Clumsy Cactus: Spinning tragedy into success

jill n jillReceiving bad news is often hard and overwhelming, but sometimes it is in our darkest hours that we are inspired to create something wonderful. This was the case for good friends Jill Barlow, a coop student in Arts and Business and Laurier student Jill Zitars, who were inspired to start Clumsy Cactus when Jill Z. was diagnosed with lymphoma. In an act of friendship and entrepreneurial zest they came together during a time of tragedy and created something that brings joy not only to their lives, but also to the people who join their clumsy community.

A sideways, but none-the-less strong and thriving cactus that Jill B. bought for Jill Z. to make her hospital stays a little bit brighter inspired the name for the DIY pin and earring brand. Due to the treatment that Jill Z had to undergo, she was forced to quit her job as a barista and continuing her academic career as a full-time student was no longer an option.  Clumsy Cactus was born in order to provide a creative outlet for both young women. Initially only available on the online market Etsy, the company has since grown and the pair recently found success at the Guelph night market and have made their first few sales to international customers.  

They want their company to “inspire others who may be tackling obstacles in their lives to create something beautiful, and to remember the best things can always come from the darkest times.”

Throughout this experience both women have gained a new appreciation for the art of time management and the importance of creativity and collaboration in everyday life. Jill B. stated that being an Arts and Business student provides her with the foundation she requires in order to conduct the accounting and marketing work of their small business.

Clumsy Cactus has created an opportunity for Jill and Jill to create a product that not only means something to them, but also has provided inspiration to others. Through collaborations and continued hard work they hope to inspire others to pursue their passions and to become mentors for other individuals in their pursuit to “get the ball rolling” with whatever their business venture may be.

You can follow Clumsy Cactus on Instagram or Facebook and check out their beautiful pins and earrings on Etsy.

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