it was kismet; the best things always are

subtitle: I should always listen to my mother.

tonic living, fabric, pillows, home decor, instagram, lulu leopard

Today marks the six-month anniversary of my career change and subsequent journey into significantly increased personal happiness… (dramatic, yes… but it’s true). How this all came to be is kind of hilarious, and an excellent example of why I should always listen to my mother (see subtitle).

This is a long post, but stick with me (or scroll to the bottom for more pretty, pretty pictures)…

Nearly two years ago, after a fun mother-daughter trip to Europe, my mom got super into her friend’s cousin’s Instagram (yes, this is relevant). We had stayed with another cousin of theirs while in Portugal. After that, the whole weird social media world worked its mysterious magic and voila, my mother is suddenly super excited about this place called Tonic Living. At this point I’m rather baffled, albeit impressed, that my mom sorted out how to navigate Instagram so effectively, but feel zero inclination to get in on the Tonic Living excitement.

Little did I know, this excitement was not going to diminish.

Unlike us “millennials”, who follow hundreds of accounts on Instagram, my mother follows exactly 21 (I just checked), which means she sees everything those 21 accounts post, which means… for the next entire year, I got text messages, on the regular, about how BEAUTIFUL Tonic Living is and when can we go? and oh Heather you should see if they’d display some of your furniture or cutting boards.

2 important things to note:

1) My mother is wonderful and one of my absolute favourite humans on this whole entire planet, for the record. (and yes, I’m making fun of her a little bit. Because I love her and I’m her daughter and that’s part of my job and also, she wins this blog post.)

2) During this time, I was absolutely MISERABLE at my old job and doing nothing substantial to pursue other career paths.

So this goes on and on (mom’s Tonic Living obsession and my misery at work).

One Saturday late last fall, my mom is in the city visiting and we’re getting in the car, about to drive up to her place for the afternoon, and she says:

“OMGOODNESS let’s stop at Tonic Living on the way!”

I say, with absolutely no actual clue: “Ooh I think they’re closed on the weekends.”

Mom: “Look it up and see!”

I Google and they’re closed! (YAY!)
I feign disappointment while internally celebrating.

Cut to a gloomy Netflix-filled Sunday evening in early February.

By this point, I’m in a deep, dark winter depression. Hating my job. Being generally miserable re: EVERYTHING IN ALL OF LIFE. And I get a text from my mom saying “TONIC LIVING IS HIRING! IT SOUNDS PERFECT FOR YOU! LOOK AT HER INSTAGRAM POST!”

This is approximately the one millionth time my mother has told me to look at a Tonic Living Instagram post.

But it was winter and did I mention that I hated my job? and soon everyone was going to hate ME because I was so grouchy so OK FINE, I went and looked. It peaked my interest. I even followed the caption instructing me to see the full job posting on

The job sounded kind of perfect to me and, just like that, Tonic Living was MY new favourite thing. Did I know what they did beyond sell fabric online? Not really. Were the pictures pretty? Yes. Was it better than working at a bank? ANYTHING WOULD BE.

I spent the next four hours combing their website to learn a little more about them, re-writing my resume, harassing one of my best friends (and her husband) to edit my resume, cover letter etc. I created a PDF document with highlights of my design work and searched my website for relevant posts to include. I emailed my application in at around 1:30 in the morning and immediately fell asleep with this passing thought: “Is it professional to apply for a job at this time of THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT? OH MY GOD PROBABLY NOT.” But five hours prior to this I hadn’t even cared so, whatever right?

I spent the next few days ACTUALLY CARING about this. I mildly harassed them with a follow up email and phone call. I asked a connected family member to put in a good word for me. I was DEEPLY uncomfortable with a) how much this suddenly mattered to me and b) what it seems to take to get a job these days.

They had me in for an interview the next weekend. I wore a good outfit (duh); I talked about my miserable bank job WAY too much and my self-made rookie design career WAY too little. I told them math wasn’t my favourite (k, it’s true but WHAT WAS I THINKING?) and that I have this crazy dream of turning my dad’s family farm into a venue space one day. I left really wanting the job / thinking they were so totally cool / feeling fairly certain that they thought I was a bit nutty / pretty sure I should have focused on OTHER THINGS in the interview. OH WELL, you live and you learn right?

But then… they called my references. Of course from there my hopes / excitement / irrational mental picture of my inevitable future working at Tonic Living took over. I’m happy to say that it all came true. (This would be a truly depressing and poorly titled blog post otherwise, eh?). About two weeks later I had my first day of work at Tonic Living.

When I wasn’t expecting it, the right thing came along and I went for it. Why did I finally listen to my mother and go look at Instagram? I don’t know. Why did I feel compelled to stay up into the wee morning hours to submit a job application when I wasn’t really pursuing new jobs? No idea. But I’m so glad I did.

The decision to leave a corporate job in banking that I’d had for nearly eight years and work for a much smaller business has, by far, been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.

I now work for an absolutely wonderful, entrepreneurial couple (Janine and Jon) who started a fabric business online from their home about 11 years ago. The company has grown and grown ever since.

We sell the prettiest pillows, home décor fabrics and sew custom drapery, roman blinds, duvet covers, shower curtains, seat cushions and more. I have SO MUCH FUN at work every day. Everybody is wonderful, supportive, kind and just generally lovely.

I’ve already learned so much, and continue to every day. I do a lot more math than I ever did at the bank; more math than I knew I was effectively capable of doing! Life surprises you sometimes like that. I play with pretty fabrics, help our wonderful clients out with whatever they need and I’m a generally happy gal – not grouchy, circa 6 months ago!

I’d be remiss if I wrapped this up without saying a big, BIG thank you to my mom for harassing me to the ends of the earth about Tonic Living :)

Comment / email / message me if you want to know more about what we do over at Tonic Living or to see about how I can help you with our custom window treatments and sewing services. Also, EVERYONE needs a beautiful pillow or two in life so… you should probably just quickly click here to shop online :)

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Check out the gallery below of some of our fabrics, pillows and custom work!

Tonic Living on Instagram

iHeart Organizing – designer: Jen (black and white custom drapery)
Lindsay Stephenson (custom roman blinds)
Sarah’s Rental Cottage on
The Curated Cabin – designer: Jordy Beale

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One Response to it was kismet; the best things always are

  1. Gina says:

    YESSSSS they are SOOO awesome!!! Here’s my pitch: I’m also a Tonic Living cult fanatic! Introduced by a friend of mine, I went to browse and fell in love. They’ve done our futon cover (beautifully), and I’ve gone to them for projects in literally almost every room of our house. Our basement futon/pillows, living room cushions, a quilt (yet to be completed), drapes in the baby’s room and Henry’s room, etc etc. They’re always so helpful, patient, courteous, and super creative! I go in so often it’s borderline embarrassing and they definitely know me (and my kids, and husband) by name….embarrassing.

    SO glad you made the switch Heather!!! And I love having an excuse to drop in every now and again :) xoxoxo

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