Jenny Boersma has a new mantra these days.
“I encourage you to try new things and never give up,” the Canning resident is quoted saying in a pamphlet for her wine bag business.
“Don’t say you can’t until you’ve tried it.”
The word can’t has been steadily vanishing from Boersma’s vocabulary since she started her business with the help of her friends and support crew at the Community Association of People for Real Entreprise (CAPRE).
“As a human being, her growth – her confidence – is night and day from when I first started working with Jenny in February (2018) to now,” says her support worker, Tara Steadman.
“That, for me, has been one of the best parts of working with Jenny, just to watch her grow as an individual.”
Boersma learned to sew with the help of a volunteer at CAPRE. She started out making chair cushions, and switched gears after noting that sales were low.
She watched YouTube tutorials to learn how to craft high-quality wine bags and promptly put her new skills to use. It didn’t take long for the product to take off, and Boersma knows this has a lot to do with the fact that the bags don’t hit the shelves unless everything is just right.
“I think I’m starting to come out of my shell, doing things that I’ve never done before,” she says.
The $10 wine bags are available for purchase at CAPRE’s store, located at 8736 Commercial Street in New Minas, and at Lee’s Shop in Canning.
Boersma is looking for a business partner to help her expand and increase production. She’s already taught Steadman how to sew, and she says her support worker was a “pretty good” student.
“Right now, Jenny’s able to do about five bags a week, so it’s a slow process when you have people coming in and buying 12 at a time,” says Steadman.
“They’re pretty fun to make,” adds Boersma.
Donations of material coming in from community members and local businesses, such as Hampton House Furniture and Jordan’s Home Furnishings, help Boersma keep the prices low by offsetting some of the costs associated with production.
“We have loads of wineries here in the Valley, so we’d really like to approach wineries in the areas and hopefully get some support from there. Maybe they’d like to sell them,” says Steadman.
Whatever happens, Boersma is open to exploring the new opportunities coming her way as her budding business continues to grow. She started small, worked at a comfortable pace with the support of friends, and learned a few things about herself along the way.
“I like doing every bit of it,” she says.