The story of why I am writing to you and why you are reading this.
I started gardening outdoors in 2011. It was the first time I had an outdoor space that felt like it would be home for at least a little while. It was those first plants that illustrated some of life’s most important lessons to me.
Conditions for survival are non-negotiable.
We all play by their rules
Life finds a way, even the harshest of conditions.
So can I.
Bound roots never lead to thriving.
Don’t ever feel stuck - explore, try new things, grow, don’t set limits.
Cooperation is a dance of give and take.
Too much of one or the other means you’ll lose your companions or they might lose you.
And many others…
It was at this time that I had returned from living abroad to find a place amongst the well tended garden beds of corporate life in Waterloo, ON, my university town. When that didn’t feel right, I shifted to the unruly world of tech startups where all conventions were questioned and rainforests sprouted from deserts, seemingly overnight.
There I was, energetic and willing, yet purposeless and unaware of what fruit I could one day bare.
So I grew. I reached higher and wider. I admired the blooming souls around me. Dropped leaves of seasons past nourished me as I felt the compounding effect of my experiences and explorations come together in the form of a freelance design studio creating logos, infographics, and eventually UX design and websites for small to medium tech-startups in the Kitchener-Waterloo and Silicon Valley tech hubs.
This is the fertile ground upon which my business, Bueno Market, began.
If we haven’t already met, hello and the warmest of welcomes! My name is Erika and I live in a little corner of the big city of Toronto, Canada with Nathan and our 3 young children. With a background in Economics, 10+ years of experience as a freelance designer and consultant to tech startups, and an uncertain chance at motherhood, in 2015 I embarked on a new venture, calling it Bueno Market.
of good quality
The name was inspired by my Spanish grandmother who wholeheartedly embodied the spirit of Mr. Fred Rogers and his understudy Earnie Coombs known as Mr. Dressup, two iconic role models in Canadian children’s media. Although, at the time, I didn’t know how significant this connection would be.
While it started as a general graphic design and print design shop, it soon transitioned into selling educational print products inspired by the education-at-home I was doing with my own children. I didn’t yet see that there was a deeper journey I had set out on; to build a beautifully designed, efficient household and within it a family culture that prioritizes connection, healthy bodies and minds, and a deep sense of purpose.
I have been sharing my process and progress as a small shop owner and mother over the last 7+ years on instagram as @buenomarket. I candidly posted my many daily trials and successes; the inspiring Dr. Maria Montessori, Dr. Emmi Piklar, and the spirited Rudolph Steiner’s work, sustainability and minimalism, organization via the KonMari Method, and the work and wise words of numerous scientists and education professionals alongside my art and design process behind my products have filled those little squares.
Our household has become a reflection of the values we hold highest, a journey that I find deeply meaningful to share with others. An appreciation for beauty, joy, creativity, cooperation, nurturing ones selves and others, ownership, independence, and a strong sense of order are just some of the wonderful things that we see from our young children daily.
After all these years, I’m excited to be able to share the frameworks and guidelines that helped us make the most of these early character building years. Our goal in raising our children has always been to honour the whole child and our whole selves so that we develop alongside our children, a growth-mindset, circular parent-child dynamic that is defining our generation of parenting.
Great parents and caregivers are developed over time and through incremental adaptations. I’ve learned from Dr. Shefali Tsabary that it’s never too late to start making conscious changes to my home environment and my interactions with each child. Having an intimate and honest connection to a little human unfolding into their whole selves is the most miraculous process I’ll bear witness to in my lifetime. Alongside learning how to create an environment for effective parenting, I have developed into a more aware, true version of myself. I have learned that if you let it, growing alongside your child will touch every part of your being and in doing so will provide the grounds for the deepest and most meaningful bonds within your family. We feel it every day in our home.
And that brings me to why you are here.
Perhaps we are long time friends or family, or we connected because of social media or in our community. However our paths have crossed, in the spirit of Alison Gopnik’s recent book, The Gardener and The Carpenter, I hope I can provide you with an inspiring space where you feel free to explore these topics and see which seeds sprout for you, eventually growing to nurture your family.
Raise in place is the space where we’ll explore topics at the intersection of residential design and education-at-home - a mix of personal experiences, practical guides and applications, curated resources, and inspiration drawn from families like you in our greater community. All with the hopes of helping you to create a nurturing space and environment for your family to thrive in.
Keep an eye out at @buenomarket on instagram and here on our website for updates.
With much anticipation of what’s to come,
Questions, comments, requests > email@example.com
This article was originally published on the writing platform Substack on March 1st 2022. To find it and a complete collection of the original publications and to join as a free or paid subscriber, visit the Raise In Place on Substack.