Tanis Thomas, the founder of Manitoba made Boreal Workshop, has been nothing short of successful. If you do not already know, Boreal Workshop is based out of Pinawa, MB and sells handmade jewelry. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, things have slowed down. However, Tanis was able to figure out a way to continue selling her products through e-commerce platforms like Etsy, her website, and newly, #ShopLocalMB.
In response to the current pandemic, Tanis has adjusted with the curve and has invested in plastic ring sizers that are shipped to the customer so that they can self-size in a safe manner. “It’s been challenging and interesting to find new ways to figure out what type of jewelry my customers want if we can’t meet in person,” says Tanis. As a former information technology teacher, she’s familiar with “instructing people through positive, encouraging language and troubleshooting,” she adds.
In 2016, Tanis and her family moved to Pinawa, MB and joined the North Forge East Startup Program right after she came up with the idea of building a customized & handmade jewelry workshop, which draws lots of her inspiration from the local surroundings, as well as her Indigenous culture. "My experience working with North Forge East has been wholly positive, the support and expertise available are invaluable and the services have assisted me with moving my business from a small part time operation to a professional online retailer that designs and manufactures handmade fine jewellery and functional art objects" says Tanis. She explains that she is Thunderbird Clan which is tied to copper, and with this, she uses copper as an element in her business. She also creates jewelry in a way that tells a story.
Tanis is currently taking courses to obtain her Commerce degree in addition to managing her business. By her side is her husband when it comes to collaborating on design and production. Boreal Workshop started in 2015 as a part time business. Her business idea came from her initial interest in art, gemmology, and working with metal. While business has been slowed down with COVID-19, 2020 was the first year marked as full-time operation. While challenges were present with the COVID-19 pandemic, Tanis has always wanted to sell her products online.
Online interactions can be difficult, however Tanis admits that selling online through the COVID-19 pandemic, that it has strengthened her relationships with her customers. She adds, “I think it’s because we’re all so separated that people want to connect with things that bring happy memories and feelings. And if Boreal Workshop can be part of that, then I’m all for it.”
To shop Boreal Workshop, please visit her website at borealworkshop.com. Alternatively you can find her on Etsy, and Instagram.
For all things North Forge East, please visit our website at northforgeeast.ca