Creemore’s darci-que creates her own digital main street
Creemore artist and entrepreneur darci-que does everything. Really, no exaggeration. She does everything. Of course, there’s art: “I draw every day of my life.” But there’s also the Hillview Cellars Winery shop. And the series of children books she’s written. And QUE balloon bouquets. And darci-que cakes. And the princess party planning. And the bed and breakfast. And the greeting card line.
“I've reinvented myself a million times,” says darci-que, who runs the majority of her businesses alongside her daughter Emily Fischl. Entrepreneurship seems to be inherent for darci-que, somewhere between reflex and reflection. When things get tough – a messy divorce, a challenging landlord, a pandemic – darci-que adjusts her trajectory, she fills the gaps with a business. “You have to learn to go around everything and find a way… I think that's the entrepreneurial spirit: you just find a way to get through it.”
darci-que has never had a hard time tying them together. That’s just her, creating is just her identity. The main street shopfront gives her a roof, a space to contain her constantly growing world. But that’s the thing about a constantly growing world: even if the centre holds, the walls won’t. darci-que is always expanding. Maybe that’s what has made being online so attractive to the entrepreneurial artist.
A caveat: darci-que considers herself far from “techie” but she is resourceful. So when she found out about the Digital Main Street program, which combines grants and one-to-one support from the Province of Ontario to help main street businesses strengthen their online capabilities, she threw herself into it. “I did it here in the store and it took me a long time,” says darci-que. But she committed and took notes.
There was a moment – a change – when she started to draw parallels between what she was learning and what she needed to do to set up her shop. “I was like, oh my god, I'm turning into a techie person… this can't be real.”
But that’s the point, it seems, darci-que is always turning into something. She’s not sitting around waiting for the future, she’s pushing her vision. And in a sense, the only world big enough to contain all that entrepreneurial vision while still having the room to grow is the digital world. And that’s what she’s done. She’s created a digital main street for herself. A space to house everything she does. A space that can continue to evolve even if it means learning how to become a “techie.” “I always told my daughter growing up, don't ever not do something because you're afraid. Just do it. And then if it doesn't turn out – worst-case scenario, it doesn't turn out.”
Written by Andrew Seale
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Microsoft, Facebook, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Yellow Pages and Lightspeed.
This case study was completed during a prior expansion of DMS in partnership with the Province of Ontario and Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
In June 2020, a $42.5-million investment from FedDev Ontario and an additional $7.45 million from the Government of Ontario brought together the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Communitech, Invest Ottawa and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association to expand the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital as a response to the impacts of COVID-19.