An eight-month-old with pink toenails is eye-catching. Most babies and toddlers have toenails too tiny to paint.
But little Sophie Grace breaks into huge smiles as she wiggles her little pink-tipped tootsies from under a homemade tutu.
Sophie’s mom, Amy Tyrrell, admits to using her daughter as a guinea pig.
But the non-toxic, extremely quick-drying, pink polish on Sophie’s toes was just for fun, she said.
The real experimentation was in the tutu.
Tyrrell went to an esthetics school in Kelowna, B.C., after working in a spa and learning pretty much everything she needed to know about the beauty business.
It came very naturally, said Tyrrell.
So, after graduating, the aspiring young professional left the spa and set off on her own. It didn’t take long for the new entrepreneur to discover a niche market that was largely untapped. Tyrrell became a mobile esthetician.
Catering mainly to moms, seniors and house parties, Tyrrell offered manicures, pedicures and waxing in the comfort of her clients’ own homes.
When she and her husband moved to the Yukon three years ago, Tyrrell brought her uncommon but popular practice with her.
Now, Tyrrell boasts one of the only mobile esthetics services in Whitehorse.
On first visits, a lot of her clients mention how difficult it is to find someone who can come to them.
But her business had to take a back seat while Tyrrell took a
regular 9-to-5 job after moving up North. Then she got pregnant with Sophie.
On maternity leave, Tyrrell started up her travelling esthetics once again, serving her client base of about 15 regulars with new, or one-time, calls coming in regularly, she said.
Still, the longtime crafter wasn’t quite satisfied.
Once Sophie arrived, it spurred a new interest in the first-time mom.
Fueled by her own needs, and the needs of other young mothers she spoke to while doing their nails or waxing them, Tyrrell began making something most Yukon moms want, but can’t find in the territory – nursing aprons.
Nursing aprons allow for private nursing in public places, she explains.
A modern, more precise take on the old blanket-over-the-shoulder technique, a nursing apron allows full coverage, with a little flair.
Tyrrell adapted a pattern from her favourite apron (purchased online) and bought herself a sewing machine.
A little bit of ribbing allows for moms to look down at their nursing babies, without juggling a falling blanket. The simple ribbon-tie is not only adjustable with one hand, but allows moms to get up and walk around while nursing.
Best of all, the gorgeous eyelet material is a favourite for most babies, allowing them to glimpse outside, without the outside being able to really peak in.
Tyrrell’s husband, who encouraged her to try making the simple design herself, calls them “Tataflage,” or camouflage for the new mothers’ “ta-tas.”
The name stuck and became the first item in Tyrrell’s new “Yukon Grace” esthetics and baby accessories line.
“I love crafting,” said Tyrrell. “When I go to craft fairs, I love looking at what people make. I love finding what people spend their time doing. So when I’m not working, this is my ideal thing to do because I can stay home with my baby and I can spend time with people. I love spending time with people.
“When I am able to go and do people’s nails, or whatever, it’s a way of interacting and it’s more than just doing esthetics, it’s spending time and connecting with other moms and connecting with other ladies. And it’s fun. I love the artsy side of it all.”
The joining of her older love, esthetics, with her newer love, baby accessories, was a natural move, she added.
“The two go together,” said Tyrrell. “I correlate baby accessories and mobile esthetics because babies get pampered and get accessories but moms need to have a bit of pampering, too, and if I can bring that to them to make life easier, I’m happy to do it.”
For now, Tyrrell has already signed up for the territory’s plethora of Christmas craft fairs and has products in both Angellina’s Toy and Children’s Boutique and Bella Home Decor in Whitehorse.
Technically, the business is still a “fun hobby” for the young mom, who is reaching the end of her maternity leave. But Tyrrell admits she’d like to see it “be more” eventually.
She already has some new ideas, she said.
It won’t be long until Sophie, her inspiration and guinea pig, will be ready for some toddlers’ clothes and toys, she noted with a smile.
Yukon Grace esthetics and baby accessories can be found on Facebook or reached at (867) 335-4862.