WBC Member Spotlight: Caroline Bardwell, Schenectady Trading Company

From the desk of Lauren Axford, Executive Director, Pine Hollow Arboretum

Image result for schenectady trading company caroline bardwell

Photo By: Daily Gazette

Meet Caroline Bardwell, Proprietor of the Schenectady Trading Company! The Schenectady Trading Company is a store that “residents and visitors can find affordable goods that are created locally and also find items that are inspired by the area and its history – architecture, invention, electricity, locomotives, Erie Canal heritage, Dutch and indigenous origins, and the Mohawk River.”

Read about what inspires her, how she spends her free time and what she has gained from being a member of the Capital Region Chamber’s Women Business Council.

When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time?

This is a rare occasion, but I expect the heart of the question is to gauge where my interests lie. I might try to get out in nature, work on poetry or song lyrics, read some of a book, or try to organize my thoughts to prioritize my time. As a single mom of younger children and a new business owner, I am preoccupied with those demands. So right now, those 30 minutes might be spent scrolling through social media listening to original music from local bands whose albums I might want to carry in my store. Still enjoyable, but with an end goal in mind.

What do you love most about what you do?

Talking to people! I love the sense of community I am fostering here. When you distill the creative economy down to this level of focus – the immediate geography – it is a way to organize the chaos and noise into a more manageable group, where you can then start to see patterns and ultimately, the potential that may otherwise go overlooked. People crave a more personal and authentic experience and I think that is rooted in a sense of place. I have created a space where people can freely celebrate their love for this special city, whether they are born here, relocated here, or are just passing through. I believe that only good things can come out of that environment.

What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?

1) That my value is not determined by the acceptance and approval of others; 2) That I don’t have to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders; 3) That I don’t have to choose between being a scientist and being an artist; and 4) do not pick up that cigarette; it will take everything you have to quit.

What have you gained from being a member of the Women’s Business Council?

I am inspired and encouraged when I read about or meet other women with a can-do attitude who have the guts to take a chance on themselves and their ideas. Women are unique creatures and wired to be in community. We learn from and build on each other’s experiences.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Pray about it and don’t put limits on what God can accomplish through you.

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