All along the shores of Nova Scotia, you’ll find driftwood. These washed up pieces of wood are often from eroded trees that have been swept into the ocean, but can also be from man-made structures. Regardless of the origin, driftwood can make unique sculptures, furniture and gift item- like the driftwood buoy key chain by Fabulous Attic in the summer Nova Box.
Johanna Knopf is the lovely owner/artist behind Fabulous Attic. Originally from Germany, Johanna and her family moved to Dublin Shore, Nova Scotia in April 2010. Johanna had always wanted to pursue her creative abilities, but balancing a career and family made this difficult. Settling in Nova Scotia allowed her to finally achieve her dream of being a creative entrepreneur. Over the years, Johanna has extended the selection of handmade items, adding refinished furniture, custom signs, photography, and woodworking to her product mix.
We spoke with Johanna, and asked her what it’s been like to own a business in rural Nova Scotia as a new Canadian.
(How) has owning your own business changed your life? For many years owning my own business that sold home decor, gifts, refinished furniture and art had been my dream. Very slowly but continuously I developed a business plan; I also made connections to other businesses and met various people that helped me along the way.
Working on my dream changed my life in many ways. Firstly, I love being able to express my creativity. Secondly, I love being responsible for what I create, especially when I work for other gift shops. It makes me proud of myself and extremely happy. I'm even happier when my customers and other people enjoy my creations as much as I do!
What has your experience been like as a new Canadian and business owner? Although our move to Canada was very well organized, there were still some unpredictable situations. Our neighbors and the community supported us a lot and helped in many cases. In terms of my business, I experienced an overwhelming amount of support, not only by our neighborhood and community, but also by business partners and customers. This made it easy for me to live my dream of being creative and operating my own business.
Why did you choose Nova Scotia as your new home? Why Lahave? A friend of ours, whose family has been living in Nova Scotia for many years, brought us here. Instantly we fell in love with this beautiful province with all its variety in terms of landscape, climate and people. Coincidentally we found the most amazing home right on the ocean in LaHave.
Johanna is very passionate about she does. I can tell she takes great pride in her work, and very much enjoys sharing it with her customers and friends. Often drawing inspiration from her surroundings, Johanna saw a plain driftwood key chain on a trip to the Netherlands and decided to make her own with a colorful spin. The driftwood keychain is part of her signature line called “JK Line.” Collected from the shores near her house, each piece is totally unique.