Wow, sounds crazy to say it (or write it) – but it’s no joke – today, April 1st, 2021, We Are Creative Inc. celebrates 10 years in business.
As I sit and reflect on the past decade of WeRC, I’m flooded with so many memories – the highs and the lows, the good and the bad, and the successes and mistakes. Starting, building, and running my own business has been quite an amazing journey. Exciting, scary, challenging, rewarding, and most importantly character building. I have grown as a person, and I know I would not be who I am today if I did not become an entrepreneur.
I started We Are Creative as a rebound out a failed business partnership. I knew I had clients who still wanted to work with me, so I thought “it’s now or never” and I jumped in with both feet, not fully knowing what I was about to get myself into. It’s kind of ironic that I’ve come full circle and I’m back where I started – working out of the basement. Back in April 2011 my wife Sarah and I were still living in our basement apartment in Bolton. Soon after we moved into our first home, and my office moved on up to the spare bedroom. Not too long after that our first son, Bentley, was born, followed two years later by his brother, Sawyer, which meant WeRC was once again relegated to the basement. By this time I had established my business in the Bolton community and decided It was a good time to fly the coop. The timing was right, as the Caledon Chamber of Commerce just happened to have the perfect sized office for me to move into. As work started getting busier, it was time to finally hire my first “in-office” designer – Brooke. In 2014, WeRC was named New Business/Entrepreneur of the Year by the Chamber. By this point we were starting to out grow “the closet”, and found an awesome new space around the corner. By June 2015 we were all settled in to 26 McEwan Dr. W. #2. I can’t tell you how much I loved this office. Anyone who came to visit could feel our vibe as soon as they walked in the door. This was my home away from home, and sadly when COVID-19 hit last year I had to make the tough choice to move out and setup shop at home, in my basement. Full circle.
Over the years I’ve been extremely fortunate to work with some great companies, like my first ever client All-Lift, new start-ups such as AC Waste Services, delicious beverage companies like Pommies Cider and Caledon Hills Brewing, and of course, the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA). If you’ve been around for a few years you’ll know all about my involvement with women’s hockey, which started when I hired Rebecca Vint, who at the time was playing for the Brampton Thunder in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL). As a well informed hockey fan, I had no idea there even was a pro women’s hockey league (nor what role I was to play in the future of women’s hockey, but that’s a story for another time.) But what I will say, fast forward to this past February. As I sat on my couch watching the PWHPA play the first ever professional women’s hockey game at Madison Square Garden, I had a moment. The game was heading to commercial break, and the PWHPA logo was prominently showcased across the screen. The logo I designed. Broadcasting live across North America on Sportsnet and the NHL Network. And being used for a professional sport. As a graphic designer I felt accomplished and extremely proud – too be honest, it was a dream come true and something I will remember for ever. But what was even more important was how I felt personally. Finally the public was able to watch professional women’s hockey live on TV and find out first hand how amazing these players are. Women deserve that same opportunities as men – whether in sports, in business, or in life in general. Of all the things I’ve done through my business, nothing has been more important or has made as much of an impact as the work I’ve been doing to support and promote the PWHPA. It has been an honour to be able to contribute to such an important change in society, and I’m so grateful and proud of the small role I have played in this historic movement.
Well, if you’re still with me I have some people to thank. First and foremost my family. My wife Sarah has always been my biggest cheerleader. She’s the only one who truly knows all my successes and failures, and still loves me for it. My boys, Bentley and Sawyer – my two greatest creations. I can’t wait to see what greatness they will both create in our world. And of course the rest of my family – my parents and in-laws, my sister and all my brothers-in-law, my cousins, aunts and uncles, and my friends. You’ve all been so supportive – many of you have even been my clients – and I thank you all. Speaking of clients, there are way too many to thank, but if you have ever been a customer of We Are Creative, I thank you for your trust in my services. Over the years I have had a number of amazing employees – some full-time, some freelance, and some co-op. Much thanks to Erin, Brooke, Becca, Melissa, Tina, Angie, Sabrina, Paul, Alessia, and Colin – I’ve enjoyed working with you all. Last but not least, my suppliers, colleagues, and mentors. Some of you may have no idea how influential or important of a role you have played in my business, but I thank you all for your partnership, advice, inspiration, and camaraderie – Simon; Steve; Arlene; Judy; UF; Melissa; Geoff; Charlene; Richi, Chris & Barb; Gary & Nadia; Scott, Bryan & Mel; Benson & Sylvie; Ellen & Becky; Jeff, Anna & Anna; Bret; Caroline; Kay; Liz; Mary; Matt; Sheralyn; Shirley; Suzanne; Tammy; Terrance; Tyler; Knoxy, Chelsea, and Jayna.
This past year dealing with COVID-19 has been tough for We Are Creative and myself, as it has for many businesses. But it’s given me time to reflect and evaluate the road I’ve traveled. There have been a lot of twists and turns, peaks and valleys, but at the end of this 10 year trip I can say with great certainty that I’ve done a lot of great work. I’ve help helped a ton of businesses, I’ve supported many charities and local organizations in our community, and I’ve been part of a movement that will change our world for the better. All the while I’ve been able to be a hands on and involved father to my 2 boys, and for that, I wouldn’t change a thing. But it’s time for a change, and my family has decided it’s time to move on from Bolton to begin a new chapter of our lives in Barrie. So, what will happen with We Are Creative? Well, only the universe knows (…and maybe Arlene and Judy) but I have already started to reposition myself as a freelancer and the face of the company (quite literally too, see my logo below.) But wherever this new fork in the road takes me and my WeRC, please don’t ever hesitate to stop and say hi!
With much gratitude, your friend,
Steve Conforti, President
We Are Creative Inc. / WeRC Sports (formerly Sports Marketing All Stars)
new email: Steve@SteveConforti.com | call/text: 416.704.1290