Celebrating Success: Candace Lipischak

  • July 17, 2017
  • Written by Community Futures Manitoba

“I can honestly say that what I’m doing every day is my true calling.” That’s what Candace Lipischak, founder of Fat Daug-Hand Carved Antler Jewelry, loves most about owning her own business and unleashing creative art pieces.

“Fat Daug specializes in unique, organic, and hand carved antler jewelry made of moose, deer, and caribou antler,” Candace explains. “The name stands for father-daughter because my father is the person who taught me the art of antler carving years ago—now we pair up as a team on projects, which is such a gift and something that our customers enjoy discovering. Our work represents our love and passion for this craft as well as our family’s Métis heritage.”

Candace’s company has now become a part of her identity, a way to connect her heritage, hobbies, and passions. On a daily basis, she’s a combination of antler carver, jewelry designer, Métis workshop facilitator, visual artist, and business owner! “You definitely have to wear a lot of hats as an entrepreneur,” she remarks with a laugh. “Sure, sometimes that means a bit of stress. However, for me it’s mostly a good type of stress, which is incredibly necessary when living with a disability.”

In 2000 Candace was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), which is a disease that affects the nervous system. “After my diagnosis, I realized that I needed to keep a close eye on my stress levels and prioritize my health,” she says. “In addition, managing my time effectively became very important because living with a disability is a 24-hour deal; it doesn’t take breaks. Becoming an entrepreneur was the perfect answer because it’s a flexible role that enables me to work on my own schedule and around my particular needs.”

Being able to work from home (she uses social media to help market her business and stocks four different boutiques in Winnipeg) has also removed a lot of strain from her life, since she doesn’t have to commute, and enables her to work hard but also make time for herself—a balancing practice that she recommends to other entrepreneurs.

Candace has been an entrepreneur for more than a decade, however, since starting Fat Daug just one year ago, she has recently discovered that the best perk of being her own boss is simple: “I absolutely love what I do every day—I’m very grateful for that. Not only do I create a unique and organic product that helps others connect deeply with nature, but Fat Daug jewelry inspires joy and peace as well. I love hearing that kind of positive customer feedback because it is truly not just jewelry that we’re offering; it’s something that customers can relate to, enjoy giving as gifts, and feel good about purchasing.”

Along with the motivation that Candace receives by doing work that she enjoys, she also has a support system of friends, Métis female entrepreneurs, and family members.

“My father has been an amazing, patient mentor and friend. My mother has been the ultimate cheerleader, and I’ve always received unconditional support from my sister’s family and my friends. Then there are artists who have shown me that what some consider ‘trash’ can be recycled and made into beautiful things, and Métis friends who have taught me so much about our culture.”

The other side of her support system is Community Futures Triple R, which guided her to the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program (EDP) that provides business services—including access to small and medium sized business loans and resources—to aspiring entrepreneurs with disabilities or health conditions.

“Entrepreneurs with Disabilities was extremely helpful in launching my start-up business in 2007, and the Community Futures Triple R team has been nothing but encouraging and supportive throughout my career. A decade into this journey, I couldn’t be happier with their help! Thanks to their assistance, my days are now full of creative and rewarding work and I constantly look forward to the learning, teaching, and inspiration that is yet to come. All in all, I enjoy being an entrepreneur so much that I couldn’t imagine doing anything else!”

We’re glad to hear that, Candace. Congratulations on your small business success!