Strange coincidences have sprung up around my urban chicken consulting business. To name a few:
A few years ago, I purchased a chicken purse…(The Urban Chicken Consultant Recommends… the Rubber Chicken Purse!). Have chicken purse, will travel – and, boy, the places that thing has taken me…
In the spring of 2008, if memory serves, the chicken purse and I went to see my accountant, Stewart, who lives in the Austin neighborhood. He said, “You have a chicken purse!” I explained to him that I had chickens when I was a kid. As it turns out, Stewart was interested in getting chickens… in his backyard… in Austin… in Chicago.
Stewart and friend - is this chicken Playboy or Vogue?
This was rather shocking news to me. He told me about the urban agriculture movement and planted the suggestion that folks in Chicago might benefit from a chicken consultant. Inspired, I designed business cards, mostly as a joke, on Vista Print!
Fastforward to late winter/early spring of 2010, before I started being serious about urban chicken consulting: My friend Jane attended a benefit event in Oak Park. She found an unusual silent auction item: a low-carbon footprint chicken coop. The donor: Seamus Ford. Jane also spotted an ad for Earth Fest and suggested that I contact Seamus and get a booth at Earth Fest. I was a little incredulous, but sure, why not?
I looked up Seamus on LinkedIn, and there he was! As it turned out, Seamus was a neighbor of Stewart, my account. Stewart and his wife had talked to both Seamus and me about each other, but never by name! We talked for a bit on the phone, and then met at Red Hen on March 28 to talk about this crazy idea – urban chicken consulting – really? All right… So on April 1, I started this blog, officially hanging out my shingle, and Seamus and I staffed a booth at Earth Fest.
Seamus and I shared a booth at Earth Fest.
Bruce Caughran hired me and called Terry Dean of the Wednesday Journal to cover my first media event, setting up chickens in Bruce’s backyard: Home to Roost Makes the Paper! Oddly enough, I ran into both Bruce and Terry the day before my appearance on WCIU in September.
Bruce and Ailsa with the lovely a-frame coop made by Alcuin Middle School
Still more oddly, hours after the WCIU appearance, which dealt with inspiring female entrepreneurs, I got a cold call from a woman in California who wants to start her own urban chicken consulting business. She was calling me for tips, pointers, ideas, and other information. She had no idea I’d just been on TV, talking about female entrepreneurs and chickens – she had found me on AOL’s WalletPop (more on her and her business to come!).
The week of the taping for Chicago Tonight, which airs on 11/4, I met Becky Fogel of Vocalo radio station in Caribou Coffee on Lake Street. Because it was too loud for a recorded interview, we headed to Red Hen, sitting at the same table where Seamus Ford and I sat on March 28. Who happened by Red Hen? None other than Stewart, my accountant!
There have been a number of times when I’ve felt that things have come full circle in this crazy ride that is urban chicken consulting. But the circle moves, redefines itself, and comes full circle again – but in a different way.
I’ve done only word-of-mouth and social media advertising, and to date I have two TV appearances; a upcoming radio spot; and several newspaper, internet, and magazine articles; as well as a film student from Columbia who is producing a documentary covering my avian adventures.
Coincidence? Perhaps not. Maybe just a confirmation that I’m in the right place at the right time. I’m excited to see what surprises are around the corner for the chicken purse and me!