Rising up with bipolar mom evokes native entrepreneur

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Rising up with bipolar mom evokes native entrepreneur



‘Nobody talked about psychological well being and everybody round us was distracted by her unhealthy coping methods,’ says Marnie & Michael proprietor and mom of two Jennifer St. John
Jennifer St. John wished to present again to an sickness that left an indelible mark on her household.

So the Marnie & Michael founder opted to create a social enterprise dedicated to cultivating a supportive digital psychological well being neighborhood, which incorporates donating 15% of all earnings from her Penetanguishene-based artisan purse enterprise to psychological well being charities and initiatives.

“My Mother was bascially residing nearly all of her life with psychological sickness,” St. John tells MidlandToday.

“She was not identified till she was 52 and she or he handed away simply earlier than her 62nd birthday. So for the final 10 years, she lived a life that was extra indicative of the place she wished to be.”

Rising up with a bipolar mom, St. John skilled the traumatic highs and lows and lack of stability when raised in a household with psychological sickness and had entry to little assist, if any.

The sickness additionally performed a component in her dad and mom’ (Marnie and Michael) eventual breakup.

“It was only a rollercoaster. They type of got here out and in of one another’s lives,” St. John says, noting they had been collectively for about 15 years on the later phases of their lives.

“The love was all the time there.”

St. John says her mom’s sickness additionally induced an unsettled home-life for her and her siblings. This included many strikes through the years the place the kids had been compelled to select up and seemingly begin their younger lives anew in a special city with no pals.

“We couldn’t actually discuss what was happening,” she says. “I undoubtedly felt very alone on this journey.”

St. John recounts how one in every of these strikes included crossing the border into the US the place her mom married an American man, a union that didn’t final.

“I’m not likely from one spot,” she says. “In late highschool, we settled in Orillia.”

And now as a mom of two, who has created a secure and loving residence together with her husband of twenty-two years Murray Smith, St. John needs to present again to assist different youngsters and households who is perhaps going by means of circumstances just like those she lived by means of as a toddler.

She says the underside line is that psychological sickness is tough on everybody.

“It’s exhausting for these struggling the sickness and for these loving the one that is struggling,” St. John explains.

“She (her mom) had six youngsters by her mid-twenties, leaving my childhood impacted by traumatic highs and lows and left reeling from her impulsive life-changing choices.

“Nobody talked about psychological well being and everybody round us was distracted by her unhealthy coping methods.”

St. John says the one fixed of their lives was instability.

“We had been shamed into saying nothing; maintaining our home-life an in depth secret,” she says. “I’m decided to be part of the dialog and house that’s altering this.”

Artistically inclined from a younger age, St. John has all the time been concerned in artwork and design. She labored within the artwork division of assorted movies and likewise served as a movie and tv producer.

“I thrived on studying the enterprise facet of the movie trade and all the time knew I might be again within the driver’s seat of my subsequent enterprise,” she says.

So impressed by her relationship together with her mom who wrestled with bipolar throughout St. John’s childhood, she efficiently began the Marnie & Michael line of artisan, handcrafted leather-based baggage and items, all of that are made regionally.

“I wished to include a social giveback,” St. John says, referring to her small enterprise that discovered its good location simply off Penetanguishene’s Major Avenue in early 2020.

“We began with a really small line of three baggage and now have as much as 20 baggage,” she says.

Regionally, Marnie & Michael baggage will be present in about eight shops, however there are plans afoot to develop its footprint throughout the province and into different elements of Canada.

“I feel persons are drawn to a traditional timeless type,” St. John says, referring to the product line’s growing recognition. “There are additionally individuals who search out that giveback mannequin.

“Our merchandise are at a sure value level. They’re undoubtedly akin to different handmade leather-based merchandise.”

For example, St. John notes {that a} wristet leather-based bag prices $65 whereas a leather-based backpack retails for $325.

And there are additionally plans to extend manufacturing past what St. John and the 2 manufacturing employees she employs for 3 to 4 days per week can create.

“We offered over 1,000 merchandise final yr,” she says, noting she’s hoping to quickly line up an attire manufacturing operation to additionally assist out.

However St. John provides that type of transfer wouldn’t have an effect on product design or customized manufacturing, which might nonetheless each be completed regionally.

For extra info, vist Marnie & Michael on-line.



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