I was first introduced to who Alison Westlake (lovingly known as 'Coriander Girl') was from my friend Sapna, who sent me her website (http://www.coriandergirl.com/) just before the One of a Kind Show in March of 2013 and said 'Nat, this woman is awesome, you should really try to connect with her'. It was a moment in time, and it was a website that I looked up and thought - yes, this lady is really, really, really cool.
The days and weeks that lead up to the One of A Kind Show were as hectic as could be imagined and I was unable to reach out to Alison before the show, but I knew that I needed and wanted to connect with her as soon as possible, so I left it alone and promised myself to reach out afterwards.
Fast forward a few weeks later and on one of the days while we were exhibiting at the show, I came back from a break and my husband said 'This lady named Alison came by the booth, she really liked your stuff and gave me her card'. There he held, this adorable white card with a floral pattern that could only belong to Alison Westlake. I said 'Where did she go? Which way did she walk!' and he pointed down the aisle which he saw her turn and I spotted her down the aisle. I practically football tackled her when I caught up with her as I was so eager to introduce myself.
'HI! I'M NATALIE! MY FRIEND SENT ME YOUR WEBSITE! I LOVE YOUR STUFF! OMG I THINK YOU'RE SO COOL! I'M SO HAPPY TO MEET YOU! OMG OMG OMG!' And there we stood, practically holding hands and jumping up and down. A sweet kinship started and I knew that the coolness which was felt through her online presence was actually so real, and so accurate that I was an instant fan of hers.
She was kind and gracious and super inspirational. At our first meeting after the show at her shop she walked me through the process of how her shop came to be, what it has been like being a small business in Parkdale as the neighbourhood was gentrifying and her secrets of success (mainly courage and positive thinking). Lovely, gracious, enthusiastic and generally awesome were the take home feelings after meeting with Alison.
She has been featured in many magazines and has been the resident florist for The Marilyn Denis Show.
One day she sent me an email and said something along the lines of 'hey hon, check my site' to which I found this video (click here). She brought our candles to the Marilyn Denis Show and demonstrated different table settings to match different vibes using our candles. She didn't need to do this and I had no idea she was promoting our candles on live TV.
In that moment and on that day she further demonstrated that we're all in this together, and helping each other in any possible way is the absolute best way to go.
Thank you Alison, you are about as awesome as they come.