask yourself: What change needs to happen so I can feel at home there? Allow yourself to imagine the best possible outcome for you and dwell in this feeling a little bit longer.
What action can you take to feel at home within the area that you’re struggling with?
If it’s your body, connect with it more often and ask it: What do you need right now?
If it’s your job, pay attention to the tasks that feel the most natural to you and ask yourself: Am I working in the right field? Can I concentrate more on the things that feel easy and exciting to me?
Maybe it’s possible to delegate tasks that don’t feel natural to you or you could use your skills in a different environment.
If it’s a relationship, remember that you can’t change anybody, you can only change yourself, so ask yourself: What can I do to create a feeling of relaxation in this relationship? Or what shouldn’t I do to create a feeling of home?
Listen to your intuition and trust your feelings. Surrender to the people and places that make you feel at home and spend time there as much as possible. Your mind will give you a lot of arguments why you shouldn’t follow the pull, because your mind doesn’t care about feelings. It cares about facts and disagrees with everything that doesn’t make logical sense.
Pay attention to what triggers a feeling of relaxation and happiness deep within you and don’t feel guilty for turning away from the things and people that don’t allow you to be yourself.
Love and Hugs,
If you feel like a stranger in your own life, maybe you feel that you’re not aligned with your true purpose or maybe you’re experiencing a lot of pain or fear, feel free to contact me personally. I’m offering private sessions via Skype, phone or in person (in English and German). For more information regarding one-on-sessions and prizes, click here. If you want to know more about me and my background, read my bio.
Remember! It is your birthright to feel at ease in every area of your life. You deserve to feel at home all the time.
Thank you so much for reading my articles and for welcoming me into your home. I’m grateful beyond words.
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