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  • Katie Dupuis

Four Cool Businesses Born During the Pandemic

The pandemic has been pretty darn bad. There's no disputing that. But some incredible small businesses have also come out of the time at home, and that definitely doesn't suck.

We’ve all heard about the pandemic babies who don’t like the outdoors and jump at loud noises and aren’t into people being in their personal space (so, basically Lisa). Virtual school is causing every single parent out there to go grey. And we all know the hardships so many families are facing (of course there’s no joke to be made there—the trauma the past year has inflicted on so many people is no laughing matter). But the pandemic has also been a driver of reinvention for some, and that part is kind of amazing. The more we noticed new small businesses cropping up in our network, the more we realized that the changes to our daily lives and the stay-at-home orders of COVID-19 have given people the time and/or the inclination to start something new (maybe even to follow a dream!). So, with that in mind, we’ve rounded up a handful of pandemic-born businesses to give a (momentary) silver lining to the shitstorm.


For maker Hailey Biback, MOODBeads wasn’t a foregone conclusion. She wasn’t someone who always had something crafty on the go, and she didn’t daydream about leaving her corporate job to start a jewellery company. It all started with a necklace—on someone else. She was chatting with a neighbour in the spring and found herself fixated on the piece her pal was wearing; by the end of the conversation, Biback went away wondering if she could make something like it. She hadn't beaded in years, so she had to remember what she knew and experiment with new skills. She also began researching materials, ordered a few items and set her mind to trial-and-error. She knew she wanted to create fun, versatile, affordable pieces that made people feel good, but she also knew she needed something unique to set her apart. Her solution (perhaps inspired by a prior career in media—once a content creator, always a content creator) was to give each piece a word, a mood, in recognition of the rollercoaster of emotions caused by COVID. Soon the concept of “MOODbeads: Wear your feelings” (whatever they might be!) was born. MOODBeads and Biback’s skills have both evolved, to include Biback’s regular creations and custom work (a nice surprise she didn’t expect!). For more, check out

Butter Box

Yes, this is exactly what it sounds like but in the best possible way—a box filled with delish, buttery creations. You know you want that for your next weekend at home. Butterbox, a Toronto baked-goods company, is the brainchild of owner Liza Cooperman. Cooperman has always loved to bake—she’s the colleague who brings in incredible treats for staff meetings—and the pandemic found her working from home and looking for an outlet. With the kitchen as her happy place and the time to give something new a shot, a delicious treat company was born. Customers have been able to buy items from the regular menu as well as special The Bachelorette-themed boxes (yes, seriously!), New Year’s Eve treats and, at this very moment, Valentine’s Day yumminess. Check out to learn more (and to order!). Tin Whistle Brewing

Sorry, non-BC Trinketeers, this one is for our West Coast fans. Imagine losing your job during the pandemic and deciding to answer that challenge with a terrifying, brand new venture: buying a brewery. That’s exactly what Alexis Esseltine and her husband Tim Scoon did. The pair bought the The Tin Whistle Brewing Company, in Penticton, BC, with ambitious plans to give the business—one of the oldest breweries in the Okanagan—a new lease on life. The Tin Whistle has two SKUs in government liquor stores in BC and a range of products available on site, as well as a taproom for tasting (which is set to undergo a reno soon!). When in doubt, buy a brewery? We like it. To learn more, check out

Bug & Bird Events

Who says you can’t have a party in a pandemic? Okay, fine, the government says that. And they would be right, of course. But that doesn’t mean celebrations are off the table. Tanya Todd, the creative brains behind Bug & Bird Events, realized that birthdays would still happen, babies would still be born, kids would still graduate, and she wanted to help families mark these milestones. Todd, who started to create themed parties for people juuuust before the pandemic hit, quickly realized she could package up a party in loot bag format that the “host” could socially distantly drop off to “guests.” (Each bag includes games, props, treats, fun surprises and more.) Then, at a certain date and time, the virtual party convenes with activities that everyone is doing together (apart). In a time when we are alone, this is a pretty ingenious way to connect. The parties aren’t just for kiddos either—Bug & Bird has a brand new ‘80s-themed party, complete with retro cocktail recipes, that we can’t wait to try. For more info, check out

Post image: Mike Petrucci/Unsplash


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