Local Entrepreneur Embraces Creativity Following Retirement
By Lindsay Penny
Diane Folkins entered through the front door looking alert, excited and wide-eyed. Surprising, since she had been out celebrating her 57th birthday the previous night. We took a seat on the couch by the window to soak up the spring sunshine that was flooding in. Diane was excited to share with me the events from the previous night.
“It was amazing. I don’t go out a lot, so when I do, it’s usually a special occasion. And it was, I guess. It was just way too much fun,” said Diane, owner of A Chime for Healing. “We had table service and we drank way too many doubles of margaritas. There was house music playing and people dancing… It was just so surreal.”
Diane Folkins had recently started her own business after working for other people for almost 40 years. The last 25 of which she worked for Edmonton Fire Rescue Services as the GIS mapping coordinator for 9-1-1 Dispatch. Diane was responsible for making sure that responding crews could find their way through the streets to an emergency. This was an incredibly stressful but rewarding experience for Diane.
“You’re all there for the same goal; saving people’s lives. It’s just very satisfying when at the end of the day everyone is going home safe and sound to their families, and that maybe some property was saved. It’s a good feeling.”
However, working for Edmonton Fire Rescue Services had its own set of challenges. “Just the amount of growth [in Edmonton] and trying to keep all the data and the addressing updated in the system [was difficult],” said Diane. “The amount of development there was so quick, a lot of places were occupied with families and we still couldn’t get a truck [to the area] because the road hadn’t been finished.”
The stress from the job transferred into Diane’s everyday life as well. “It was just something you were always thinking of, whenever you heard the sirens. It still triggers a little bit of anxiety and emotion now when I hear sirens.”
After working such a stressful job for so many years, Diane was ready for a change. “I had my 30 years [with the company], turned 55, so I had the magic numbers. I had always intended to do something else. I just needed to do something different. Something fun - no pressure - but still helping people too. Then I just happened to get back into my home workshop again. Eventually, the chimes came into fruition.”
A Chime for Healing creates custom healing wind chimes that help heal people who are suffering from the imbalance of the chaotic world we live in. We are all made of energy, consisting of frequency and vibration. Without balance, there is disharmony. A Chime for Healing helps to bring that harmony back into your life.
Diane’s eyes lit up as she began to speak about her new company - her new passion. “Having come from such a technical career, it was nice to be able to work with my hands and have something physical to show at the end of the day. We lose so much of our creativity from the time we start going to school that when you’re working your whole life, you have very little creativity left; unless you’re able to feed it and nurture it. This was an opportunity for that to happen.”
The joy that Diane felt towards her company extended far past her own feelings and others were also beginning to notice a change. Lynn Profitt, Diane’s partner in life and business, noticed positive changes in Diane’s mindset as well.
“She was much happier; I don’t think I could stress that enough,” said Lynn, energy healer and owner of Living Currents Energy & Life Coaching. “There was a definite reduction in stress levels. All of a sudden, she was enjoying things in life. She was finding new interests and reviving old interests.”
However, soon old stressors were replaced with new stressors for Diane – the stress of beginning her own company. Diane began to speak about how her own mental obstacles were the biggest obstacles she faced while starting her own company.
“It was just those nasty little voices in [my] mind that can be so mean sometimes - ‘Would this project be worth-while doing? Are people going to buy them?’ - Getting past that blockage was the biggest thing.”
When asked if she had any advice for other men and women who may be debating leaving the work-force to pursue their own company, Diane closed her eyes for a moment to think.
“We are all valuable,” Diane began. “All of our thoughts, ideas, opinions and creations are valuable. Don’t belittle yourself by thinking that you’re not of value. As long as you’re doing it with the true intention of helping people, I don’t think there’s any way you can go wrong.”
For now, Diane plans to continue creating wind chimes and focus on expanding her business. A Chime for Healing was recently invited to sell at the South Common Farmers Market in Edmonton beginning in May 2018.
“If you build it, they will come. Nurture the seed and it will grow. [A Chime for Healing] has gotten bigger than what I thought it would be… It’s very rewarding.”
Diane took a deep breath and calmly put together her final thoughts. “I guess just the parting gesture would be to not abandon your creativity. We’re born with it and it’s up to us to keep it nurtured. Life has a way of taking it away, but don’t let it. It’s very important.”
Diane took a chance on herself and worked hard to improve her skills and creativity, and it paid off. A Chime for Healing has been expanding over the years and Diane is excited to see where it takes her in the future.