Website: Children's Harnesses by Elaine, Inc.
and my other blogs about weight loss: Weight Loss Made Simple
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Showing posts with label About Elaine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label About Elaine. Show all posts

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Hello from Elaine

My goodness, the dust was so thick on this blog that I had trouble dusting it off. I barely remember how to do a posting, it's been so long. Almost a year in fact. Where does the time go? And why the long silence from someone who is incapable of leaving a voice message less than a minute long? (windbag that I am...).

Business has been great. Most of my day is spent corresponding with customers, sending invoices and sewing up their orders. I love it. Sometimes I have a slow period, and I use that time to sew up extra Child Harnesses or chair straps to save time later. The summer can be crazy busy and the more prepared I am, the less hectic it is. Though I'm usually caught off guard and don't have enough sewn up beforehand to see me through. That's not a complaint!!

A few days ago I had a very touching email from a Mom who started her message by saying 'Elaine, I'm writing you in shock'. She'd had her daughter's Child-to-Adult Harness for a week and she was stunned by all the things she was able to do with her, all the places they were able to go, all the plans she was able to make now that she had the harness. I cried, it was so wonderful to read. 

One customer at a time, that's how I run my business. Sometimes I get stumped thinking about how to take my business 'to the next level', how to become more 'corporate' like other businesses that grow and reach more people, provide jobs and generate more income for myself so I can pay off my mortgage before I'm 80. I sit like Winnie the Pooh tapping my temple saying 'think think think' but nothing comes. Then I get an email like that one last week and I'm reminded that I'm 100% in the right place at the right time right the way I am and one customer at a time is the perfect way for me to run my business. I'm not a 'corporate' kind of girl and I'd be terrified of losing that personal touch that's so integral to me and what I do.

So, I'll sign off for now. And if I don't make it back until next year, it's because I'm taking time to talk to a Mom or a Dad or a Grandparent or a School about a customer. 

One customer at a time, one customer loved by many.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Thank You Poem

A few weeks ago, a Mom called me to place her order and said she had been reading another Mom's comments about my harnesses in an online forum. When I got off the phone, I was so flattered that some stranger was saying nice things to others about my product and I was so grateful she had taken the time to do so. Praise had found me through a third party and it felt very different from a customer telling me directly how much they appreciated their new harness. It got me thinking about the absolute power of kindness and I was inspired to write:

Oh kind word how far you spread
one to another, our daily bread.
Like long ago at Christmas time
freely given to mankind.
Here today, never gone.
Oh kind word, forever strong.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

How I started making Harnesses for Children with Special Needs

It was not my own doing.

I had designed my Child Harness in September 2006 and by October, I was quite happily in the process of setting up my business and selling my new design at trade shows and off my fledgling website. I was a happy stay at home Mom with my new little business and my 2 little toddlers. Office work and the 3 1/2 hour commute was a thing of the past and I was filled with joy at the new direction my life had taken.

That lasted 2 months.

In December (2006) I was at a local trade show when a woman stopped by my booth and asked if I did custom orders. Her friend had a 9 yr old son with autism and she had to tie him on a rope whenever she took him out. I told her of course I would help and gave her my business card to pass along to her friend. She left my booth and I turned into the corner and started to cry. I was so completely and utterly overwhelmed by the thought that something as simple as one of my harnesses could help that Mom and her precious boy. The joy I had felt before was nothing in comparison to what I experienced then. Like standing on the bank of a pond and being fulfilled by the sight, I had seen the ocean and been overwhelmed.  

God has directed my life in so many obvious ways in the past that the examples I could give would keep another blog going for years. And here it was happening again. So you see, it really isn't my own doing that I make harnesses for children with special needs. Sure I operate the sewing machine but it's really God's work in action and I believe in giving credit where credit is due.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

What connection does Elaine have with Special Needs?

Since I personally don't have children with special needs, you may be wondering why 50% of my business is helping children with special needs. It's a simple answer really. My sister had Down Syndrome. She was 11 months younger than I and we were as thick as theives right from the get-go. We did everything together and nothing slowed us down. When her wheelchair and oxygen tanks became our constant companions, we took them with us - sometimes with challenging results like the time her chair got stuck in the mud in the forest and we had to "portage" to higher ground. By the time she was 38, her heart had had enough and finally quit completely.

Growing up with an angel as a constant companion undoubtedly influenced my outlook on people and life in general. But I must honestly say I have never thought of anyone with special needs as being too different from anyone else. If they look different on the outside, or if their brains make their body do things beyond their control, they are still just as deserving as the rest of us to feel the sun on their face, the grass along their palms, the ground under their bare feet. They are valuable and cherished members of our communities and if they happen to need a piece of special equipment such as a wheelchair or a harness to be out in our communities, then so what. When I'm 80, I'll be needing a walker!!

A few years ago a family friend asked me if I felt my business was my sister's legacy. I burst into tears and said I certainly feel that way.

Friday, 31 December 2010

Does Elaine have children with Special Needs?

Nope. God blessed Ivan and I with 2 normal boys, even though I was 40 when I had the first and 41 when I had the second. So, you ask, how on earth did I get involved in a business where 50% of my customers are people with special needs? Read my next posting to find out!