“Jobs of the Future” is a series focusing on career paths, local job opportunities, programs, and tales of success that highlight North Bay's diverse job market.
What started as a hobby for Angela Legere has now grown into a full-time business. Legere had been making glass as a hobby since 2005 and in 2013 she decided to pursue the idea of turning that hobby into something more.
“I ended up going to Sheridan College and taking a craft and design program,” says Legere, who graduated the program with honors in glass-forming.
“The program was a glass blowing program, and even though that is my trade I don’t have glass blowing equipment and so the next stepping-stone is with glass fusing,” says Legere who is the Owner and Operator of Incandescence Glass Studios in Callander.
“I create all fused glass objects, not stained glass, so specifically all kiln-formed glass. I create a lot of small gift items such as soap dishes and sun catchers, all the way up to large bowls and platters and some functional items as well,” says Legere.
Originally running her business out of Sundridge, Legere moved the Incandescence Glass Studios operations to Callander just over a year ago. She says the move has helped generate more business.
“We have close to 50,000 more people that are close by, being near North Bay. Before I was very much out in the country and while it was still popular it was more about advertising the workshops,” says Legere.
“Come January the roads were not very well maintained and so I just found people weren’t going out of their way to get to where I was. I still had lots of sales at the brewery and those types of places but there was certainly a slow period, which doesn’t seem to be happening now.”
Legere says the workshops, which she runs for groups between 1-8 people, have been a big attraction.
“Unlike before where I was just bringing everyone from the community together for a workshop, now it’s just you and your private group and it takes two hours. You show up, you make your pieces and then you would have to come back to pick them up within the next couple of days,” says Legere.
“People are really craving being with each other in those small groups right now. Some people come in and see my work and think that they can’t do it. They think they aren’t creative enough, and then they make something that they absolutely love and the next thing you know they are coming back to try and make something new. I’m finding the repeat business is just awesome.”
Legere adds she has had more custom orders since moving to Callander as well.
“People are looking for something different or unique and they like to give me their input as to what they are looking for which has been great.”
Legere says she also has her work in a few stores.
“Some will be going into Vested Interest in Callander in a few weeks. The South River Brewing Co. sells a lot of my stuff as well as Art of Muskoka.”
Legere says in Sundridge, the small local businesses did a great job working together to promote each other.
The Almaguin area was great for that. Customers would go in to the brewery for beer and then they would get sent to the distillery and then the distillery would send them to the bistro for lunch and that’s really a sign of all the businesses partnering together and working so well together in that small little area,” says Legere who adds she sees that same working relationship developing here.
“While I’m still fairly new to this area, I’m seeing that same thing happening here. I’m getting people from Sudbury and Huntsville coming in and doing work shops and they are staying at the local hotels and eating at the local restaurants and so its just a matter of more local businesses catching on to that and recommending each other.”
Legere says she’s also looking into expanding her online market.
“I was initially worried about the cost of shipping because some of my stuff is fairly heavy. I have a small online store which I’m slowly increasing but I’m keeping it to just my smaller items. Around this time of year I sell a lot of ornaments or Christmas Cards, things that can easily get sent out,” she says.
“If it is a pretty big order I would be more apt to deliver it myself or meet the client somewhere.”
Legere says she’s convinced that this can now be her sole focus.
“It feels amazing. I’m pretty confident that because it’s been busy enough I will be here full-time doing what I love to do,” she says.
If you have a story idea for the “Jobs of the Future” series, send Matt an email at email@example.com