Co-founder & President, Every Little Bit Eco-Shop Ltd.
My name is Alison Ferguson and I’m thrilled to be the “Mom of the Month”. Sometimes, however, it feels more like I’m “Mom of the Minute” – I think sustained excellence as a “mommy” is really hard work.
Don’t get me wrong; I love what I’m doing – I just thought it would come more “naturally” to me. When I first had Amy I found it difficult to not compare myself to those yummy mummies with perky pony tails, a Starbucks in one hand, their uber-stroller in the other hand and their lovely quiet babies gurgling back at them, with the manuscript of their almost-complete children’s novel peeking out of their Prada bag. My little “demon baby”, as we called Amy then – due to the colic our paediatrician said was the worst she had seen in her 15 years of practice – did not simply have “witching hours”, she had “witching weeks”; if she was awake, she was screaming – not gentle baby cries, but rather head popping off –window shattering wails of agony. Nope, nothing too “natural” about the baby gig for Paul & I.
Amy is 4 now. She is a lovely and still spirited little girl. And despite the clinical post partum depression that came with her birth, we crazily decided to do it again. Kieran is now 20 months, and like Amy, she too was quite the rager at the beginning. Paul & I frequently had to console ourselves with the paediatrician’s advice “well folks…all the studies indicate that colicky kids are extremely intelligent”. Alright! We have cranky mensa babies!
I am completely besotted with my girls (now that we’ve gotten past infanthood). I’m convinced that anyone who encounters them must be as mesmerized by them as I am. I’m sure most parents have that same sensation, that all those people out there must be enthralled by our kids. My girls are so charming, so fun, and so challenging all at once. On a daily basis, there’s a whole lot of laughing and crying (by all parties involved). I had no idea that being a mom would be filled with so much giggling, gunk and glee!
Before kids, I had a variety of different careers and I loved all of them; I’ve been a youth soccer referee, a human resources manager, a consultant, a marketing manager. After a stint in municipal government, I entered the world of high tech in 1998 and have been part of two of the most successful start-up companies in Canada, including OctigaBay, where I was a co-founder. We built a supercomputer (really!) that attracted our eventual purchaser, Cray – the grand-daddy of supercomputing. I worked with the most amazing group of people who challenged me professionally and personally. On the education front, I’ve got a BA in English & Middle Eastern History from SFU. After completing my degree, I worked full time and went to school part time, completing an HR diploma from BCIT and an MBA in marketing. I’m glad I did most of my schooling before kids, but I do look forward to getting back to it one day– even it its just a chance to learn how to cook food that doesn’t come from a box.
I think I surprised myself more than anyone when I decided I was going to stay home with Amy, and not do a third start-up technology company with some of my favourite people. Reactions were mixed – surprise, pride, confusion – and it even took me a while to get over the feeling that I was somehow letting down the cause of the modern woman who can do and have it all. Right now though, I am totally happy with my decision and my “new” life.
I joined an amazing volunteer organization (Soroptimist) a few years ago, with the mission of helping women and girls in our community and internationally. Through that group, I met my current business partner, Meaghan Relkie. We are incredibly different people but are very good partners. We have healthy discussions and disagreements, which ultimately leads us to better decisions. Over the past 10 months, we’ve conducted market and product research, wrote the business plan, incorporated, conducted customer focus groups, purchased inventory from over 30 different manufacturers and launched our new business – Every Little Bit Eco-Shop (www.everylittlebitgreen.com).
Every Little Bit is an online store offering everyday products that are conveniently green. We offer mainstream shoppers an easy way to “green” their life. We help individuals make product choices that are better for themselves, their families and the environment. We know that people are different shades on the green spectrum and that small actions and efforts can make a huge difference. Every little bit counts.
We’ve got a great range of everyday products – from biodegradable cleaning products to beautiful bamboo towels to glass baby bottles to handmade jewellery of beautiful stones. We sell products that are eco-friendly from “cradle to grave”, which means products are not only healthy for the consumer with low environmental impact, but also have been produced and can be disposed of in a sustainable fashion. We support local & Canadian manufacturers as much as possible. Check us out at www.everylittlebitgreen.com
We are having an incredibly fun time with the business, although working from home requires significant juggling; it’s not like I can sit down and do several hours of work with my 4 year old and 1 year old sitting quietly in the background. I’m thankful for a really flexible mother-in-law, a great baby-sitter, and a business partner who’s now also got 2 little girls, so we can meet with kids-in-tow, while managing to squeeze in a bit of business talk. In addition to supportive friends, I’ve got an absolutely amazing husband who smiles knowingly and never complains about my myriad of interests and competing demands for time. Most days are a constant juggle between the kids’ activities, our business – Every Little Bit, Soroptimist, and my involvement with the TriCities task group on homelessness. I now understand that old adage that it does indeed take a village to raise a child.
Amy, Kieran & Paul provide me happiness that I didn’t think was possible; I can’t think of a better word to describe how I feel about my family than the utterly eloquent “gushy”. Sometimes I almost feel giddy about how good life is. While I do miss the amazing people I worked with, I know that the focus right now on family, volunteerism and Every Little Bit is right for me.
Cheers to you all from the current “mom of the minute”,
Every Little Bit
Everyday Products. Conveniently Green.
Every Little Bit
Suite 340, 255 Newport Drive
Port Moody, BC, Canada