Nine-year-old buddies/neighbours Anneke VanderVelde (left) and Makinley Lloyd make use of their time at home by making their own sweater designs through a contest from Birch Hill Studio. (Submitted Photo)

Colouring contest brightens Vernon’s day

From kids to a 93-year-old get creative with design challenge

The coronavirus isn’t curbing creativity.

Before COVID-19 closed up shop, a local business had created a clothing design challenge. Birch Hill Studio put out a sweater design contest and the winning creation will be made into an actual sweater.

While the studio has closed its doors, the response to the online contest has been overwhelming with nearly 300 entries (the contest is no longer accepting entries).

The colouring contest appeals to mostly kids, but even a handful of adults got out their crayons and markers.

A 93-year-old woman even submitted her creation.

“The best part of the whole colouring contest wasn’t necessarily the sweater designs but people’s comments on the social media posts,” Birch Hill owner Sierra Harris said.

“I made it clear that only positive comments were welcome and it brought me to tears how lovely everybody was to complete strangers. Lots of love and encouragement for everybody’s designs!”

The winning design will have to wait until the store reopens to be printed.

In the meantime, amid the pandemic, Harris is appreciative of everyone who continues to support small businesses with online sales.

“We have a pretty loyal following on social media so our followers have been amazing and continue to support our business,” said Harris, who had to lay off one of her two employees.

“We’re regularly getting messages from our social media followers that they enjoy coming to our accounts as we keep things light and enjoy a good laugh, so if bringing levity to everybody’s day is what we can offer right now than that’s what we’ll keep doing.”

The company is also giving back amid all this through Harris’ eight-year-old daughter’s charity called Stella Saves.

Stella has been a vegetarian for three years and drew her favourite farm animals, which Harris had printed on T-shirts and sweaters.

The clothing is sold on Birch Hill Studio’s website with 50 per cent of the proceeds being donated to Canadian animal sanctuaries.

“In the fall, she donated $2,200 to the Kindred Farm Sanctuary. So we also did a colouring contest over there too for kids and the winner on that one will receive a free Stella Saves hoodie of their choice,” Harris said.

READ MORE: Envy Apparel spreads cheer in Vernon

READ MORE: Vernon celebrates stay at home heroes


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