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Employee Spotlight

Meet the Darlene

Darlene has been with Loewen Design since before the beginning. She's done a bit of everything but is currently focused on some of our administrative functions, making sure everyone gets their table on time!

What's your role here at Loewen Design Studios

So as of the beginning of 2022, I've transitioned to take responsibility for the admin production side here. 

So before stepping in on admin, I first became involved on the marketing side, particularly with social media. I also provided some support with some customer follow-up, but it was really about the marketing side. 

Do you have a background in marketing with other companies as well? 

In other businesses that we've done, this is kind of a place that I have gotten involved in. We had a fair trade home party business called Jolica. As part of that, I spent a lot of time learning about online marketing, about Facebook ads, about all of those wonderful pieces and parts and how to get found. Online marketing changes so fast and has changed so much in the last several years, but it was a good place to start. 

Picking out tassels from Jolica in Peru

But before working here at Loewen Designs, what was the most unusual slash interesting job you've ever worked. 

Probably the most unusual was, I sold prefab, concrete products for four summers to put myself through university. I was, and I've got quotation marks here, “The girl behind the counter”. So, people would come in looking for sidewalk blocks, or interlocking blocks and I would sell it to them. I worked mostly with the general public. They would bring in their drawings and I would help them figure out all the pieces that they needed and help them with any color choices. 

So, what do you like most about your job here?

I enjoy being able to work with the team that we have here. I like everybody, which is a really nice bonus. No two days are the same. Sometimes I wish that maybe there were a little bit more of the same, but on the whole it's a nice challenge. It's interesting and it's growing which also makes it a lot of fun. 

What did you want to be growing up? 

I wanted to be a teacher and I did that for 10 years. I loved it. It was a lot of fun. I mostly taught grade seven and eight. So cool. And I love their energy. I love that they were at a point in their lives that they were old enough to think about ideas and concepts and have some opinions and stances and not yet old enough to be jaded. I remember going into a great 10 or grade 11 classroom, and just seeing everybody was too cool to still care. Sitting there leaning back there arms crossed and that's just not the energy of a classroom. I enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun but that was in Manitoba. And so I never recertified when we moved to Ontario.We had three little kids. We had just bought the candle business, and I was involved there and things are just kind of moved on since

Now, you need to deal with mostly 20 plus year olds. Not 13 year olds. 

Yeah. But it's the creative ones. More Fun. 

Marking homework at night

So, what is a day in your life? Look here at Loewen Design Studios? A standardish day, 

A standard ish day will include in no particular order setting up a production plan for each piece, making sure that we're on track for our delivery dates, touching base with our production team on that, seeing where we're at, where we going to be in the ditch. Make sure that we stay on track and the shipments are able to go out. Whether that means, you know, preparing the paperwork, for our we call LTL shipments. Less than trailer load. So you'll see some of the boxed up tables that are sitting by the back door, waiting for the carriers to come. That requires one kind of paperwork. The trips that we send Brian and Lynn on delivery runs We need to prepare different paperwork there for crossing the border. A little bit of problem solving, maybe more than a little bit, depends on the day. 

Can you tell us something about yourself that would surprise us? 

I like boxing. It's actually my very favorite workout and Ted bought me a boxing bag for Christmas. That's hung up in our basement. I used to work out with Lynn who drives for us, she was my trainer for a number of years. We did a lot of boxing with her with the boxing bag and also kickboxing where she had the pads up, right? And it's such a great workout, a little therapeutic, and in a ten minute workout I just feel totally exhausted. 

If you could switch your job with anyone else here, whose job would you want?

And I think I've read that I'm not allowed to say Norm, right? 

Chairman of the Board Norman

Yes. Many people have already said Norm and they've all been not allowed to say it.

