Sooke resident Kimberly Elkas has started creating wreaths made from fallen branches, twigs, and leaves she finds along Sooke’s waterfront and forest trails. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Sooke resident Kimberly Elkas has started creating wreaths made from fallen branches, twigs, and leaves she finds along Sooke’s waterfront and forest trails. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Sooke woman launches wreath-making side hustle amid shuttered business

“I’m now waking up with purpose,” says owner of Fresh Foraged Wreaths Sooke

Kimberly Elkas never imagined that a walk along the Sooke waterfront on a windy day would ignite a passion that was buried deep inside her nearly two decades ago.

It was a crisp morning in late November when the Sooke woman spotted several branches and leaves that had been scattered by a windstorm near the Marine Boardwalk. As a floral designer in Ontario in the early 2000s, she loved creating new pieces, each with its unique flair.

Slowly but surely, the wheels started turning in her head. That’s when it hit her – she could make wreaths.

Elkas never created the holiday decoration before but decided to give it a try. She started collecting as many scrap pieces as she could find: evergreens, ivy, holly, herbs, ferns, salal and the occasional piece of driftwood. Within two weeks, she’s launched Fresh Foraged Wreaths Sooke and has sold more than 20 custom pieces, with a growing order list.

Some wreaths feature large amounts of holly, with bright red berries to pop for the holidays, while others boast an abundance of evergreens sticking out right, left and centre. One wreath takes two to three hours to make, as each is uniquely crafted.

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Elkas credits the pandemic for waking up the artistic passion within her, as she’s had to shut down her small business that specialized in cleaning and professional organization. Her business closed in August and her new venture has turned into the perfect side hustle.

“I’m now waking up with purpose,” said Elkas. “I’m so thankful that something good came from such a bad situation. It’s been wonderful getting to help people feel connected even though we’re in a pandemic.”

She pointed out that a recent order came from an Australian woman whose son and his own family live in Sooke. The Australian woman has arranged to order one that says “You are loved” on the front of a small piece of driftwood, followed by “From your crazy family” on the back.

Elkas provides free delivery within Sooke, charges $5 to surrounding communities such as East Sooke, Shirley, and Otter Point, and charges $10 out to Langford.

Those interested in ordering a wreath can send a message on her Facebook page or call 250-415-9318.

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aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com

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