Kicking Off the Business Feature!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 |
We're so excited to kick off our business feature as mentioned in this blog post. We thought the best way to give you all an idea would be for us to volunteer as the guinea pigs! So please sit back and relax, some questions are serious and others are meant for your enjoyment :) Rachelle in blue and Sarah is the lady in red ;)

A few words to introduce yourself:

My name is Rachelle McGlinchey. I am a proud Mom to two boys (James almost four and Jacob almost one) and married my 'high school sweetheart'. I grew up with two sisters where my Dad was the outcast and find myself enjoying all of the testosterone that overwhelms our house!
I'm Sarah and I met Rachelle, 9 years ago when she was still going out with her childhood sweetheart! This was long before kids, my husband and I had been in Canada for just a couple of years after emigrating from the UK. Rachelle's sweetheart's family (and of course Rachelle) became our adopted family in Canada, their friendship and support to us newcomers, fresh off the boat was invaluable. Now I have 2 girls and our 4 kids are growing up together.

Tell us about your business:

Hands on Keepsakes-We take baby/children and even adults' hand/footprints, artwork and pet's paw prints and miniaturize them onto pure Silver (99.9%) pendants and Bronze key rings. We also do custom pieces which we love and can't believe what amazing ideas some of our customers have! We're trying to expand our product range all the time, adding items that are not specific to children like our new Circle of Love pendant that features loved ones names and a favorite saying on the back or our wedding tags (watch this space for their launch) which have the happy couple's wedding date on one side and their initials or names on the other.

Why did you start your own business?

I think we seem to fall into the usual category of a young family wanting to find an option where I could be at home with the boys. A mutual friend gave us an idea that we both loved and we jumped at the opportunity. I don't think I would have been able to go through the process of starting up a business without having Sarah right by my side. At times it felt like two steps forward and TEN steps back! To have such a wonderful and supportive friend riding this roller coaster with me is invaluable!

It has been a very steep learning curve for both of us. I remember when we first started saying one of us would do the business for two weeks then the other would do it for two weeks so we'd get a break - how naive we were, we both get panic attacks if we have to leave it for a weekend!!! Though having a partner is invaluable, and I didn't realise how much so until we were a long way down this road. I was able to go home for 3 weeks last year and Rachelle looked after everything, and somehow Rachelle found time to have a baby last year, though I swear she only took a long weekend off work!

What has been your proudest moment as a business owner?

This Christmas really blew me away. As we introduced our new 'Christmas line' the response was overwhelming. When we started getting feedback from people saying that our bronze decorations would be a part of their family Christmas tradition for years to come was beyond words! We always try to follow up with our customers and to hear that someone has received one of our products and that it makes them cry tends to bring a little tear to my eye :) Seeing people wearing our pieces is a very exciting moment as well!

I agree Rachelle, it was also pretty cool when we had an editorial published on a local website and we had 700 hits on our website in a day along with numerous orders, there was also a dash of stress mixed in there too as there was only one week to go to Christmas.

Where do you see your business in five years?

Who thought of these questions!? Just kidding! In five years I'll have two boys in school which makes me think I'll be able to focus more time and energy on Hands on Keepsakes. One of our biggest frustrations is having SO MUCH that we want to do but knowing that our family is who needs us the most. Our eventual goal is growing Hands on Keepsakes to the point of employing other Moms who are looking for the same thing we're looking for.
Flexibility, growth and a little escape from the day to day! I'm so proud of how far Hands on Keepsakes has come in the year and a half and am confident we will continue to grow!

OK here come the fun ones...tell us the most stressful/overwhelming/emotional moment as a business owner.

Last Father's Day season we were so excited to be getting tons of orders for Bronze key rings. We had been struggling with a certain step in the production of the key rings that was causing them to finish with cracks, bubbles, etc. The thought of a customer's order not arriving in time for their husband to open on Father's Day was heart breaking. Between Sarah and I there were many sleepless nights! Luckily UPS offers overnight shipping (not at an affordable rate!) and everyone received their gifts on time. Felt like a million pounds had been lifted off my shoulders! And just like every learning experience we were able to work out the problem and have corrected it!

That's definitely the most stressful time we've had. But we also had two long term contracts, one with a credit card services provider (other small businesses please be careful their salesmen are salesmen for a reason and don't necessarily follow through on what they promise) and the other with a very specific advertising company. Both relationships should have been a perfect fit for us, both turned into a nightmare. Rachelle and I spent countless hours extracting ourselves from these contracts which was not at all fun and took far too much time away from building the business. It feels so good now to start 2011 with all that behind us and has made us a lot more wary of promises that seem too good to be true!

Describe your work space.

I currently have two separate work spaces throughout the house. The computer is obviously where all of the emails, orders, designing, etc take place. I also have a space for my studio where all of the jewelry making happens! I am selfishly contemplating having my boys share a bedroom with bunk beds (fun right!) so I can take over a full room and create one space for me! This is my vision:

My husband could whip this up in one weekend no problem ;) No problem at all for Mr. Handy:)

Sarah's not answering this question because I'm SUPER jealous of her studio :) So thoughtful!

Top three places you'd like to travel.

1. Machu Picchu in Peru
2. Angkor Wat in Cambodia
3. Paris :)

1. New York (when the US Open tennis is on)
2. Augusta (when the Masters golf is on)
3. Sydney (when the Ashes cricket is on)
Spot the theme - I don't get out much!

Favorite song at the moment.

White blank page- Mumford & Sons

Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer, my 3 year old is still singing it - as I said I don't get out much.

Favorite quote(s).

Dr. Seuss- Oh! The Places You'll Go!- I LOVE this entire book. I get emotional when I read it to the boys. And another Dr. Seuss one that I love is from his book 'Happy Birthday to You'- "Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you." LOVE it!

I admit I cheated and looked up some quotes and this one raised a smile, I think it's going to be true of me and Rachelle for a long time to come;).

Every day I get up and look through the Forbes list of the richest people in America. If I'm not there, I go to work.

Robert Orben

Good one!

For the next three months I'm following a certain 'lifestyle' that has restricted a lot (and I do mean A LOT) of foods from my diet... so you all know I have to throw in a food question!

If faced with having to choose between ONE food item for the rest of your life, what would it be?

It's between chocolate (I am female!) and Sapporo Ichiban Original soup (Not. Even. Joking. Love that stuff!). I'm going to go with chocolate because there could be many varieties... hazelnut, peanuts, almond, dried fruit and Ichiban is always the same declicous soup with noodles :)

Cereal every time.

One last one to finish things off... and make it interesting!

Name your celebrity crush.

Bear Grylls from Man vs. Wild on the Discovery Channel. Seriously google him. And no need to worry about my hubby... I've made him completely aware of this!

Simon Cowell, the only reason The Idol was worth watching. Yummy.

So there we have it! I hope you were able to find some fun in our first business feature. It can be completely silly or serious... totally up to you!

If you are interested in being featured please email We look forward to introducing you to some other wonderfully talented business owners!


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