New ideas buzz along with custom creations

November 2022

finn and mingo

Erika Wade owns her own photography business, but like so many other local businesses she was not allowed to work during COVID and was seeking something new to help supplement her income. Erika taught herself how to sew and began making hats for her son Finley. Not long after she began selling her creations at craft shows under the business name finn and mingo. As her son was the inspiration for much of her pieces, it only made sense to name her business after him. What in the world is “mingo”, you may be wondering? Well, Finley and his mom share a mutual love for flamingos, you see. “One of my first patterns I chose to use had flamingos on it and Finley kept running around calling them ‘mingos’! That’s how the name of my company came to be,” Erika explained.

She prides herself on quality, super soft material and creating hats and headbands for the entire family, from premature baby sizes all the way to adult size. She spends a lot of time sourcing unique patterns that her customers rave about. “I love everything quirky and bright and fun and this has been a great way to express that,” exclaimed Erika.

Finn and mingo can be found at any of these upcoming local markets, and on Instagram at @finn_and_mingo

3 Trees Bees

What do clay, fresh foraged herbs and honey bees all have in common? They are all an integral part of Claudia Tropea’s 3 Trees Bees soaps, lip balms and body products! Her business started out as an accidental family bee-keeping project and has since bloomed into a local small batch soap and body product business.

“I first started beekeeping because of my youngest daughter. After years of her asking for her own bees, in 2015 we purchased her a honeybee colony and

I set up our first hive in the backyard. When she left for school later that year, the bees were unexpectedly my new ‘pets’. I call myself the accidental beekeeper. Unsure of how to take on this new role at first, I took a few beekeeping courses and learned the beekeeping ways with my husband. Around the same time, I started experimenting with making soaps and body products, and it was only natural for the flying members of our family to take part, too. Last year, we moved the bees to my daughter’s semi-rural property. Bees are so fascinating - they are very smart and hardworking creatures”.

Claudia’s product ingredients are 100% natural and, where possible, organic. They are scented with natural essential oils and coloured with natural clays. Claudia forages locally for many of her herbs, such as the wild rosehips in her Wild Rosehip and Honey Soap. She also grows and harvests many of her own ingredients, such as chamomile, calendula and lavender for their healing properties.3 Trees Bees can be found on Instagram at @3trees_bees.

Northshore Puzzles

Our next pandemic-born business is Northshore Puzzles. What started out as a neat thought to make their favourite local Thunder Bay landmarks into puzzles turned into a realistic business idea real fast. Bethany and Mitchell did some research on creating puzzles and discovered they could simply buy the special equipment and begin puzzle production in the comfort of their own home! It was the perfect project to keep busy at home during uncertain times while showcasing some of Thunder Bay’s finest scenes and landscapes. They are also open to custom orders where anyone can submit a photo of their choice to be printed on a custom puzzle.

Mitchell and Bethany have received overwhelming support from the local community since launching their business. “We had some great press when we first started and people from all over Canada were ordering from us and sending the puzzles to family members they couldn’t visit during the pandemic. It’s been a great experience and we’re so thankful for all the local support we’ve received.”

Northshore Puzzles are available online through their website at and at the following markets this season:

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