Jennifer Fiander is the owner and operator of Lil’ Angel Gifts, an internet-based business that offers specialty journals, and note cards. A teacher by trade, Jennifer Fiander, never intended on starting her own business, and fell into it quite by accident. After her first son Cameron was born, she made a cute little book called “Instruction Manual for Babies”. When her husband saw the first version of it (fully bound and completed), he thought she had purchased it. He encouraged Jennifer to sell it, and after getting a few orders through family and friends for baby showers, she saw the book’s value as a business opportunity.
Soon after, this enterprising woman produced her second item, which was a record book for parents of special needs children. Jennifer says, “I made this book for my own personal use, because I needed a little record book to help me track my son’s medical history. At this point, she listed the book on eBay and was amazed to watch the eagerness at which people bid on the book- because other parents truly needed such a resource too.” Her company’s name of course was inspired by Cameron who was born with Angelman Syndrome.
So, as a savvy women in business, she approached her local CBDC (at that point in Nova Scotia), with a business plan and received their support with a business loan and a training allowance to help her grow this exciting business.
With the needs of her child being too extensive to return to her teaching career, the opportunity of owning her own business allowed Jennifer to “Create a “job” for myself, and work around my son’s needs and his schedule. It was a flexibility I didn’t have from a teaching job, or another 9-5 job.”
According to Jennifer, the most rewarding aspect is that she continues to be able to express her creativity. “I’ve always been a very creative person, and I get to use this strength when I design my products, build my website, and in how I decide to market my products and business.”
The intimacy of Jennifer’s products, how her company originated, & her philosophy set this entrepreneur apart from her competitors. “Most of my products are very sentimental and unique items. The relationship journals really pull at people’s heartstrings, particularly the wedding ones. I also offer a few special needs related items, and these are greatly appreciated by parents and teachers who value these resources.”
“If I were to give advice to someone who was considering starting their own business, I would suggest that they choose something they are really passionate about pursuing. An entrepreneur needs a driving force behind them that will keep them going when times are tough. Be willing to adapt, and ask for help if you need it.”
The CBDCs have given Jennifer wonderful support. “I particularly appreciate the training allowance that accompanied the loan- had it not been for that training allowance, I would likely not have accessed all the training opportunities that I have the past few years.”
Jennifer recently won eBay Canada’s 2008 Mompreneur of the Year Award. When asked how this award has helped her Jennifer says, “EBay has been a large part of my business, so being recognized in that community is very meaningful. I truly am a “mompreneur”, in that I am working around the needs of my children, and my company evolved because of my children. I believe the recognition of this award will help potential customers connect with me, and build their trust, which is very important for internet-based transactions. It helps put a face to the name, and to humanize me; many customers enjoy dealing with a real person, rather than a big store or retail chain.
An important part of Jennifer's mission is to keep supporting special needs and community causes, and as the business grows, their contributions will also grow. I am sure many new and exciting projects will be in store for Lil’ Angel Gifts.