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.
For Krystal, growing up on a cattle ranch in small town Fort St. John was the perfect canvas for her creativity. Krystal’s love for the arts continued to grow, but the non-linear path to a creative career led her to a job in finance, until she was ready to start a business that spoke to her passion and purpose.
“I loved all the entrepreneurial skills I was learning running a more traditional business but wanted to honour my creative roots and be more authentic in my work” says Krystal.
“I wanted the ability to craft a life around my values, my family, and my creativity. It was taken a few tries to get it right, but am pleased to say the structure of my business now allows me all these things, with the possibility for growth in the future.”
Krystal watched her dream shift into an idea, to a plan, and now an actual business that provides support and resources to other local aspiring entrepreneurs in their own creative journeys. Through Unicorn Dilemma & Studios, Krystal teaches product and brand photography, consults on business development, and will be offering courses around branding and visual marketing for those in the arts.
“When I was younger I always wanted to have a creative career but found the path murky, and noticed that other creatives thought the same. Now I offer resources to others who are looking to run their own creative business,” says Krystal.
“I also want to show creatives that they do not have to be tied to bigger cities and locations to participate in the arts. They can grow and develop a creative business wherever they are geographically. I want to honour that in my own town and with my own business.”
In 2018 Krystal participated in the ThriveNorth Business Challenge, which expanded to Northeastern B.C. for the first time since the initiative’s launch. Connecting with ThriveNorth opened doors for Krystal, including access to a grant and a community that both became pivotal to growing her business. The Small Project Grant funded the purchase of new equipment that now enables Krystal to manage her own marketing, but the impact of the ThriveNorth community is just as great.
“The biggest support is the environment. I am surrounded by a supportive team who wants business owners to success. To know I have that resource available is priceless,” says Krystal.
“Entrepreneurship is a journey and if you go it alone it is a lot harder. There is more to business than just offering a product or a service, so it’s important to find others who can help you strategize and grow. And if you can’t find anyone, you have to build your own community.”
Krystal has also received support through the various workshops and networking sessions available through her local Aboriginal Business Centre.
As Krystal continues to build and grow her business, she is excited by the opportunity and potential for the arts to flourish in communities where towns are small but passion strong. Now mother to three daughters who are each just as creative as her, Krystal hopes to continue fostering a supportive community for the arts to thrive, and could not imagine doing it any place other than Northern B.C.
“This is my hometown. My roots are here, and the longer I stay in the community, the more it grows in my heart.”
Learn more about the 2019 ThriveNorth Business Challenge here