MABOU: The community’s Shining Waters building is iconic to anyone familiar with Route 19 and now, in the run-up to Christmas, folks have an opportunity to shop out of the well-known venue.
Brenna MacNeil, the entrepreneur and creative mind behind the pop-up store, is looking forward to greeting both new and long-time customers at the new location.
“My shop is called missbrenna and includes Cape Breton-inspired apparel and paper goods along with takeout coffee and tea,” MacNeil said. “I’ll have special events as well that appeal to the community.
“After I studied graphic design at NSCC in Halifax, I started designing greeting cards with Cape Breton silhouettes, scenic prints, calendars and then designs for apparel: Captain Cape Breton, LOVE Cape Breton, Cape Breton Crew, and the CB Squaredance design. My focus is always on quality products, fun collections, and printing locally in Halifax and Cape Breton.”
MacNeil spoke with The Reporter last week, and she noted her first creative impulse came as a result of her grandmother gifting her with a camera at the age of 11. She took photos of everything from her cat to scenery, and glued them to cards, and sold them at The Bear Paw in Inverness.
Now, over 20 years later, MacNeil is still using Cape Breton images to create.
“Cape Breton is such a cool place that I ask myself, ‘How can I create things that represent the connection people feel to this island?’ I try to provide a quality product that people want.
“I love meeting people, talking with them, and learning their connection to Cape Breton.”
Prior to opening the pop-up location, MacNeil was a casual vendor at the Mabou Farmer’s Market since 2014 and a full-time vendor in 2021. She also owns and operates her own website: www.ilovecapebreton.ca which, historically, receives a great number of orders every year, after the end of the market. Considering the demand for missbrenna products, opening a pop-up location made good sense.
“It came together quickly, and it’s so exciting to have my products all in one place,” she said. “2020 was a very busy year with local and online shopping during the pandemic, and the summer of 2021 was truly incredible. People love Cape Breton Island and tell me they really like the simplicity, quality, and colour of the products and collections I design.
“The community has been so supportive of me and my business from the beginning, which has given me the confidence to grow missbrenna. People are excited to have a piece of Cape Breton to share with others, and I’m thrilled to be a small part of that. missbrenna is a place to get a special gift for anyone who loves Cape Breton.
“Some say it’s like a hug from home, but it’s not just for people who live away. Lots of locals and family members love the collection and the quality of the products.”
From now until Christmas, The missbrenna Pop-Up Shop will be open Thursdays and Fridays (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Saturdays (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Additional days may be announced down the line, but what’s certain is that the pop-up store will be open Sundays throughout November, as MacNeil is offering a special “Bakers and Makers” event all month long.
“Bakers and Makers” will allow space in the store for craftspeople and bakers to sell their wares, while interacting with customers. A listing of who’ll be visiting and when can be found online at: https://www.ilovecapebreton.ca/events/2021/10/25/november-bakers-and-makers-pop-up.