About Elaine, Owner/Operator of Children's Harnesses by Elaine, Inc.
First off, I don't have children with special needs. Both my boys are neurotypical. So you may be wondering how and why I'm running a business where over half of my customers are children with autism, ADHD, aspergers, Down Syndrome and a number of other neurologic disorders.
As with all things directed by God, it makes perfect sense when you hear the facts.
There I was, minding my own business, making my little toddler harnesses to sell to other parents who were just as disappointed with the quality of all the other toddler harnesses on the market. I was very happy doing my own thing but apparently that wasn't God's plan for me.
Shortly after starting my business, I was at a local trade show as a vendor when someone came into my booth and asked me if I did custom orders. Her friend had a 9 year old boy with autism and she had to have him on a rope every time they left the house. Well heck, I could do better than that so I gave her my business card to pass along to her friend and the rest, as they say, is history.
Do I have any experience with special needs? You bet I do. My darling sister who was 11 months younger than myself had Down Syndrome. Her and I did everything together. She was my best friend, my comfort, my conspirator, and the instigator for a lot of our adventures. Her failing health, her oxygen tanks, her wheelchair were minor inconveniences that did little to slow us down.
She died in 1998.
I started my toddler harness business in October 2006. That lady came into my booth in December 2006. Now most of our customers are children with special needs. It's clear to me that Childharness.ca is my sister's legacy. It's clear to me that all her lessons to me live on every day in what we do and how we help families who are blessed to have children with special needs. I was made for this work, I had a good teacher in my sister. And I clearly have God steering this business.
Now for the more boring stuff... I attended U.W.O., received a B.Sc. and worked for a number of years in the investment industry in London, Ontario. In 1990, I opted for a new challenge and got accepted by World University Services of Canada to volunteer as a teacher in Malawi, Central Africa. While there, I was hired by UNICEF and two years of volunteer commitment turned into five! Upon returning home, I attended U. of T. for a Masters degree and worked in research along Hospital Alley in Toronto. During that time I took up running and met my future husband at the local running club. Marriage and babies had to follow quickly – I was 39 and he was 41! God blessed us with the safe arrival of a son in 2003 and another in 2004. In 2005, I returned to running, added cycling and swimming and completed a few triathlons that summer (including Ironman Canada). I started my harness business at the end of 2006 and completed Ironman Wisconsin in September 2007.
I have left behind the 3+ hours of daily commute and am extremely happy as a stay-at-home Mom. An active, healthy lifestyle is central to our household and having our boys on harnesses gives them the freedom to walk as much as they like while reducing my risk of a heart attack worrying about them getting hit by a car or wandering off! But I must close by saying that I truly love the fact that my own Mom, who is 81, can put these harnesses on her grandchildren and safely and confidently take them for a walk on her own, which would not be possible otherwise.
Again, thank you for visiting our website. Elaine
P.S. I started doing some creative writing in December 2012. Some of the stuff is me just messing around, some of it is stories I've written for the boys. The address is Mental Stretch, just in case you have few minutes to spare....Thank you!