Wee Sang Designs
Courtney happened to attend the the Smart Business Innovation Awards as a student of Montessori High School in University Circle. The school, which opened in 2008, "provides a unique learning opportunity by combining experience-based developmental learning with formal academic disciplines, and partnering with University Circle Institutions as interdisciplinary resources to create an exceptional experience."
The unique learning atmosphere, community involvement, and opportunity to develop her business drew Courtney from Canada to Cleveland last year. When asked why and how she made the big leap to the U.S. she simply stated, "I knew it was the right thing to do in order to get my business off the ground." Courtney's authentic style, sweet demeanor, generous heart and dedication to her business shook me to the core. I was completely inspired by how she outlined the mission of her business with such ease and articulation. Wow!
Courtney's love for fashion and sewing started as a young girl when her mother first taught her how to sew. As Courtney began to make new and cool products, her friends took notice and began asking her to make items for them too...and it took off. The great thing is, in Canada, they do not use disposable grocery bags in the store, so people must bring their own bags to do their shopping. Courtney saw the demand and went for it! She began making totes and bags from upcycled juice drink packaging.
|Photo source: Duncan Field|
|Photo source: Duncan Field|
Her popular Jammers line...
clearly we are a match made in heaven!
JAM will DEFINITELY be purchasing something from this line!
|Courtney den Elzen, co-founder of Wee Sang Designs, Recipient of YMCA Peace Medallion 2011|
|Wee Sang Design sisters Hailey and Courtney den Elzen|
Courtney said it was great as a young female and entrepreneur in Cleveland. Her favorite hangout spot, when she's not busy working on her business or creating designs on her sewing machine, is the University Circle area. She frequents the Cleveland Museum of Art, walks around Wade Lagoon with friends, and finds inspiration in all the new construction and hustle and bustle going on in the Circle. We both are dying to check out MOCA! I feel some design inspirations coming onnnn!!!
Courtney's school works diligently to pair students with opportunities in the community to learn and expose them to other small business owners. Her only hope for other female entrepreneurs is a specific network to foster business ideas and promote other women's businesses in the community. Especially as a budding entrepreneur, Cleveland lacks a specific network or online community solely dedicated to female entrepreneurs. But Courtney seeks as many ways to immerse herself in the Cleveland community, culture and character. She's involved in a new nonprofit in Cleveland that focuses on delivering positive, productive, confidence building workplace seminars called That Can Be Me. And is on a youth panel at the University School Entrepreneur Institute.
May your dreams take you on positive adventures in CLE and beyond!!!