I’ve always thought of my COKANNA clothing line as a means to an end. And that end is creating community. While big brands create a community to sell product…think Nike and Apple…I’ve been selling product to create a community.

I’ll be heading into my 9th year in business and most likely my final year. I’ve just dropped my latest styles, the Maddison bamboo zip-up and the Linda bamboo tunic. I always say, “never say never” but I’m 95% sure these will be my last 2 styles. The only possibility of another product would be if I come up with something for the last few rolls of bamboo ribbing I have sitting in my home studio. Any suggestions or requests?

When I look back over my years in business, the thing that stands out most for me is the COKANNA coffee shop community. I created the online group at the onset of the pandemic in March of 2020. It was a way to keep in touch and check in to see how everyone was doing. We gathered on Zoom and it quickly turned into weekly meet-ups with guest speakers. It brought mostly women over 50 together for companionship and to participate in and learn about new and interesting topics and people.

On the flip side, it offered local small business owners an opportunity to share their products, services, and causes with an interested group of like-minded people. And in many cases, they came away with new customers, clients, and fans. In my mind, that’s a win win for all.

The coffee shop events were free to attend. And the guest speakers provided their time, expertise, and demonstrations free of charge. I ran these events every week for 16 months. In looking back, I don’t know how I did it. I do know that I loved coming up with ideas for the coffee shops, researching potential themes and businesses, pitching ideas to guest speakers, then coordinating and hosting the events. It was so much fun and I learned a lot. Here’s a small example of what was offered.

Selling product to create community by Colleen Kanna, Photo of Upcoming Weekly Events board during the pandemic

Previous “Upcoming Coffee Shop Events” board

This brought me to the Fall of 2021 and I felt we were a little zoomed out by that point. Things had opened up and people were getting back to their busy lives. So I moved to monthly coffee shops. And then in January of this year, I started running in-person coffee shop events at my condo community’s clubhouse. We had 5 or 6 events and then I took the summer off.

I’m now on a hiatus as my sister from Thunder Bay has moved in with me. We’ll start to look for a house together but we aren’t in any rush. Perhaps in the Spring. We’ll wait for the right property to come along. One that will be a great place to start the coffee shops back up in-person. A place that will be ours with the freedom and space to offer new and interesting topics and speakers and invite all who are interested.

In the meantime, if you haven’t joined the online coffee shop group on Facebook yet, here’s the QR code:

I post a daily “Morning Cuppa Joe” cartoon, meme, or quote to start your day off on a light note. And, I try to pass on fun, interesting, and informative articles that I come across. Once a week, I share my Keeping Abreast blog post which is what you’re reading here. Occasionally, I let you know about new designs dropping, sales events, contests, and other opportunities. But, I really try not to make it salesy. We all see enough ads online.

Please feel free to post in the group. In fact, I invite you to do so to make it more interactive and engaging. It’s an open, safe, and welcoming space. The only rule is to be kind.

My closing note: When we move to our new place, I’d rather not have to pack up inventory and take it with me. So please feel free to browse my shop and pick up a new piece or 2 to welcome in the Fall season, or perhaps an early Christmas gift!

New Styles


Until next time,

Colleen Kanna, Photo by Anna Epp Photography

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.