A: Currently, yes. As full time as you can get with raising a 5 month old and running a Bed & Breakfast (Encil House in Gibson's). The whole purpose of starting this was to enjoy being with my son Christian this summer outside at the local markets. It has since turned into a whole lot more.
Q: Why lemons?
A: This is a big question and one that deserves a nice long answer. That's why we've dedicated a few sections of facts for this little yellow super fruit. Why did I chose lemons? Well, because I love them but more importantly who doesn't love the scent, the taste and sight of lemons? It's a funny thing how people go crazy over them.
Q: Do you grow the lemons on the Sunshine Coast?
A: Well, it would be fitting with a name like the Sunshine Coast but unfortunately not. We still live in a rain forest here in British Columbia, Canada although here in Gibson's we do get more sunshine than our Vancouver neighbours.
Q: Where do you get your lemons then?
A: In my other "professional" life, I work for a big advertising agency. During my maternity leave I helped out an old client to develop their brand. It's an All Goodness Market called Nutrifoods. They very graciously hooked me up with a California Organics company that I get my lemons from.
Q: Who did the Laughing Lemon brand?
A: I did the positioning and lead creative direction. My friend David did the design.
Q: Do you have a licensed kitchen?
A: My current distribution does not require me to have one so no I don't. I do however operate a licensed bed & breakfast and have been accredited with the Food Safety Course for BC. Our recipes too have been approved by local government authorities. If we ever grow into a bigger company than our next step would be to partner with a local kitchen here in Gibson's.
Q: Do you market the fact your products are made on the Sunshine Coast?
A: Yes, but not overtly for now. To be honest, we've been moving at lightening speed so I haven't really worked out the marketing piece. Bad I know for a marketer but for now I've been really focussing on my product. We do see potential for "made with love on the sunshine coast" items for those looking for something from here. Of course being transparent with who we are and what and how we prepare our treats is also important. The world is all moving to want to "know" the baker's, the butcher's, the farmer's, the cook's that grow and prepare their food which is very motivating these days, and for good reason.
Q: Is there a lot of "made on the coast" type products available to people?
A: Again, to be honest, I haven't really looked but it would be great if there were. I know some Holy Crap people. They provided one of our bed and breakfast guests a supply of it for a bike ride he was doing across Canada to raise money for Huntingdon's Disease. To make a life on the Sunshine Coast, you need to get creative and the more people that do, the better it is for all of us.
Q: Will you ever expand your distribution?
A: Quite possibly but for now I am only biting off what I can handle myself (along with a little help from my friends). The next step in our lifecycle will be to expand our reach through the Farmer's Markets in BC. I've been thinking a lot about this and have a few interesting ideas we will try next summer.
Q: Speaking of friends, you seem pretty busy. Do you make all your products yourself?
A: Yes, but I do have help. My mum-in-law pitches in with dishwashing and making tea for our mini breaks. She also helps watching Christian (not bad for 91 years of age!) My nanny, May (who we call May May) also helps with preparation and packaging. My husband helps by watching our son too but of course they are there in the middle of it as Christian loves the smell of lemons. It's one big family affair.