Barb has very generously fulfilled our request for some information about how her business, "Art à deux, Ltée" (Art for 2), began. Her own words express her story far better than I possibly could:
"Four years ago, shortly before I received my walking papers from a Bay Street law firm as a specialized sysadmin, my boss, who is a senior partner, turned to me and said I was far too talented (and funny -- I guess a good sense of humour doesn't cut in with lawyers ) to be in the position. Lo and behold a few weeks later, they shuffled me out the door and the same partner said to me that he knew I would do great things one day and that I would not regret their decision."
It seems that boss was right on target in his evaluation of Barb's capabilites. She had been doing some desktop publishing and commercial printing "on the side" for a few years and after a period of self-evaluation, she decided to see if she could turn her sideline into a full-time endeavour. A year later, she incorporated Gf/X Inc. and it's still an active business for commercial printing.
Another year passed by and she received an invitation to one of her brother's art shows. As she'd done with past invitations, she asked him why there weren't greeting cards -- and again, didn't receive an answer. But Barb concluded that she couldn't be the only person who thought those images would make a great greeting card. After another year of pondering the idea and speaking with others, most of whom didn't take her seriously, Barb came to a decision. If no one else was doing this, she might as well.
Before plunging in with her life savings, Barb made the decision to put her new company (even before it was a company) on the Internet. It went online on May 1, 1996 and she gave it a two month trial period to determine whether there was any interest in her idea.
On July 1st, she received her first email message from a company in Belgium who wanted to distribute her cards all over the Netherlands! Since then, the telephone calls, faxes, letters and email from all over the world haven't stopped!! She does no other advertising outside of the Internet and she's still amazed and astonished with each call.
In September '96, Barb received a call from the agent of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation who had found her through her website. They were interested in using one of her cards for their Christmas drive and she agreed. Over a quarter million of her cards were distributed all over Canada!
Barb has been contacted again, by the same agent of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, to use two more of her cards for their Spring circulation: "A Day in the Sunshine" and "Chestnut on Miramichi Island".
Sincere Congratulations on your achievements, Barb! Your own determination and the courage to follow your inner voice led to your success and your story gives us all encouragement to stay hitched to those dreams of what we too can accomplish! Thank you!
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