Jennifer Thornton is the founder of Geekling Designs where she makes children's shirts and baby clothes with sayings such as 'miso cute' modelled by six-month-old Kaitlyn

Jennifer Thornton is the founder of Geekling Designs where she makes children's shirts and baby clothes with sayings such as 'miso cute' modelled by six-month-old Kaitlyn

Boosting geek chic one shirt at a time

Chilliwack, Geekling Designs, SavvyMom

All Jennifer Thornton wanted to do was dress her daughter in a style that complimented her and her husband’s personalities: Geek chic.

Anything Star Wars, Harry Potter, Nintendo, World of Warcraft would do. But after fruitless trips through kid boutique after kid boutique, and countless searches online, Thornton realized the only way her daughter would be able to take on the geek was by her own hand.

Good thing she’s crafty.

“I made a onesie on a lark,” she said of the first shirt she made in 2008 for her now three-year-old daughter Natalie.

The onesie featured a murloc – a World of Warcraft humanoid, with bulbous, prehistoric-looking frog and fish features – on the front.

“Everyone thought it was funny,” Thornton said.

What started as a lark spawned into a business.

Thornton’s home-based, handmade business, Geekling Designs, is up for the Savvymom Mom Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

The award was started five years ago by Savvymom, an online resource for Canadian moms, in an effort to celebrate great ideas and innovative solutions started by Canadian moms. And with $15,000 in prizes, by way of marketing, mentoring and more, it helps to advance businesses to the next level.

Geekling Designs fit the bill.

After that first shirt, where Thornton researched online how to screen print using cut-out stencils and transfer paper, she started making more: onesies with coined Harry Potter phrases like Dumbledore’s Army and I solemnly swear I am up to no good, Big Bang Theory idioms like Bazinga, anime dust bunnies, and more.

In total, she has approximately 50 different designs, ideas that came to her when watching TV and movies, playing video games, reading the news, and back-and-forth banter with her husband.

“I’m a bit of a geek,” Thornton giggled.

She started selling at swap meets, but switched to, an online site similar to Ebay, to better reach her target market: computer geeks. Before long, orders were coming in from the United States, Singapore, Australia, and various parts of Europe and the United Kingdom.

“The first two years I wasn’t able to pay myself, I was throwing every profit I made back into the company,” said Thornton, who puts 20 to 30 hours a week into the business.

Harry Potter changed that. Two Harry Potter movies in one year caused a boom to her business. Thornton, who’s half-way through her second maternity leave, said she’s now on track to being able to work on Geekling Designs full-time before her maternity leave is up.

It’s not easy being a mompreneur though. With two young daughters in tow, “little fingers tend to get in the way,” said Thornton.

As well, her current workspace is the dining table, where she has to pack everything up at night before dinner.

Thornton has plans to renovate her basement to better accommodate the business, and to upgrade her screen-printing equipment for improved efficiency and product production.

The SavvyMom award would help make that happen.

The top 10 mom entrepreneurs who receive the most online votes by Sept. 12 will be shortlisted. From there, a panel of judges will select a national winner based on business success, innovation and impact on community.

To vote, visit Voters can vote once a day, and are are also eligible for weekly prizes.

Just Posted

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
Student’s quote in Chilliwack high school yearbook equates graduation with end of slavery

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months. (RCMP photo)
Chilliwack RCMP looking for missing 20-year-old woman

Police say Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months

RCMP seek dash-cam footage after Chilliwack road rage incident

Male driving a black pickup stopped and allegedly threatened to punch another driver

Doses prepared at pop-up vaccine clinic in Toronto’s Jane and Finch neighbourhood, in the M3N postal code, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. ( THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston)
4 vaccine clinics coming to Neighbourhood Learning Centre

Fraser Health made clinics ‘low-barrier’ meaning pre-registration not required

Deepak Sharma of Abbotsford has been convicted of the sexual assault of one of his cab passengers in West Vancouver in January 2019.
Former Abbotsford Hindu temple president convicted of sexual assault

Deepak Sharma assaulted a female passenger when he was a cab driver

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

One Reconciliation Pole and two Welcome Figures were unveiled during a ceremony in honour of truth and reconciliation on National Peoples Indigenous Day at the Vancouver School District in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, June 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Horgan marks Indigenous Peoples Day by urging recognition of systemic racism

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been marked in Canada since 1996

Most Read