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Homemade in Milton

Mike and Heather Ferguson stand in front of the recently opened business, The Workshop in Milton. The shop opened at the beginning of May.
Mike and Heather Ferguson stand in front of the recently opened business, The Workshop in Milton. The shop opened at the beginning of May. - Aethne Hinchliffe

Couple return home to Queens County to run candle, soap business

MILTON – On a sunny, late May day, the doors to The Workshop in Milton are wide-open, inviting people in to peruse the various items for sale.

Behind the new business are Heather and Mike Ferguson. Mike and Heather began selling their products last year,  yard sale-style. 

“But, this year, in early May, we opened the doors, and we had the sign up shortly thereafter,” explained Heather.

Heather moved home to Milton from Salt Spring Island, B.C. in October 2016. She’d been in British Columbia for 30 years at that point, and upon moving home, Heather didn’t have job. But she did know about soap, having worked at Saltspring Soapworks for 21 years. 

“I didn’t feel that the soap was going to be enough,” she said.

That’s when Heather began to research other ideas and learned to crochet mats and make beeswax candles. Heather’s brother – who was looking for something more to do in the winter - also jumped on board. The siblings looked at different ideas about what to create with metal, which is how the metal art sold at the shop came to be. 

Ten months after Heather moved home, her husband Mike, who had stayed behind in B.C. to work, also moved back to Queens County. Though Heather operates the shop, Mike plays a large role in helping with what needs to done.  

Among some of the things Heather Ferguson sells in her shop are 100 per cent pure beeswax candles. Aethne Hinchcliffe
Among some of the things Heather Ferguson sells in her shop are 100 per cent pure beeswax candles. Aethne Hinchcliffe

Heather and Mike agree that so far, things are going well, although it’s a little quiet at this time of year. 

To open the shop in early May, Heather and Mike had to move some things around.

“We tidied up, but we wanted to keep it as a (work) shop,” said Heather.

They didn’t invest a lot of money went into fixing things because Heather and Mike wanted to keep the business authentic. 

“I like that it keeps me busy,” Heather says about what she likes about making soap and candles. 

When Heather isn’t busily creating products, she might walk her two dogs or go to the beach or get things done around the house. 

The Workshop in Milton will remain open for the season until almost Christmas. In the winter, Heather says she catches up with making soap and mats. 

In addition to selling products out of The Workshop in Milton, Heather and Mike will also be at Liverpool’s Privateer Farmers’ Market. Sometime in June, people will be able to find Heather’s soap at the Sipuke’l Gallery in the Town Hall Arts and Cultural Centre in Liverpool, which will be the exclusive dealer for Heather’s soaps. Heather, who is First Nations, says she approached the gallery about the idea of having soap relevant to the Acadia First Nations. 

The Workshop in Milton is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  

Visit The Workshop in Milton on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/The-Workshop-in-Milton-201371090478257/

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