By Laura Mitchell
Laura Mitchell offers three distinct product lines through her business Blue Canoe Creations.
“I create nature-inspired jewelry, including necklaces and earrings out of various stones, jems and wood beads,” says Laura, who also has a “teething and sensory” product line that features chew-bead soothers teething-toy clips for babies, necklaces for caregivers and carrier rings.
Her latest product line – launched in the summer of 2020 – was inspired by the pandemic. “Recently, I have been making ‘Mask Mates,’ which attach to youth and adult masks as a way to safely wear them around your neck when not in use, keeping them handy and clean while being safe – with a breakaway clasp – and easily cleaned.”
A jewelry artist since childhood, these kinds of creations have been Laura’s passion for decades.“As I have grown, so have my techniques and choice of materials, all influenced by my love of nature,” she says, adding her personal life experiences, including her 2014 pregnancy, also inspire her to create new products.
“When I first became pregnant, I wanted to expand my offerings to include functional pieces for babies and children to help when teething and with sensory issues.”
When choosing her materials, she only works with high-quality products grounded in nature – agates (a common rock formation), wood, lava, jasper and more.
“For the teething line, I only use products that have undergone rigorous quality testing and are safe and designed for chewing,” she adds.
Laura has been in business for nearly two decades – since 2003 – when she began offering her jewelry on a larger scale as Blue Canoe Creations, a name also inspired by her love of nature.
“My love for nature and adventure brings me out on the waters on many adventures in my blue canoe, and it is here that I find inspiration for my work.”
When it comes to being an entrepreneur, she especially enjoys working with people on custom orders to “inspire and bring to fruition their ideas,” she adds.
“And through jewelry, from babies to adults, it is a way to allow people to express their individuality, which I value and like to celebrate. I want my customers to feel special, unique and valued.”
Small businesses like hers are vital to the local economy because they provide local alternatives for people to shop and acquire products that would otherwise be unavailable.
“We also have the power to inspire youth to pursue their interests,” she adds.