In Focus is our gift to the community. A way for us to help show our recognition for the people, businesses and organizations that help make our city great. The team at KelownaNow.com is passionate about this community and the people that make it amazing. We want to show our friends, neighbours, family and colleagues that we notice them and the fabulous things that they do.
What is your name?
Where are you from and how long have you lived in Kelowna?
Vancouver. I've lived in Kelowna for two years.
Who is your favourite person to spend time with and why?
Besides my family, my dragon boat teammates.
If you could go anywhere in the world right at this moment where would you go and why?
Nepal to volunteer and Bora Bora to relax. Opposite ends of the spectrum.
What is your favourite local store in Kelowna and why?
I love the vintage vibe and stylish clothing found at Georgie Girl.
What is your favourite activity?
Writing, decorating, skiing, paddling and shopping for prized vintage finds.
If you had to choose: pizza, tacos, or burgers?
Pizza. I love choices!
What is a hidden gem you enjoy in the Okanagan?
A favorite activity is hiking Knox Mountain to Paul's Tomb. Scraggy hillsides, dotted with pines and meadow flowers, frame the lake and make the climb worth the effort. The views are beautiful.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?
As a young adult I lived in Japan for two years teaching English and the cultural learning curve for me was steep. Though I experienced many embarrassing moments as a gaijin, one memory stands out as unfortunate. Walking through a very crowded underground subway, one of my heels broke off. I was left with two choices - walk barefoot or with one broken shoe. Neither choice seemed appealing so I broke the other heel and continued on my way with Peter Pan shoes. Instant new trend!
What is the most inspiring thing that has happened to you?
I've experienced many inspirational moments with people in my life, but the most inspiring experience I've had involved meeting survivors of the Rwandan genocide (when I travelled there in 2012). First world problems seemed irrelevant after what I learned from my time with several, courageous and strong Rwandans. Obstacles can be overcome and attitude is the key ingredient in moving forward in life.
Tell us your favourite childhood memory.
Family vacations. Whether catching fish alongside the Gulf Islands, picking fruit and boating in Kelowna or travelling through Mexico. We spent several summers in Kelowna picking fruit before swimming in the lake. A highlight included riding the go-karts. Kelowna has grown a lot since then but the memories are golden.
Where do you volunteer or give back to in the community?
Locally, I donate used books and clothing to the Salvation Army and book and clothing drives offered at banks and grocery stores. Last summer, I sponsored a student from Quebec through the YMCA exchange program. I also spent several years teaching young adults with learning disabilities at KPU and was inspired by my students and their desire to gain meaningful employment. A bit of mentoring can change a life.
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
Cruelty and hate stem from ignorance and fear. If people are happy with their environment and their world, they're more likely to contribute positively to it. So, education would be a good start. Ensuring all young people have access to meaningful, higher education is important. One of my own favorite sayings, "If we look for the bad in people, we'll find it. But if we look for the good, we'll find it too."
What is your favourite activity in Kelowna?
Writing, decorating, skiing, paddling and shopping for prized vintage finds.
Where would you sneak away to in Kelowna to spend some time alone?
Knox Mountain or Kettle Valley.
Where would you like to see positive change in Kelowna and why?
I think we live in an amazing city and anyone calling Kelowna home is lucky. There seems to be a lot of support on a local level toward newcomers, charitable causes and programs, and small businesses. I think Kelowna is heading in the right direction.
If you could be granted one wish for work or in life, what would it be?
To remain healthy and able to do what I love. Life is temporary so we need to get out there and enjoy it. I value the motto, 'work hard and play hard'. Life is too fleeting to fear taking career risks. Go after what you want and be good at it.
Tell us something that not everyone may know about you.
I've published three romance novels through a small publisher in New York.
What is the name of your business/organization?
Blushing Pear Vintage Rentals
What does your business do?
Blushing Pear provides event design services, customized for each client. We also offer quality and unique vintage rental items for all events, including weddings, showers, photo shoots, store displays, corporate and private gatherings and trade shows. We have several packages available for rent, including a pop-up wine or lemonade bar, dessert/favour table, photo booth and parlour seating.
Where can people find your business online?
http://blushingpear.com/ People may either fill in a request form on my site, or contact me by phone or email.
Why did you get into/start this business?
I've always had a passion and an eye for interior/exterior design. My husband and I purchased and built several new homes and learned a lot going through the selection process. Our last home on the coast was the 1998 PNE Prize Home, a 4,500 square foot home in dire need of renovation. We gutted and re-designed the home and re-landscaped the 1/4 acre property. It was a massive project but the finished result was worth it. Upon moving to Kelowna, I was approached and asked about home staging. While the idea is intriguing, I felt event design better suited my goals. I love aesthetics, and I notice small details everywhere I go. Working with people appeals to me and my mission is to lend my design skills to help clients realize their vision. With any event, you want to amaze your guests when they arrive. Generally, the nicer an atmosphere is, the longer guests will stay and mingle. The key is to understand the space and what you want your guests to do in that space. Incorporating clients' theme ideas is the starting point and we work from there.
What is the goal of your business?
To provide memorable, breathtaking event design and rentals for clients in Kelowna and the Okanagan. I feel privileged to be able to work in the 'Wedding Capital of Canada' and I hope to see continuous growth. I've acquired many beautiful vintage items with a daily growing inventory. Make sure to visit my website in mid-June. I'll be sharing images from an upcoming enchanted forest photo shoot.
What has been your biggest struggle either in work or life?
Balance. I tend to be a workaholic and go the extra mile in everything I undertake. I have high standards but I find at the end of a day, or a project, the end result is always worth the extra effort. Always.
If you could start all over again would you do things the same or would things be different?
Most likely I'd do it over again. Life is about experiences. I've led an interesting life thus far and I've never been afraid to challenge myself and try new things. I've accomplished a lot and feel lucky to have experienced the things I have.
Why do you think it is important to shop local?
A thriving community involves supporting small businesses. Without them, the landscape would look significantly different. Often, small businesses provide quality products and services as they must compete with larger companies. Their inventory changes more frequently as well, providing customers with new and unique items not found at larger stores. Shopping local and small businesses is also an experience. You get to meet the proprietors and exchange stories. Kelowna, from my experience, has been incredibly supportive and people generally want small businesses to succeed. We can all support local businesses by purchasing locally. Another thing to consider is Kelowna is home to people from all over the world and there are a lot of talented, creative people living in this city. Local businesses provide a window into the inhabitants and quality and uniqueness are found in abundance in the Okanagan.
Give someone that you think deserves it a shout out and explain why!
Alisha Khan Photography. Her website beautifully illustrates her skills and experience. I'm impressed with her branding and approachability, not to mention her photography skills. I'm excited to be collaborating with her for an upcoming, enchanted forest photo shoot.
My nomination for the In Focus spotlight is:
Alisha Khan of Alisha Khan Photography.
We encourage you to leave your comments and words of support below, and submit your own nomination by clicking HERE. You are also welcome to submit a form of your own by clicking HERE. Thank you, Kelowna!