When Bradford resident Tarila Morrone was on her second maternity leave, she knew she didn't want to go back to her office job in the city and started looking for other opportunities that would keep her closer to home.
With her creativity and passion for design, Morrone decided to open her children's clothing line, Hearts of Gems, a brand that represents diversity and inclusion and inspires change.
"This is very important to me as I don't see this when I look for positive messages for kids clothing," she explained.
Her inspiration for the clothing line? Her two young daughters Auriella and Micaela, who she describes as her 'gems'.
As a mother of biracial children, Morrone makes sure to embody the message that everyone is equal, no matter what their skin colour.
"Raising biracial children in a world that will try and tell them one parent is somehow superior because of their race, it is really important for me to educate and raise my girls to dispel that notion and see everyone as equal, and hope that they will teach others to do the same by their words and their actions," she said.
The business has become a sort of family affair with her girls acting as models and brand ambassadors, and her professional photographer husband, Domenico capturing all the content for the company's website and social media.
Some of the pieces sold in her online shop feature messages like 'It's Cool To Be Kind' and 'Kind People Are My Kinda People' to help reiterate positive, inclusive messaging.
"I thought it was a nice way of spreading positivity, one kid at a time," she shared.
Hearts of Gems collections include various designs, some even created by Morrone herself, and others thoughtfully collected from various manufacturers.
She carries the clothing in various sizes from baby up to 12 years old.
And while she loves her new venture, she admits it's proven to be more work than originally thought.
"I didn't really know all the intricacies of making it run," she said, "but I got head deep into and thought, I can't turn back now," she laughed.
It's a labour of love, because Morrone is passionate about the clothing brand and what it stands for and is determined to see it succeed, currently processing sales from all over Canada and the U.S.
"Because it's so personal to me, it is very rewarding," she said.
But Morrone isn't new to entrepreneurship. Prior to opening her clothing shop, she started her own online party supply business Traffic Gem, which she still runs on the side.
Her basement, is where she keeps all her inventory for each business separated into two rooms.
"I really scaled down my time on the party supply stuff," she said. "Hearts of Gems is newer and I'm still trying to get it off the ground, so it's taking up a lot of my time."
The Morrone family moved to Bradford two years ago from Richmond Hill.
A neighbour had told them about Bradford, which at the time Morrone thought was "too far".
"My husband and I were driving up the 400, and I said to him, we're not moving here, let's just turn back," she remembers.
But he insisted they at least drive around and check out what the town had to offer. And she was glad they did, because after visiting the neighbourhoods, she thought "actually, it kind of feels like home."
"We love it. We talk about moving, but moving within Bradford, I can't imagine moving anywhere else," she said.
To learn more about Hearts of Gems, visit their website here.