Jill Sawatzky, owner of independent business Tony Chestnut, relocated to her new shop at 539 Osborne St. this fall. She says she’s been working full time with Tony Chestnut for four years now, but it’s been an ongoing business for 12 years in different levels of busyness.
“I’ve wanted to work for myself since I did a year-long internship with a woman designer in Vancouver. I realized that I could connect with my community through my creativity and also have it be my job. This all just seemed perfect for me,” she says.
Sawatzky says the name Tony Chestnut came from a song she learned in kindergarten.
“I liked the quirkiness of using a name that isn't my own, and I liked the idea of using a man’s name … and I haven’t regretted it once,” she says.
Sawatzky says she’s seen a huge influx of small businesses run by women, and she’s excited by it.
“My new shop is in a building owned by a woman, and I'm surrounded by five other women who are kicking ass at their respective businesses,” she says. “I love all of the new female-owned businesses in this city, (which are) putting focus on creating beautiful, warm and inclusive spaces.
“I'm a big proponent of living within the community that you've chosen to be a part of. I want to meet the people that live around me and integrate my skills in with their needs and interests,” Sawatzky says. “I'm trying to teach my kids to ‘bloom where they’re planted,’ as this mantra has always served me well."