In December 2019, the ThriveNorth program successfully completed its five-year mandate. Managed by Futurpreneur Canada, the program helped young entrepreneurs in Northern B.C. launch and grow their businesses by connecting them with resources, financing and mentorship.

Shauna Chandler has lived in Prince Rupert, British Columbia her entire life. She is a wife and mother of two little boys and loves being outside and spending time with her friends and family. Shauna started her business, Moonlight Graphics to help get people’s ideas on paper (or screen). As an amateur Photoshop user with a good sense of layout and design, she started offering her services to create graphics for weddings and parties. Before she knew it, her work was catching the attention of small business owners and Moonlight Graphics was blossomed into a business creating logos, posters, flyers and other collateral for businesses.

We caught up with Shauna to learn more about her business and starting a business in Prince Rupert. Here’s what she had to say…

Why did you see the need to Moonlight Graphics in your community?

I created a lot of personal details for my own wedding in 2014, the invitation, guest book and seating chart were created because I had a specific style in mind that I couldn’t find on Etsy. It was a lot of fun and something that came naturally to me. I thought, maybe other brides were settling for these kinds of things because they simply did not have the tools to create it themselves. I launched Moonlight Graphics soon after and orders started coming in immediately. This service was something that wasn’t available in our area and people saw the need for it.

What is it like starting a business in Northern BC?

Starting a business in a remote area of BC has been great. Prince Rupert is a small, but supportive community. Moonlight Graphics was shared over and over and for the most part, I’ve got by with free advertising on Facebook. My friends and family are extremely helpful and happy to refer my name to anyone in need of graphics.

How has the community and local organizations like ThriveNorth helped you and your business?

ThriveNorth has been amazing to work with. To date, I’ve done two workshops and two marketplaces. These events put me in touch with people I would have never met face-to-face. I received numerous orders, as well as referrals, from new clients because of the marketplace. Last year I was surprised to hear from Futurpreneur Canada as they were looking for some help to promote a local event. Since then, Futurpreneur has placed several orders including posters and postcards for local events. This was something I never expected and I am so fortunate to have the support of amazing people.

What has been your biggest challenge to date?

My biggest challenge has nothing to do with my actual business. I enjoy creating, letting my artistic side shine. I love making someone’s idea a reality. Working from home, being able to help contribute to my family as well as setting my own hours is a huge blessing. But finding a balance between work and family life can be challenging especially with tight deadlines. Sick children, appointments and day-to-day life responsibilities are inevitable. Luckily I have a large support system ready to help when necessary.  nd after all, that’s why I chose the name “Moonlight” Graphics… So I can work after hours when everyone is sleeping!

What has been your biggest milestone to date?

My biggest milestone is a tie – my first big order; a logo design from a local business looking to update their outdated logo. I was honored to be chosen to create a new look for a successful, well known family business in Prince Rupert. Another milestone was receiving a grant from Futurpreneur earlier this year. This grant will help grow Moonlight Graphics and has given me a boost of confidence. Money is of course a blessing, but being chosen and seen as a business that has a future to grow is the ultimate compliment.

What advice would you have for other new entrepreneurs?

If you have an idea that you think would benefit your community, run with it! Start with a plan and brainstorm with like-minded people. Embrace support from friends and family as you launch your business. Social media is a good start but I definitely suggest getting in touch with local organizations for information on workshops and getting in touch with professionals eager to see your idea blossom into a successful business.

For more information on Moonlight Graphics, visit their Facebook page here. 

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