Meet Sheryl Entwhistle of Living Celebrations
Nearly every summer when Sheryl was growing up, her family would move to a new house or a new state. As a result, she never developed any real feeling of roots. On the other hand, she really learned how to connect with people and make new friends. Sheryl says: “I think people are so interesting. I love to hear their stories and learn about their lives. Even when I’m in a large crowd or at a stadium, I look around and marvel at how different each person is, how every one has his or her own ideas, beliefs, and passions. It’s mind-boggling!”
As a result, Sheryl loves to collect people’s stories. It is such a gift and an honor to listen to her clients relive their lives, and to realize that in doing so, they will be leaving a valuable legacy behind for their descendant.
Here’s her story:
What was your vision for creating Living Celebrations?
I literally woke up one morning with the idea for Living Celebrations fully formed in my mind. I awoke thinking, “Why don’t we celebrate the lives of the people we love, now while they’re still living.” At that moment, I knew I wanted to tell people’s life stories, but in a way that also visually communicates who they really are. It was a defining moment for me.
Today, Living Celebrations is the realization of that dream. I have a team of award-winning artists who turn people’s life stories into custom, three-dimensional works of art. These biographical artworks are showpieces that can be displayed prominently in a home (rather than just a book or narrative that might sit on a shelf for decades). And eventually, these pieces can be passed down to future generations as part of a family heritage.
To give you an idea of what we do, let me tell you about a piece we recently we created for a gentleman who is in his eighties. He’s an incredible man who has had extraordinary adventures worthy of the silver screen, so our team decided to play on the cinematic quality of his life experiences. We designed an epic showpiece that includes a 132-page screenplay about his life, nine original storyboards that illustrate several colorful adventures he’s had, an original movie poster, and custom engraved film canisters for storage and presentation.
As you can see, we put a lot of thought into every detail of what we do. Each piece we create is unique in every way, and no two are ever alike. They are as individual and special as the people whose life stories they tell. That’s why I advise people to give them as gifts for those milestone celebrations in life like a 40th birthday, Dad’s retirement, or your parent’s 50th wedding anniversary, because really, for what could be better than giving someone the gift of their own life story?
What are some of organizations your company supports?
Living Celebrations supports a number of organizations and worthy causes. On the business side, we are members of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), several local Chambers of Commerce, and the Association of Personal Historians. Additionally, we participate with several networking organizations including Women in Communication and the Luxury Marketing Council.
We are also community-minded. As a company, we support the Alzheimer’s Association and we have plans to contribute a portion of our profits in the near future. My small staff makes volunteerism an important part of their personal lives as well by participating in organizations such as Boy Scouts of America and cultural music exchanges. And personally, I volunteer with the Dutchess County Office of the Aging by facilitating a bi-weekly class, and am on various committees for the Dutchess County Arts Council.
What life event or incident made you choose to support them?
In 1992, my family’s house burned down, which left us with nothing but the clothes on our backs. The American Red Cross immediately stepped in and they supported us in ways I never would have dreamed of. I am so grateful to them. That experience made me realize the importance of community and how interconnected all of us are. Since then, I have made it a point to be involved in the community, whether it is for charitable purposes or to support my fellow business men and women.
What’s the best advice you have received since starting Living Celebrations and what would you like to pass on to other women?
I advise any woman who wants to start a new business to make sure she is truly passionate about it. Starting a business is much harder than I ever could have anticipated, even though I did my research and thought I knew what to expect. To be honest, if I wasn’t absolutely dedicated to Living Celebrations and what it means to the people we serve, I would have quit a long time ago. But in my experience, when you’re passionate about something and throw yourself into it wholeheartedly, the rewards will always follow.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years, Living Celebrations will have a growing clientele, my husband Jon and I will be living on the West Coast near our three children and their families, and I will continue to pursue new experiences and challenges.
What’s the one thing you’d like to accomplish before you leave this world?
I feel blessed to say the one thing I most wanted to accomplish in this life, I already have: I raised my children to be confident, well adjusted, successful, and loving adults. Everything else is gravy! Now my goals are more like daily missions: every day I strive to live my life in a way that I might be a role model for everyone I meet, and I endeavor to have and demonstrate courage whenever possible.
What do you do for fun, relaxation?
I love spending time with my husband of thirty three years. Together we’ve traveled the globe and shared many adventures from skydiving to sightseeing. When we’re not traveling, I’m reading travel books, fantasizing about travel, or planning our next trip.
Do you have a secret indulgence? If so, what is it?
Sometimes I’ll lose myself in a crowd just so I can watch and listen to the people around me.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
I don’t know who first said, “Whether you believe you can or cannot do it, you are right,” but I know it is true.
You can find Sheryl online at www.livingcelebrations.com