For some, the passions they had in high school don’t continue into adult life. For others, those hobbies become a way to earn a living, which was the case with Brandy Dyer, who turned an interest in art into two Creston businesses: Imagine Ink in 2000 and Creative Fix last May.
“I was always interested in art in high school,” she said.
At the suggestion of former Prince Charles Secondary School art teacher Ute Bachinski. Dyer studied graphic design for three years in Medicine Hat, Alta., and after that held a couple of related jobs in Calgary.
She returned to Creston and worked at Gigabytes and then the Creston Valley Advance, but neither allowed her the creativity she needed.
“I either had to move back to the city or start a business. I wanted to work in graphic design, but there were no jobs here.”
Her father pushed her to start her own business, and she chose to start Imagine Ink, which would allow her to specialize in smaller products, such as business cards and other similar products. And in the summer of 2000, Imagine Ink was born, its first home being the Creston Valley Mall.
Although Dyer had plenty of graphic design and artistic knowledge, she was a bit apprehensive about opening the doors to customers. Again, advice from her father helped her out.
“My dad said, ‘If someone asks you to do something, say you’ll have it done in a week. Then figure out how to do it.’ ”
The advice kept Dyer going, and the business thrived, requiring a move to a larger downtown location a few years later, then another expansion and move to 139 10th Ave. N. in 2008.
Things have changed over the years, though — Imagine Ink caters a lot more to businesses now that many walk-in customers print things at home or via the Internet. So Dyer decided to make another change.
“I do love the business but there was no challenge left,” she said. “I needed a new thrill. I had started doing more art and creative things on the side. I wanted to explore that and work it into the business.”
When she and her fiancé visited Vancouver’s Granville Island and enjoyed its eclectic collection of retail shops, she realized that Creston needed something similar. That led to her opening Creative Fix in May 2012, with the new retail shop taking up the front portion of the store and Imagine Ink relocated to the back.
In the store, Dyer offers her own artwork, along with about 25 per cent of the inventory coming from local artists and 75 per cent from other, mostly Canadian, suppliers, creating a collection of gift ideas, from pottery — including an exclusive Pridham Studio design — to jewelry. To top it off, she added an extensive menu of specialty coffees.
“I wanted to try to be unique to Creston,” she said. “I’m trying to cater to a bit of a younger market. A lot of my friends were going out of town to buy birthday gifts in Sandpoint or Cranbrook.”
Locals have been very supportive, she added, which allows her to enjoy her favourite part of both businesses — the people.
“I love my customers,” she said. “I couldn’t sit in an office all day and not see people. Small businesses are about people.”