Donna Walsh of Cricket Cove takes knitting to a new level. With a passion for knitting,this former nurse has a location in Black's Harbour that would amaze and impress the seasoned knitter or hobbyist the same. "I have a passion for knitting! says the energic entrepreneur. Now with a network of over 50 knitters from across the province and three locations, Cricket Cove is a destination, an absolute"to do list"for those who love this art.
Originally from Beaver Harbour, New Brunswick, Donna completed the three year Registered Nursing program in Saint John,a Public Health Nursing certificate from Dalhousie University and a Bachelor of Science degree from Mount Saint Vincent University.With years of education and experience this entrepreneur made her home in New Brunswick where she married and had three children.
Knitting was always a part of Donna's life,having begun this creative endeavour at the age of six. According to Mrs. Walsh, 'I taught people to knit while at university and at the hospital while on shift work"
After finishing nursing,this savvy entrepreneur wanted to find something new. As knitting was always a part of her life,opening a business seemed a natural progression. She opened Cricket Cove in 1997 with literally "two needles and a ball of yarn" Once she could not meet the growing demand from her clients,she advertised for other knitters,hence her large network across the province. There is even now a wait list of people who would like to work for her.
Donna carries ready to wear knit items such as sweaters,hats and mitts and also has a multitude of exotic fibres from around the world. To have such a vast array of products,Donna did a lot of research and travelled extensively throughout the world to such places as Chile,Morocco,Portugal Peru and the US. For example,she carries sari silk made by the women of Nepal, cashmere, buffalo fibre from the United States, bamboo, hemp, 100% sugarcane yarn, a yarn made from pure milk and soy to name a few. In addition she has introduced a new line of Cricket Cove luxury fibres which has proven very popular.
To describe her business,Donna would say it is "fast paced". Donna works round the clock to ensure her products are ordered,delivered,she liaises with the knitters,designs products and prepares yarn. She is very "hands on" in her business, managing nine employees at her Moncton,Black's Harbour and Saint John locations. Furthermore,there are many teachers who provide classes, as well herself,...the classes,workshop and retreats have proven to be a large component of her business.
The most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur is it fulfills a passion. 'I can't wait to get to work-I arrive early and stay late. I am fortunate to be doing somethin I love! I love seeing people enjoy what they do.'
What sets Cricket Cove apart from its competitors is it's "destination like quality" People from New Brunswick and beyond make this part of their vacation or part of their outing.Walsh said she recently served a couple from Kenya. It seems that when people love to knit,they will seek out the best location to fuel their needs. Also,Cricket Cove is known for unique nature of products,their good service and the amount of inventory.
If Donna could give advice to aspiring business owners or entrepreneurs,"it must be something you love.Be prepared to work hard! Also,find and hire people who know more about business than you" She also mentions the importance of 'being on top of trends'-you always need the new and different!"
Donna has benefitted from a course put on by the NB Association of CBDC's and says "I met a lot of people. It's nice to know there is help out there. Sometimes you just need a starting point".Donna also attends conferences and trade shows in Columbus,Ohio, Atlantic City and Torontoto see new product lines and meet with suppliers and designers.
Donna believes it is important to give back in business. She is a sponsor for Juvenile Diabetes Researh and sponsors different community endeavours. Most recently, Cricket Cove is collecting preemie hats to be donated to neonatal units of local hospitals.
Cricket Cove clients range from all age groups and all walks of life but Walsh says that 'young professional women' are her largest niche market with a growing number of men interested.
Donna Walsh of Cricket Cove is 'Putting a new face on Knitting' and promoting this creative art as relaxing,fun and full of passion.