Living and working from home in Milton, Lena has made a name for her business Muse Signs. Originally from Scotland, Lena, a trained graphic designer, had her own sign business where she designed, supplied and installed commercial signs. Occasionally she created residential projects for family and friends.
When she moved to Canada, she concentrated more on the residential side of her business, as it enabled her to work from home while her children were young. She was able to build her business and do what she loved until she got to a stage where she was confident enough to go out on her own.
“My background and experience is graphic and interior design, so I continued to do what I do and it just took off” Lena said. “It’s just been word of mouth here in Milton and the feedback has been fantastic, Milton is a great networking community that supports local. I know that and I am grateful.”
Bit by bit one thing led to another. Exciting opportunities came her way from influential people who had noticed her work and contacted her. In the last couple of years she has been featured on the Marilyn Denis show a number of times, and last year had the chance to participate in a home makeover for a deserving couple. She was so excited for this opportunity, and says “she had to pinch herself now and again to remember it really happened.”
Last year she was awarded the contract to provide the signage for TIFF ’15 in Toronto which “was an amazing experience and very high profile”. She considers herself fortunate to work with people she admires; whether they are local interior designers or celebrity designers. She looks for opportunities to help with fundraisers in Milton; including designing a camel for the Milton Optimists club or decorating houses for the United Way Christmas House Tour. “I actually jumped at the chance to help with the United Way Christmas House tour as it’s a project that I enjoy and get to create wonderful spaces where I am allowed to really go for it!”
After gaining success with a number of commercial clients, Lena has opened her new studio at 143 Main Street East where she not only meets commercial clients and creates her ideas, but has created a unique market place for other local crafters and artists to come together to share skills and ideas.
“I am always working with my hands making stuff. Having a space in town where I can paint and create items, and share them with other people who have the same mindset is exciting to me.” She looks forward to learning from other artists, and having a great space for people to be creative. “I want people to just come in and enjoy the space, we have made it bright and relaxing, an inspirational space to work in.”
For her, Downtown Milton was the ideal spot for her studio market. “I have been thinking about it for years. I knew where I would like to be but never thought it would be possible. I’ve looked at different units and stores but I loved the Downtown feel.” Lena said. “When this space came up I just came in and took a look at it, could visualize it
and just fell in love with the space. It just works and is such a feel good space. I feel a sense of responsibility being here and will keep it fresh and my little piece of Main Street pretty so you’ll enjoy it, even if you’re just driving by”.
By offering people a chance to sign up and engage in classes to create original crafts, Lena is engaging the community to unlock their hidden artist. “The website is under construction but it should be up soon. You’ll be able to register for workshops and check out the different classes that are coming up,” Lena said.
One of the featured crafts, a vintage looking decorative ladder, is just one of the classes offered in Lena’s studio. “Because we are in Milton we have these ladders made to look vintage,” Lena said. “I wanted to put my spin on it so we put “The Town of Milton 1857” on it just to have that bit of nostalgia because it’s your home, your town, to give it that vintage look and just to be different from everywhere else. You can style it with paint, and add a vintage looking light fixture.”
“We also have the Market which is full of local talent. I am amazed at the creativity and quality from in and around Milton. It makes you feel proud, we are such a creative town but many just don’t know it. People working from home and to such a high standard, it needs and should be showcased somewhere.”