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Small Business Owner Skills and Community

äventyr bicycle bags owner DeAnn at American Swedish Institute

One of my first days on the job at ASI (still wearing face coverings then).

Life is a winding road where every stop you make along the way comes into play one way or another. There are many unexpected junctures and stops. When we quickly transitioned our e-commerce platform to Shopify shortly after our launch in 2018 (for multiple reasons), it was HARD, and not without its challenging moments. I certainly never would have expected to call myself a Shopify ‘expert’, nor would I have foreseen this ‘expertise’ would lead me down one of those unexpected junctures.

äventyr bicycle bags owner DeAnn at Canvas Worker Class at the Brown Buffalo in Costa Mesa, CA

This guy in the bottom right (Dave from slimfold) convinced me to make the move to Shopify after we spent a week together at a Canvasworker Class in Costa Mesa, CA (weeks before the äventyr launch).

But in April 2021, there I was ~ accepting a part-time job at American Swedish Institute driving the e-commerce experience on their soon-to-launch Online Museum Store created on Shopify!

äventyr bicycle bags owner DeAnn volunteering at American Swedish Institute

Volunteering at ASI in 2018

Many of you who have been on this journey with me know that the American Swedish Institute (ASI) has been a special place to me since moving here from San Francisco in 2006.  In particular, I have discussed before that ASI is where I began to ideate and formulate what became äventyr when I started volunteering there after leaving my job in 2017 [and we eventually were venders at Julmarknad].

äventyr bicycle bags at Julmarknad 2019 at the American Swedish Institute

äventyr at Julmarknad at ASI 2019

I have long admired the leadership at ASI and been thankful for the warm hospitality the staff has always shown me, and it is now an honor to be a member of the amazing staff.

äventyr bicycle bags owner DeAnn in the Design Studio

Being a one-woman operation with äventyr is frequently lonely.  When I was an art student in college I said I could never be an artist because I could not handle being in a studio alone all day. So, I have known from day one that forming community with äventyr would be important to me ~ as a main tenet of our business, as a business owner, and as a person.  

Kafferep at the American Swedish Institute founded by äventyr bicycle bags owner DeAnn

Maybe before it's time ~ I enjoyed the Kafferep group I organized at ASI.

But the idea of forming community can be much more difficult than the practice, especially when a pandemic arrives when you are just getting your business up on its feet.  All the work I had done both on äventyr community building, and business networking building, as well as friendship building on a personal level, felt like it fell off a cliff over the last year and a half ~ a deflating and disappointing feeling. 


So when the opportunity presented itself to be part of the ASI community I knew I would be proud to be a part of, using the skills I have been building for my business over the last three years to support a place that has been so supportive of me as an individual, and then having a few days a week to get out of my head (and out of my studio) ~ I knew it was the right fit at the right time.


Enjoy my tour of the new American Swedish Institute website and Online Museum Store!

Three months after starting my position at American Swedish Institute, I am proud to say that the new American Swedish Institute Online Museum Store has gone ‘live’, along with a brand new ASI website! I have worked hard over the last few months to create an intuitive and visually interesting user experience with creative, informative, and educational copy. I hope you enjoy visiting ‘The Shop’ as much as I have enjoyed building it from the ground up.


On behalf of myself, and my amazing colleagues at American Swedish Institute ~ I would like to welcome you to the ASI Online Museum Store ~ Välkommen!


[Note: right now you will click over to our Shopify web address until it is fully merged with the new ASI website]