Finding Balance Through Art
Micah Nelson established her holistic wellness, art, and education business, Balance First Workshops in 2012. She originally began it as a yoga company, however she knew that she wanted to add more workshops and services in the future.
Growing up, Micah was deeply inspired to empower youth as a participant in the Trails Youth Initiative, which is a children’s charity for inner city and vulnerable youth. Micah says,
“Through Trails, I received a bursary to attend McGill University, where I studied International Developmental Studies. While on my internship in Botswana I became inspired by my neighbours' children to teach yoga since they would ask me to teach them almost daily.”
This experience filled Micah with a passion for supporting youth and women through yoga, wellness, and education. Over the years Micah was certified as a teacher with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), became a registered yoga instructor, a natural health practitioner, and a therapeutic arts coach. Micah says,
“Visual art has always been very therapeutic for me, so I naturally returned to the arts and began teaching mindful art classes to the incredible young ladies from the Jean Augustine Centre.”
A portion of all of her sales goes to children's charities, The Jean Augustine Centre for Young Women’s Empowerment, and Trails Youth Initiatives. One of Micah’s goals is to provide continuous support to the community.
Through this work, Micah established the Balanced Arts Collective which is a group of dynamic female artists who share their art work and donate proceeds to charities that help to empower women and benefit the next generation.
Most of Micah’s work was completed in person, but due to COVID-19 all of that changed. She was able to do some workshops in parks, however as the seasons changed and it got colder, she knew she had to move online. Micah came across The ShopHERE powered By Google Program and knew that this was the program for her. She states,
“This service was incredibly beneficial because I was intimidated and a bit overwhelmed when I thought about doing a Shopify store. I don't know if I would have done it otherwise.”
However, through The ShopHERE powered by Google Program she was able to learn how to build her website, manage the eCommerce side of it, and market her site for all her new and returning customers to see. Micah says this about The ShopHERE Program,
“I think that The ShopHERE Program is great! I seriously need some hand holding because online technical stuff can be a bit overwhelming for me. I had wanted to do a Shopify store for months but it was this program that actually got me moving to accomplish this goal. The eCommerce Coordinator was so patient and helpful! I felt really supported and cared about.”
With the help of her eCommerce Coordinator, Micah was able to learn how comprehensive and easy it can be to get online! Micah has this to say about her eCommerce Coordinator, “I think that the eCommerce Coordinator was helpful and extremely patient. I was having some personal issues when we first began but she was very sweet and supportive and even celebrated my first sale with me.”
Micah has this advice to share with other small businesses, “My advice would be to get creative, get online and see this time as an awesome opportunity to tap into online business. Getting online does not have to be scary, there is support that can really make this process fun and easy. Just trust in the process and take the leap.”
Since getting online, BalancedArts has been thriving. Micah has been making sales and reaching broader audiences. Micah urges other small businesses to join the ShopHERE Program. She says,
“They also give you tips and tools to maximize your website that I would not have known otherwise. The Coordinator is also a great accountability buddy so if you thrive on having someone there to support you, this would be a great fit. Finally, they give additional support to maximize your online success like Facebook advertising credits and other technical advice.”
Coming up in 2022, Micah will be leading art and wellness retreats in Costa Rica.
Participants of the BalancedArts Wellness Retreat will feel inspired, rejuvenated and balanced with the rich blend of visual arts, yoga and Ayurveda. This experience is especially designed for caregivers and educators. The retreat will run from March 12th-19th, 2022. Summer retreat dates will be announced shortly.
You can check out information on the retreat and Micah’s empowering and healing BalancedArts here.
If you know of, or are a small business that would like to get online, you can learn more about the ShopHERE Program here.
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.
Continued investment from the Province of Ontario, through the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT) has allowed the ongoing expansion the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital across Ontario.