Cristin Sawchuk may not be an Islander by birth, but she’s an Islander by choice and has found a home on P.E.I. and for her business dedicated to the beauty of the tiny province.
“What started as a one-year plan for me, my husband and our kids has turned into a permanent stay on the Island,” said Sawchuk, a Saskatchewan native.
She and her family packed up their clothes and a handful of other items to move to the east coast last year.
“My husband works for a tech company in Toronto. So as long as the time zone is right we can live pretty much anywhere we want. So, we decided a life on the east coast would be easier for him.
“One day he was looking through real estate and he sent me a photo of this house. I said to him ‘I wish I could live there’… now we do.”
The pair decided to move to P.E.I. for one year. If after the 365 days were up and they wanted to return to Saskatchewan, they would rent the home as an income property go back to their former home.
“But we can’t imagine not being here.
Sawchuk, a teacher, picked up shifts and contract work as a substitute teacher over her first year on the Island. But while she made a home with her husband and kids, she began to come up with designs that she thought would look good on t-shirts.
And after some nudging from her spouse and friends, she launched Old Home Press.
She describes the business and the products as a love letter to P.E.I. and the people she’s met along the way.
“Island born, or from away, this is an incredible place to call home. My products celebrate the beauty and pride that exists here in one of the most beautiful places in Canada,” Sawchuk wrote on her business’s website.
In the past month she has held a number of pop-up shops at a New London business, Potter’s Parlour, as an interest test for her products.
“It was really about seeing if there was a place for me here. I was worried that people would think ‘who do you think you are’ by trying to enter the local entrepreneur market,” she explained.
“On P.E.I., tourism is a huge thing. And there are lots of little things and shirts tourists can pick up. But I’ve found there isn’t anything really for locals, showcasing the Island way. And it’s through Islanders that the designs came to be.”
Some of her shirts include a ‘From Away, Still Home’ jab, a potato plant showcasing their roots and the popular wild-growing lupin flowers.
Since the launch of Old Home Press, and with help of friends and word of mouth, Sawchuk’s customer list continues to grow.
Now, as the summer season winds down, she is collecting more shirt ideas and planning for her fall/winter season as well as 2019 growth.
“I’ve got the coming months to simplify my business model, but probably make things more difficult for me,” she said with a chuckle.
“In the meantime, people can message me directly and check out the Old Home Press website to order a shirt or canvas bag.”
Sawchuk says the business wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for P.E.I.
“Moving to P.E.I. has given me confidence. I’m just another person in Saskatoon, but here on P.E.I. it’s small and tight-knit and really supportive.”
Five Fast Facts about Old Home Press
–Owned and operated by Cristin Sawchuk