Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hollywood, here she comes!

Aly Johnson, a graduate of the Douglas College Self Employment Program, is hoping to grow her business at the Oscars.
Mario Bartel/Burnaby NewsLeader photo

Self Employment Program

Aly Johnson
is going to the Oscars!

The thing I do
My business is called Aly Dahl Designs. I make and sell handcrafted pieces of jewellery, specializing in "impression" cherished keepsakes. The Impressions Line is jewellery and keepsakes crafted using your and your loved ones' fingerprints, toe-prints, thumbprints, or your dog’s nose or paw print. Anything you can take an impression of, I can turn into a keepsake or wearable jewellery.

My personal motto
Do what you love to do, and you will never work another day in your life.

Hooray for Hollywood
I’ve been invited to take part in one of the most exclusive pre-Oscar events! The Baby Boom Boom Room is where the hippest in the under-five set hang out with their moms and dads before the grown-ups prepare to walk the red carpet. The discerning crowd is known to include celebrity moms such as Jessica Alba, Heidi Klum, Halle Berry and many more.

Prospective gains
Exposure, confidence and of course sales. If I can have a couple of A-list celeb moms and dads wear my creations, then I feel I can take my business to the next level.

Career goals
To be Entrepreneur of the Year of course! And to be generating enough income to expand my studio out of my living room and be able to hire an assistant.

Personal goals
To be Entrepreneur of the Year of course! Also, to continue spending quality time with my children in a way that impacts their lives in a positive way. I am following my dream, and I want to teach them to do the same.

Role model
My father. He is smart, successful, wise, gentle, kind and has a wonderful sense of humour.

I took the SE Program because
I knew the day I lost my job what I wanted to do, and that was own my own business. I just had to figure out what I was going to do. That took time, but there was never a question that I was supposed to be my own boss.

Best take away
In order to succeed you must treat your business like a job: if you don’t put minimum 40 hours a week into your business, it will not thrive.

Before the Oscar call
My husband lost his job and had been out of work for 18 months, and we were struggling to make ends meet. Although my business had been steadily growing, it was coming down to decisions needing to be made. Because of the Oscar event my sales have grown and I have not had to look for a 9-5 job. I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason, and that just as I was losing sight of my dream, a door opened to show me that I was on the right path and should stay course.

My must-visit website
Facebook. It is my greatest networking tool for my business, and personally.

Advice to entrepreneurs on the SE Program
Do it. It is a wonderful experience to learn, to connect with like-minded people, and it is an excellent jumping board to launch your dream.

To learn more about Aly, visit her Facebook and Twitter pages, blog and website. And check out the story on her in the Burnaby NewsLeader.
Self Employment Program
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