Maybe Brian and Lynn. I think it's an awful lot of time on the road and that might be a little bit much but Ted and I have done a couple of deliveries. It's great to get out and meet customers and see people and see where the tables are actually going and how people plan to use them. We always say that the tables aren't, it's not just a thing, right? That is not just more stuff.. We're helping people improve their lives and you get to see that when you bring the table in and they get all excited and you see how they plan to use it and the impact it will have.It's nice seeing something from beginning to end to yeah, yeah. All the way through the process.

What is your favorite project you've done here at Loewen Design Studios? 

There have been lots. So I'll go with one of my favorites as opposed to necessarily finding the favorite. Yeah, one of my favorites would be one that we've come to refer to as very cute parsons. I love that table. I like some of the more modern styling and so this particular table had the really skinny spindly legs on the but still with the skirt under the table so it's solid. I just thought it looked really great.

Very Cute Parsons Table

Reach Out Here!

What is a hobby you like to do in your spare time?

I like to read. And yeah, I got a yogibo for Christmas. Yogibo is like a bean bag, chair. I've set up in a corner of our bedroom, and picked up a nice reading light making and a reading corner. That's a fun place. Just kind of to escape and go read because I've got a crazy long list of books that I'm wanting to get through.

 I also took up watercolor painting. Just kind of as something that I'm really not good at. In fact, I'm quite bad and it's not about that. It's just doing something that's just so totally different from what I do all day and so trying to do like an hour hour and a half a week, just sit down and play around with some color and some and whatever it turns out to be, it turns out to be and it's just a fun little diversion.

Darlenes Reading Corner

What are you most proud of.

Yes, certainly proud of how this business has grown and continues to, you know, certainly no shortage of effort. But I know that there are lots of people who put lots of good effort into businesses that don't necessarily work. And so it's not a given that just because you work hard, it's gonna all click. So I'm proud of how this one has grown. I'm proud of the people that our three kids have become. Hopefully every parent feels that way. 

What is your favorite table besides the very cute parsons?

The very cute Parson is certainly right near the top of the list. Generally speaking.

I really like the Parsons style table, I love it as a kitchen table. It stands up to everything because the kitchen table gets used so hard. Our kitchen IKEA table is a parson style. I think about everything that's happened at that table, right? Carving pumpkins birthday parties as the kids were little. We've had that table for probably close to 20 years.

We celebrated thanksgiving around that table. There were like 10 of us a year after Ted's dad passed away and we were all gathered around this table. We were squished in but probably like the best family meal we've ever had. We were close together. We were changing traditions that year. We also had decided that we weren't doing a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. We wanted to honor them with the empty spot at the table, but not have that be a heavy feeling. And so that was the launch of steaks giving and it was just really fun, right? 

Josh Loewen and Abby Loewen making a gingerbread house

There's something about the parson style that is so solid. It stands up to everything and looks good in any of the wood types. It can be your kitchen table in one house. It could be a dining room table in another. It can be a craft table and it, you're always gonna have a place for it and it's always gonna be in the center of what you do. 

Last question: how did you meet Ted?

So, let's go from the beginning. So we were in university in Winnipeg. There was the church that I attended at the time. We had a really large group of people who were kind of in the same age range, we were all in university, there were probably about 50 or 70 of us. On Sunday afternoons, one of my friends who was also part of this group would often host a get togethers at her place. They would be like 20 of us getting together to play games or and whoever showed up showed up. And so there was this one Sunday afternoon that Ted happened to come with his roommate who was a cousin who was attending our church and dating a girl from our church. And so his cousin brought him along, right. He came for the afternoon and we were playing charades.

So we sent a spy to go to the by the doorway to listen to hear what they were coming up for us. We were guessing them very quickly.And yeah, I will say I was probably an instigator of that and so kind of through that I guess I got it.

The story is that I got Ted's attention because I cheated better than he did. And anyway, that was where we met and started hanging out. The rest is history. Here we are in a different province. 

Darlene and Ted Loewen (Same Height)

Darlene and Ted Loewen (Real Height)