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Charlottetown entrepreneur opens interior design business

Damien Packwood, 32, had to overcome a few obstacles before opening his own interior design business in Charlottetown. But two weeks after opening the doors he says everything is operating smoothly.
Damien Packwood, 32, had to overcome a few obstacles before opening his own interior design business in Charlottetown. But two weeks after opening the doors he says everything is operating smoothly.

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - A 32-year-old Charlottetown entrepreneur has realized his dream of owning his own business, but it took a fluke to make it happen.

Damien Packwood went on the hunt for programs offered to young entrepreneurs looking to start a small business.

However, he didn’t fit into many of the categories such as rural, Skills P.E.I. (EI eligible) or immigrant.

He could have gone to the bank but then he heard about a program called the Impact program, a rebrand of the former seed capital program, money which helps turn a venture into a tangible, viable business.

He opened his own business, Damien Morris Designs, two weeks ago.

“I’m not exporting so that cancels out a whole bunch of (programs) for me, I don’t live in rural P.E.I. so that cancels out a whole bunch of other ones,’’ Packwood says. “I was leaving my job to start my own business so then that cancels out Skills P.E.I. for me so then I was kind of left with nothing.’’

Then, he got his break.

“I talked to my accountant and she mentioned the Impact program. Used to be the seed capital program. She mentioned that and that’s the only way I’ve been able to open. Without that, I wouldn’t really have had any other option.’’

He even tried going through Innovation P.E.I. but hit a wall there, too.

“From start to finish, it was a frustrating process. It was a fluke that I found out about the program. It was hard. I’m trying to do this business and every five steps it was ‘no’ and you’d go in a different direction and it would be ‘no’.’’

Packwood says even designing the interior of houses for Greenleaf Construction, guaranteed work, didn’t secure funding for him.

Packwood began his interior design dream 15 years ago by enrolling in a course in Newfoundland and Labrador. He followed that up with a course at Holland College.

That’s when he met his future wife, Alicia. They started a family and put down roots in Charlottetown.

Packwood immediately looked for ways to make his business unique.

He points to a program he bought called 20/20 Design that enables him to do 3D elevations of the inside of homes.

“Mostly I use it for furniture placement. Kitchen design is really comprehensive. We can basically change colours, backsplash countertops and redesign the whole thing. I find that if I can put it in a program and you can see it, you can walk through your room, you can visually see where this is going to go and this is where that’s going to go . . . I think that’s a big bonus.’’

He also offers consultation services for home owners who are hands on.

“I will go into a house and basically spend two hours with you and suggest potential changes that you have an opportunity to implement yourself.’’

 

Need to know

Following is information on how to find and reach Damien Morris Designs

- Located at 425 Brackley Point Road, Suite 2

- Call 902-218-0598

- Email Damien@damienmorrisdesigns.ca

dave.stewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

 

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