About: The Story of Chiller Whale
& handmade products
from Calgary, AB
Hello! I'm Emily, the founder of Chiller Whale!
Chiller Whale got its start because I went looking for activities to keep me busy and quiet my mind during the first stages of the pandemic. I was lucky and grateful to have time during the spring 2020 lockdown to try new things, and I fell 100% in love with everything about embroidery.
As someone who lives with OCD and ADHD, I value meditative activities that can help draw me out of my own head for a while. I immediately found the tactile, hands-on nature of embroidery engaging. I love the peaceful rhythm of stitching, the sound of the needle punching through the fabric, and the fact that every stitch is its own creative decision. Stitching helps me feel calm and focused.
(By the way, while embroidery helps me cope with anxiety, it's not what actually helped me recover from OCD. That was medicine and therapy. Seek help from a doctor or mental health professional if you're dealing with mental illness. Check out the Canadian Mental Health Association https://cmha.ca/ if you don't know where to start!)
As I began to follow and learn from more experienced fibre artists, I took inspiration from their incredible work and creativity. I couldn't stop stitching once I got going, and it became clear that I was going to run out of room on my walls for displaying all those hoops!
So, I started daydreaming about starting this business throughout the spring of 2020, and once summer hit and I had more time (I had also been working as a secondary English teacher), I was eager to get going.
As I began designing the first kits for Chiller Whale, I wanted to make sure that the instructions would be as accessible as possible. The first embroidery project that I ever made was from a kit, but it was not beginner-friendly. The instructions were minimal and vague, and they said nothing about how to get started with a needle and thread. As an absolute beginner I felt lost, and ended up searching all over the internet for answers to my basic questions.
Our kits needed to include ALL the information needed to confidently get started with embroidery and have an easy, chill experience producing a beautiful design. I'm proud of how easy it is to pick up one of our kits and start stitching, with detailed written and video instructions, as well as extra thread and fabric for practice.
I hope that through offering the most beginner-friendly kits out there, we can help many more people discover stitching as a form of self-care. Chiller Whale is just getting started, and I'm so excited to see where we go!
Chiller Whale's Values:
- Community - We value the communities that we're a part of and we want to see them thrive. This is why we support local organization ActionDignity.
- Responsibility - We believe in social responsibility and are committed to continuously finding more sustainable ways to produce and ship our products.
- Mental Health - We believe in treating ourselves and everyone else with kindness, and prioritizing mental health. We view stitching as a form of self-care and we hope to create a welcoming community of artists (from beginner to pro!) where everyone is treated with respect and understanding.