Jennifer St. John wanted to give back to an illness that left an indelible mark on her family.
So the Marnie & Michael founder opted to create a social enterprise devoted to cultivating a supportive virtual mental health community, which includes donating 15% of all profits from her Penetanguishene-based artisan handbag business to mental health charities and initiatives.
“My Mom was basically living the majority of her life with mental illness,” St. John tells MidlandToday.
“She was not diagnosed until she was 52 and she passed away just before her 62nd birthday. So for the last 10 years, she lived a life that was more indicative of where she wanted to be.”
Growing up with a bipolar mother, St. John experienced the traumatic highs and lows and lack of stability when raised in a family with mental illness and had access to little support, if any.
The illness also played a part in her parents’ (Marnie and Michael) eventual breakup.