Why do we accept that playtime is exclusive to kids? And why are we conditioned to believe that the more we work, the more we’ll succeed?
Well, we shouldn't.
It is under that framework that Peterborough's Deanna Henry is tapping into the adult pursuit of positivity, wellness and happiness in a beautiful way with her start-up Modern Alchemy.
Henry after winning recent local youth entrepreneurial competition Cubs' Lair
Described as a "playroom for adults" and a "gym membership for the soul", Modern Alchemy will offer a range of fun, experiential activities for the purpose of relaxation, stress relief and creativity in a studio space in Peterborough.
Henry, winner of the recent Cubs' Lair youth entrepreneurial competition in Peterborough, tells PTBOCanada that "Modern Alchemy will feature simple, tangible challenges like painting, puzzles, colouring, Lego—anything that inspires a playful, feel-good state to lighten our mood and enhance our sense of well-being."
Henry presenting her concept to audience and judges at Cubs' Lair in Gordon Best Theatre
Henry, a Crestwood grad who attended Durham College for graphic design and worked recently as a designer at BrandHealth, has grand designs for her start-up.
"My goal is for Modern Alchemy to be more than a playroom—I’d like to start a movement," she tells PTBOCanada. "There’s a pervasive idea nowadays that playtime is a luxury, and that the more we work the better off we'll be. But a life lived without play is at increased risk for stress-related diseases and mental health issues."
Henry getting the keys to her office space at The Cube, which will help her develop her biz
Henry will be helped immensely by the Innovation Cluster's The Cube—a local incubator for high-potential start-ups—in realizing her dream of bringing this to this community and beyond.
Indeed, one can imagine a Modern Alchemy studio space(s) in every city big and small—and utility in Modern Alchemy teams going on the road and taking their "happy kits" to businesses and corporations.
"My goal through Modern Alchemy is to encourage everyone to make more time for their playful heart—especially in a tangible way," she tells PTBOCanada. "It doesn't make sense to spend all our down-time zoned out in front of screens, always consuming, and rarely making use of our incredible creativity. It's in all of us, whether we believe we're creative or not."
Henry tells PTBOCanada it boosted her own confidence bigtime by winning the Cubs' Lair competition recently and now having the Innovation Cluster behind her.
"Last spring, I took a huge leap of faith and walked away from a secure job, with no plan other than to figure out what I truly want to live for," she says. "Crazy, I know, but I had to trust my gut. I wrote out a list of exactly how I wanted to spend my day to day, and without realizing it, I had invented Modern Alchemy. It wasn’t until one electric moment that the business idea took shape, and it was Cub’s Lair that inspired the courage I needed to take action."
Henry presenting at Cubs' Lair
Henry tells PTBOCanada: "Cubs’ Lair has given me a path to a new and incredibly exciting future. Letting go of the life I had planned to follow my heart was absolutely the right decision, and I hope my story will inspire others to do the same."
Henry's next big steps are finding a studio space in Peterborough—the goal is to open by Summer 2016—and ironing out exactly how the business will operate and build. The team at The Cube will be helping her with all of this.
"What I’m looking forward to most is brainstorming all the fun stuff I’d like to include in the studio," she tells PTBOCanada. "A sandbox? Ball pit? Bubble wrap station? Anything goes! I’d love to hear from those interested what they’d like to see."
Henry will also be offering contract programs for anyone interested in working with her before the official launch, a great chance to beta test her company as it develops.