Since announcing the wind down of my clothing line, many of you have asked what I’m going to do next…retire, start a new business? Well, somehow things have fallen into place (๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝ Universe) and now I can give you a peek into…My next chapter…

Interesting observation

First, I found it very interesting that when I publicly announced I was closing down my business, the reaction was kind and subdued. Probably because you didn’t know how to react. Going out of business typically means the company has run out of money. I got many sad emoji faces & hearts and I’m sorry’s. And listen, my intention is not to make anyone feel bad including myself. I would have reacted the same way. Which is why it made me curious.

When someone retires from their job, the response is congratulations! You earned it, well deserved! Not quite the same when you retire your business. And let me be the first to say, my business is no Lululemon. It’s not a huge money maker by any means. But, I’m still proud of what I’ve accomplished. I started it from ground zero, naively so, with no experience or knowledge of the industry, and no capital. Somehow I took one baby step at a time and created garments that you were interested in buying. I built up a loyal customer base and I hope I made your lives a little bit better by giving you comfortable, stylish, easy-to-wear clothing.

Good timing

During the last 9 years, I made many mistakes AND I learned a lot about the fashion industry, manufacturing, running a business, and about myself.

I’m happy to report I have absolutely no debt. The small 25K loan I managed to secure from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has been paid in full. I made the last payment this week. It’s very satisfying to see a zero balance.

Screenshot of my BDC loan balance at zero.

And now it’s time to let it go. I wrestled with the decision for the last year or so. But, once I made it, the doubts faded away and things started to happen. It felt right.

My next chapter...by Colleen Kanna, Photo of woman in yellow & white striped sweater and beige knitted hat facing a field with 2 separate paths by Burst on Unsplash

What happens next?

Well, last summer a fellow breast cancer champion, friend, and customer suggested I might want to think about applying for a finance position with the City of Ottawa. She thought it would be a good fit for this time in my life. I filed it away in the back of my mind.

When some openings came up, she sent me the link to apply. I decided, what the heck, why not? So I dusted off my very outdated resume and sent it off. Of course, being government, they had to exhaust all the internal applications before they even started looking at external applicants. So many months went by without a word and I forgot about it. I had a few other things on my mind like my sister moving in, buying a house, selling my condo, and winding down my business.

Then lo and behold on the Friday afternoon right before Christmas, I got a message from the city asking if I was still interested in the job. While we were busily packing up my place, I had an online interview the 2nd week of January. I thought it went ok and they said they would be in touch the following week to let me know how I scored. Two days later, I received a phone call, congratulating me on getting the Finance Officer position. The next steps in the hiring process followed…criminal records check โœ…, personal references โœ…, proof of my education โœ…, and headshot submitted โœ….

Then finally this week I officially received an offer letter and accepted. So my first day of work is April 2, 2024. The timing is perfect. I’ll have had a couple of months to settle into our new home. And hopefully the renovations will be completed (more on that in a future blog post) because I’ll be mostly working from home.

Times change

Now let’s back track a bit. You may recall, I often stated I didn’t miss my accounting days and preferred not to go back to that world. However, times change, circumstances change. I figure this job will allow me to ease into retirement. As I said during my interview, I’m not looking to climb the ladder anymore or advance. I just want something stable, enjoyable, challenging but not stressful, and a good environment and team to work with. I’ll have a solid income, benefits, and a small pension.

Truth be told, financially, I could retire today. But, I don’t feel ready yet. I still have work I can contribute. And it’s comforting to know, I don’t have to work. It puts a different spin on things…more relaxed, less frenzied.

So there you have it…My next chapter…at least for another couple of years.

P.S. Don’t forget COKANNA is still open for business. It’s your last chance to get soft, comfy, easy-to-wear bamboo clothing at a really great price.

Shop here

Until next time,

~ Colleen

Colleen Kanna

I’m a recovering Chartered Accountant and Breast Cancer Champion turned Fashion Designer. My COKANNA Canadian-made bamboo clothing is all about comfort and style. Giving back to the community is important to me so I support local breast cancer organizations who treat the whole person and not just the disease.