Story by TINA HENNIGAR
When you walk into Skysail Brand’s headquarters in Mahone Bay, it’s hard not to get inspired. Perhaps it’s the crisp colour scheme of black and white with punches of vibrant colour, or the thoughtfully curated quotes speckled throughout the space that encompasses the entire second floor of a large Victorian style building above the iconic Suttles and Seawinds store. Perhaps it’s the boldness of the marketing material being created there. Perhaps it’s knowing that, working with this team of designers, the possibilities are endless. For me, it’s the people who make the Skysail Brand and its space so special.
Every time I visit Skysail Brand, I get this feeling – this feeling of audaciousness, suddenly I’m feeling braver; cooler even. Skysail Brand designed the magazine you’re reading and we at NOW Lunenburg County consider them an extension of our team and we lean on their creative genius often.
Meg Craig is the creative director behind Skysail Brand. Originally from Pictou County, Nova Scotia, Meg moved to Toronto to work at a marketing agency with top brands such as PlayStation and Virgin Mobile, and she even helped launch the Smart Car brand in Canada. This ‘small town girl’ was a small fish in a big pond with her high school boyfriend, Justin Wiens, who worked for Yamaha. When they married and became pregnant with their first child, the busyness and thrill of the city lost its allure. They now longed to provide the same Nova Scotia childhood they had enjoyed for their children.
“We were like ships passing in the night,” Meg shared from one of the meeting spaces in Skysail Brand. “It took hours to get anywhere. We made a conscious decision that we wanted our kids to be from Nova Scotia.” Justin bought Shore Cycle, a popular powersports dealership just outside of Mahone Bay, perfectly situated off the 103 Highway. Meg could work from anywhere as a freelance contributor with her Toronto employer. But Meg, who never shied away from hard work, grew restless. “I always knew I wanted to do this creative work every day and I wasn’t going to stop because I had children. It’s so important for kids to see their mother doing what she loves.”
Once Meg made the decision to craft her own boutique design house, she looked for resources in the community. “I looked up the Mahone Bay Chamber of Commerce and talked to them about what I could do. I designed baby clothes for a local baby store. I did family and wedding photos. I did whatever I had to do.” When her second child was born, she hired someone to come in to help. “She’d take the baby when I got a call, and just did things to allow me to be a hands-on
mom and entrepreneur.”
“I loved working from home. I didn’t want to work in what looked like an office. When we outgrew that space, we wanted to make sure that this space felt like home,” Meg shared about intentionally making this space feel comfortable for her team of women. “I enjoy working with men, but I understand women. I know that when your child is sick, you might need to work from home. And I need to work with people who understand that about me as an employer.”
Not a lot of grass grows under Meg and Justin’s feet. He’s building a new dealership, and for her part, while she doesn’t want to get to be a big design firm with dozens of employees, Meg continually focuses on growing the customer base with services that include coaching, web design and management, social media training, and even brainstorming.
“It’s just such a pleasure to think we have had an impact on the local economy while helping people be successful,” Meg said of what she and her team does at Skysail Brand. “I absolutely love living here,” Meg said about Lunenburg County. Gone are the days when she and Justin were ships passing in the night, having to spend hours in traffic. Her home, her office, her children’s school are within shouting distance.