Spotlight on a Happipad Host
Paulette is one of a small but growing community of Hosts who choose to find their Guests with Happipad.com. Read her Happipad profile and you’ll get a sense of the type of person she is: “Integrity and having good relations is of great value to me. We hope to find a renter who shares some of the same values.”
I got to spend some time with Paulette a few days ago to listen to her remarkable story of growth and perseverance. I quickly realized that her journey to where she is today started from very humble beginnings.
Shortly after moving to Kelowna with her husband, both from Ontario, in 2006, her relationship ended and she found herself a single mother raising a three-year-old son. Realizing that she needed to upgrade her skills, she worked and attended courses that brought her to own her own business in interior design and renovations. She was renting at the time, and recalls her struggles moving from place to place.
“It was really tough because with every move, it meant finding another place, pack, move and then unpack, on my own. With a small child, it was really tough to find the time. I don’t know how I did it,” says Paulette.
And like many renters, Paulette accumulated some bad experiences with landlords.
“Many times I had landlords keep my deposit for whatever reason they could find. I could have fought for it, but I was just so tired that it wasn’t worth the time and energy. I value my mental health more than money.”
After completing her courses, Paulette launched her interior design business, Creative Touch Interiors, in 2007. Like many companies in the Okanagan, her business was hit hard by the recession of 2008-09, which forced her to go back to school to further upgrade her courses. She continued to still run her small business to make ends meet. She credits her family and network of friends from the Dragon Boat Society in Kelowna for helping her during those tough years.
“If there’s one bit of advice I can give to anyone who’s struggling to get by, make sure you reach out, meet people, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. The Dragon Boat Society has amazing people who were so welcoming to me. It’s amazing how your network will respond when you need help. I believe that we all fundamentally want to help each other.”
When the economy picked up again, she incorporated Creative Touch Interiors Inc. in 2015, rented office space, hired her first employee thereafter and hasn’t looked back since. With perseverance, success in business and help from family allowed her to achieve another milestone: buying her first home. Now Paulette is hoping to find an amazing long-term student tenant to share her home with.
“I’ve worked so hard to get to this point. I just want to find someone who will respect my home as if it were their home as I did when I was a tenant for all those years. Now being a landlord myself, and knowing what it’s like on the other side, I can accommodate so this can be a good experience for both parties and it be sustainable.”
Finally, Paulette’s story is a great example of why a healthy rental market is important for communities. Affordable rent allowed her to live in Kelowna, upgrade her skills, and ultimately, launch a business that’s creating jobs in the community. That’s something worth celebrating.