Meet Angela Dione: Market Collective Co-Founder

Image by Mike Tan

Image by Mike Tan

 We are so damn excited to bring you a interview with Angela Dione, the other half of the team that founded Market Collective. Angela is such a lovely woman, and I've truly enjoyed getting to chat with her throughout this process. When I was volunteering I was in the kitchen helping out with Sugar Water Bar, which is where the MC team sets up camp for the weekend. I got to hang out with her and meet her family (such a sweet little girl!), and I remember that she had such a calming & supportive energy that I felt safe in that room. I was so excited to read her very personal answers to our questions. Read on below to see what I mean.

When you started MC in 2008, what were your goals and hopes for the market? How have they changed since then?

If I were asked this question back in 2008, I would have answered that I wanted to create something that connected creative people and was valuable to the community. Looking back, and now being able to reach a deeper level of self-understanding, I think there was another reason. Working with my hands and having a creative practice has always been my calling. I think deep down, I was trying to fulfill that need by helping as many people as possible. Now that I have put so much of my support towards other people’s dreams, my goals have shifted inward.

What drove you to take the leap to start this project, and to keep going when up against obstacles like the economy or no longer being allowed to use your original space?

I started this with a need to do something that made me feel creative and impactful in a big city. I come from a small town, and often felt restricted going against the status quo. When I moved to the city, I loved how possible everything felt. It instilled me with a resilience and confidence, and I wasn’t going to let anyone stop me from accomplishing what I set out to do. The economy? It shifts and is a workable situation. No longer being allowed to use our original space? That was a big change at the right time and it made us even stronger.It was more the emotional obstacles that challenged me along the way. Being attached to your business and in the public eye during life-changing times can be difficult, and I have learned from these experiences. They have taught me the shifts and support of community, the capacity of inner strength, and the beauty of privacy.

Can you describe how much MC has grown since that first year?

Market Collective is so much of who I am, and for that reason I feel like the essence of the MC has remained the same, just on a much larger and impactful scale. I am proud that from the work we have done, people are able to live their creative dreams, and have the financial success to develop their practice. When I think about how much Market Collective has grown, I think about all the people have grown with it.

What have been some of your biggest successes? Biggest struggles?

The biggest success and struggle has been the growth of my partnership with Angel. Business partnerships are difficult, but it isn’t until you are in one that you fully understand those complexities. This is someone that you are with every single day. In a romantic relationship, you have loving downtime where your relationship can breathe. In a business partnership, especially in the start-up phase of a small business, you are constantly overworked and stressed around each other. Every side of your personality comes out. Angel and I have put a lot of work into our partnership, and I have never felt so comfortable and healthy about it as I do right now. Over the last seven years, we have seen each other through thick and thin and I am so proud of what we have accomplished together.

When you started, did you believe it would grow into what it is today? Now that we’re here, do you see it growing more?

I don’t think that I ever could have imagined it growing into what it is today. I am so grateful, and sometimes spellbound, about how much it has grown and how it still maintains its charm. I believe we can always be better, and I want to see the MC thrive and continue to be a positive impact for the city and our lives.

What would be your absolute dream for MC? What would be the thing that you could accomplish and think: “this is it – we’ve done it”?

I have a lot of those moments of “this is it – we’ve done it” and I don’t think those will stop as long as Market Collective exists. I really enjoy that it is now a community of hundreds of people putting energy into a project they believe in. I don’t have an absolute dream for the MC, because I feel like we’ve been living in it. It exists all the time and it’s just growing.As for an absolute dream of mine, I would love to get Market Collective to a place where I can take a step back when the time is right, and finally, after all these years, pursue my own dreams and really dedicate myself to a creative practice. I trained as a fine woodworker two years ago, and I feel this creative need inside of me every day,wanting to get out. I don’t even know if woodworking is what I would solely do, but I would like the time and space to explore that feeling and see what comes from encouraging this side of myself.

What projects for 2016 are you most looking forward to?

For 2016, I am really looking forward to just loving my family and being present with myself. I am a very strong, driven and ambitious person, and while I respect that aspect of myself, I also want to give space to the gentler side of life. I want to focus on my beautiful daughter, my loving partner, and our supportive friendships we’ve grown along the way. I want to enjoy what has been created around me.I have learned a lot about myself in the past few years, and am in a place where I feel connected and strong. From this space, I feel good about whatever I end up doing, because I know I will be following my heart and instincts. Whatever ends up growing from that type of nourishment will be beautiful and lasting.

What have been some of the biggest challenges setting this up in a city that is fairly conservative and corporate driven? What has been some of the feedback you’ve received?

It’s all about perspective, and I realize this as I learn more about life. The conservative nature of this city has formed our business in many ways, and has highlighted the things we respect about it, as well as ways we want to differ from that model. As for being corporately driven, this has given us the challenge to be strong with our vision and has instilled a work ethic for us to not back down in the face of adversity. This has strengthened our confidence around what we can accomplish. All of it has been necessary for us to get to a place where we are today.

What advice do you have for people who are looking to start something of their own, or branch out on a path that’s a little bit different from the norm here in Calgary?

It is an incredible dedication to start something on your own, and I think it is important to really examine why you are doing it. This will allow you to understand yourself and what is important to you. It will also give you the openness to take in lessons when they appear. Also, trust your instincts. If you respect that side of yourself, it will get stronger.As for branching out on a path that’s a little bit different from the norm in Calgary, it doesn’t matter what city you live in, just be true to yourself. There is no point in living any other way. It is also the path that will challenge you in ways you can’t imagine.Put in the good work to learn about yourself, be kind to others, and protect yourself from destructive people that show up along the way. Always remain open to lessons. It’s an important way to live, and at the end of it, you will be your true self. There is nothing more comfortable and beautiful.

What inspires and motivates you to keep growing, both in the regards of MC and your personal life?

Many MC artists inspire me, because they create work they believe in, and I am constantly inspired by the community that supports one another. It motivates me to continue providing the space for these interactions. As for my personal life, my partner is very loving and supportive, and that love and encouragement has opened up a world of possibilities. Above all though, I have a beautiful little baby girl, and she is the single most important person in my life. Raising a little woman has inspired me to be the best woman I can be for myself, and in turn, the best woman and mother I can be for her.

How has Market Collective changed your life? How have your life changed how Market Collective developed?

My life has changed drastically over the last seven years, and this has definitely influenced Market Collective. By knowing my love of freedom, as well as the importance of my family, I try to shape the MC to work with my life goals, not against them.In turn, I can’t even begin to describe how Market Collective has changed my life. It has given me invaluable lessons on organization, business, and leadership. It has taught me patience, dedication, and the beauty of privacy together with the strength of friends. It has provided me with a community and has given me a career where I feel a sense of purpose. Most of all, it is how I met my partner, and from that we have a beautiful baby… there is nothing bigger than that for me. I am very grateful for what the Market Collective has provided me.On a side note, or I guess an endnote, I am also grateful for the opportunity to answer these questions. I am currently sitting at a desk that I made myself, drinking a tea from a mug of my favourite MC ceramist, and celebrating International Women’s Day. These questions have given me a time of contemplation and allowed me to put my thoughts into words. Seems like a pretty great way to spend the day. Thank you.

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