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WOMEN AT WORK: DANI VONSHWEETZ

 

What made you start doing the amazing things that you do?

When I was fresh out of high school, I wanted to pursue art but the idea was not well received by anyone- It wasn’t a job title that was really encouraged or even offered as an option in school at that time! So, I decided to pivot and head down a different path- I went to the College of Esthetics and became an Esthetician. Fast forward to my late twenties… I had a successful career going, I had a house, I was engaged. But I was unfulfilled. I wasn’t enjoying esthetics or my relationship. So 3 months before the wedding, I called it off. This led to me leaving my home AND leaving my job.

This time period completely changed my way of thinking. There was a lot of opinions coming at me about what I should do next. But I was beautifully broken at that point. The cracks in my spirit were letting the light in and I started to realize that everyone's opinions were filtered through their childhood, experiences, belief systems and their limitations.

I met my husband that same year and the following year we had our first baby, Zoey. Having Zo magnified what I had already figured out at this point; Other people’s opinions are not facts, life is meant to be lived, and mistakes are an essential part of the living experience.

When Zoey was 2, I opened North Soul Studios. For an extended period of time, my only clients were my moms. They bought most of my items. At that time, I made growth charts and painted mason jars. It took me time to figure out my talents and find my lane. What I discovered, is that EVERYONE has a lane! It's special, it's unique, and it's yours.

Did you complete any training? If not, how did you learn your trade/skill?

My creative and business training is scattered; I took many years of private art lessons as a child, high school art and woodworking classes, a Bob Ross ’The Joy of Painting' class, and a Chalk painting course. I also took went to CNC and took a 6 month course on accounting prior to opening North Soul so I could learn a little bit more about money, and also completed all the of the Jilly Academy courses!

When I began to dive back into artwork in my late 20's, I gathered old art supplies, carpentry tools, and even a miter saw, which I had never used before. Incidentally, I found that the previous art classes I had taken, didn't compare to the teachings I was encountering right there in my garage- Creativity stems from creativity. The more you use the more you have! Maybe people say 'Follow Your Passion', but I think a more accurate quote pertaining to my journey, is 'Follow Your Curiosity'.

What do you want people to know about being a woman in your field?

Do not waver from your more naturally feminine traits to fit in amongst a sea of men. A lot of what women have been socialized to do like being empathic, vulnerable, having high self-awareness, and awareness of others, are AMAZING leadership skills; There’s no need to transform your organic skillset to become more masculine and hard in your leadership.

What are the top five things that are always in your pockets?

Sawdust, my cell phone, a hair elastic, a toy dinosaur, and a post it with the names of the people I love.

Tell us something surprising about you.  

My two front teeth are fake, I'm an introverted extrovert, I got goosebumps when I'm hot, My husband and I delivered our son alone in the dining room and I can make my shoulder blades pop.

How do you encourage other women to start doing what you do?

Block the noise. People sometimes do not understand the entrepreneurial mindset, they may feel we're cringe worthy for opening up online or diminish the solopreneur path… it's just noise. And to be honest, a lot of that may be in your own head.

Most people around us ARE supportive!

It’s important to remember that because we are the average of the five people we hang out with most! And that includes yourself! So be sure to train your brain for success. Do affirmations before bed every night. And reevaluate where you spend your time. Surround yourself with people who pump your tires! If you need to do a friends cleanse, that does not mean they are bad people- it means your are increasing your sense of purpose and belonging.

Who’s a role model who helped you in your journey to where you are?

With so many ventures ticked off her business bucket list (hosting Love it or List it, creating a clothing line with Joe Fresh, a Christmas Line with Canadian Tire and co-founding the JillyBox to name a few), you may assume Jillian Harris has perched herself on a (beautifully designed) platform.

This past year, I personally discovered that Jillian has indeed created a platform- The platform, however, has been built large enough for everyone. Furthermore, it’s also adorned with inclusivity, dirty jokes, and good wine.

After being fortunate enough to meet and speak with Jillian on a few separate occasions this past year, she’s inspired me not only to pursue my dreams but to also rest up in between the goal getting, focus on connection over competition, and stay true to what's important, business-wise and personally. She has become a brave captain of the influencer ship, but remains a small town merrymaker at heart.

If you could give your 20-year-old-self advice, what would it be?

Define what your success is and then start showing up for it. Your body and soul has carried you this far in life and I know it hasn't been easy. You owe this to yourself. There is not one path to reach your success. There are 1000 ways to peel a potato. We know that we all have different filters, beliefs, family life, and privileges, so your path is going to look different from others. You have to work, and fail, to find what will propel you forward.


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