Raise your hand if you learned how to bake bread in 2020?
How about whipped coffee? Did you try your hand in tie-dye?
The coronavirus pandemic forced us all to find new and creative ways to pass time, connect with family and friends, and be creative.
Windows were plastered with cardstock rainbows, knitting and embroidery supplies were cleared from craft store shelves, and people all over the world learned how to give themselves a less than perfect at-home haircut.
But mother Sylvia, and daughter Meaghan, were no strangers to the world of homemade crafts and hands-on creativity. For them, the COVID-19 pandemic was the catalyst for launching a small business that sells handmade goods for every occasion.
We guarantee you’ll love their eco-friendly, community-focused values and we hope you’ll pay them a visit the next time you’re shopping for a birthday, housewarming, baby shower, bridal shower, or anniversary gift.
I had the chance to sit down with Sylvia Rassi, and Meaghan Kilmartin from @gardenofdaisiesco and talk about their latest passion project and website launch.
Continue below for the full story.
It’s safe to say that the love of crafting runs in this family. I was fortunate enough to call Meaghan Kilmartin - co-founder of Garden of Daisies - my best friend in high school, which means that I saw this duo’s craftiness firsthand.
"We had always loved crafting. Whether it was scrapbooking, watercoloring, or even making handmade cards. I mean, I don't think I've ever bought a card from the store. It's just always something we've done."
- Meaghan Kilmartin, co-founder of Garden of Daisies
I still have some of the cards and handwritten notes Meaghan made me (or passed to me in class) in our high school years.
Meaghan’s house was always the coolest place to go because it was equipped with everything you could dream of; whether it was scrapbooking supplies, embroidery thread for friendship bracelets, or even a trampoline, some of my fondest memories are in Meaghan’s backyard.
For Sylvia, the love of crafting and DIY projects dates even further back.
Meaghan has been a competitive Irish dancer for the last twenty years and has competed at an elite level across the globe.
For those of you who don’t know, the world of Irish Dance is not only one of grace, athleticism, and stamina, but also one of sparkle, beauty, and a little bedazzling.
Traditional Irish Dance competition costumes are clad with shimmering Swarovski crystals and matching headpieces. Women and girls typically wear a wig or hairpiece, and their dresses are usually embroidered with traditional Irish patterns and prints.
Throughout Meaghan’s dance career, Sylvia took on the task of hand gluing, sewing, and stitching all of Meaghan’s headpieces as well as those of the other dancers at Meaghan’s dance school.
As if by fate, “Garden of Daisies”, a title suggested by Meaghan’s sister is, in fact, the name of a traditional Irish dance.
Since then, the pair is always on the hunt for their next craft or opportunity to express themselves.
"We got a Cricut machine - which is like the crafter's dream - and started testing the limits of what we could do with it. We also downloaded the app Procreate which allowed us to start experimenting with digital art and graphic design."
- Meaghan Kilmartin
It came as absolutely no surprise to me to find out that it was the encouragement of family and friends that prompted Meaghan and Sylvia to take on the endeavor of turning their love of crafting into a small business.
A conversation over the dinner table with Meaghan’s sister started the pair on the path towards what is now Garden of Daisies.
In just under three months, the duo’s project went from a conversation over dinner to a self-made start-up and website launch.
Meaghan spent the majority of April, May, and June setting up their Instagram account, photographing their (stunning) products, and putting together their online shop.
On June 26th, 2021, Meaghan and Sylvia officially launched their website, and it’s safe to say it was an overwhelming success.
"We were overwhelmed with the response and the support from so many of our friends and family members. It's been so exciting connecting with our loved ones, and we're looking forward to reaching a wider audience and gaining customers within the community."
- Meaghan Kilmartin
Currently, Garden of Daisies carries handmade scrunchies, macrame keychains, stickers and pins digitally designed by Meaghan and Sylvia, and even an adorable daisy printed tote bag. That being said, they are always adding to their collection and launching new products, which you won’t want to miss.
If you haven’t by now fallen in love with them, let me give you yet another reason why they’re great.
In June of 2021, Meaghan graduated from McGill University with a bachelor’s degree in Bioresource Engineering which means that being environmentally conscious and sustainability-driven is at the forefront of her priorities.
Whenever possible, they seek out fabric for their scrunchies made from natural resources such as cotton or linen and steer away from synthetic options at all costs. Their clear packaging – which at first glance appears to be plastic – is in fact biodegradable, and all of their shipping materials and envelopes are recyclable or compostable.
"It's been tricky because so often the cheaper materials are the ones that aren't good for the environment and as a start-up, you're always trying to remain cost-effective but we're not willing to sacrifice ecology for economy."
- Meaghan Kilmartin
Among countless other lessons, these past 18 months have taught us the importance and the value of shopping local and supporting small businesses.
In supporting Meaghan and Sylvia, you are supporting a pair of people who are passionate about providing the best quality possible in all of their products. They love what they do, and it's evident in the product they put forward. They truly have a gift for every occasion and celebration. They even offer custom orders to cater to any individual need or request you may have.
As the world opens up and restrictions continue to lift, it is important to remember the value in shopping local and supporting the hard work done by people just like you and me over this past year.
We can’t wait for you to fall in love with this DIY duo just as we have.
For more information and to support Meaghan and Sylvia, visit https://gardenofdaisies.ca/