An avid quilter, it was no trouble for her to make and sell patchwork creations from her home, or to help others apply the finishing row of stitches to their work using her long-arm sewing machine.
In 2008, her love of quilting and embroidery led her to trade in her career as a postal worker for the life of an entrepreneur. She and her husband, Wade Mills, began Wave Creations.
With their basement as a storefront, they built up a stock of more than 1,600 quilts, plus a large inventory of fabric and crafting supplies. They also offer embroidered clothing items for local companies and organizations. They and their two employees have branded garments such as school sports jerseys, company fleece jackets and team sweatshirts.
“I never expected it to get this big,” Vera recalls. “We started out just doing quilts and a bit of embroidery, but it just went from there.”
In 2011, Wade left a longstanding career in the auto service industry to work with his wife in their growing enterprise. He’s glad he did and enjoys interacting with their clients.
“For me, it’s seeing how people respond to what we’re doing,” says Wade. “We’re serving people coast to coast and shipping things regularly to places from Port aux Basques to St. John’s.”
Their commercial equipment allows them to take almost any digital image, such as a fishing vessel, family pet or antique car, and apply it to garments.
A few years back, they created a jacket for a retiring boat-builder in Trinity displaying an embroidered image of the last boat he constructed.
The store is constantly buzzing with activity, not only customers from far and wide, but with the sounds of the machines stitching designs on fabric.
“It’s one of those things where, no matter what you do, you can still keep adding to it,” says Wade. “There are no limits. There are still people looking for things that we don’t do. If we were inclined to expand, we certainly could.”
The quilting side of the business is also thriving. Vera regularly hosts quilting groups at their studio, and leads a quilting retreat every fall.
Upstairs, she chuckles when she says the second floor is where she stores her “Harley.” It’s her quilting machine, not an actual motorcycle. It’s an enormous and intricate device, which uses a laser guide to sew quilts — completing labour-intensive work in much less time than the traditional method.
Vera says running Wave Creations has been a rewarding change from being a mail carrier, allowing her to do what she most enjoys — in comfort.
“I did the community mailboxes, so I was working outdoors. It was nice in July. In February, not so much,” she says with a laugh.