Female founded: four female business owners talk shop this International Women's Day

March 8, 2019

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Every March 8, women around the world acknowledge and celebrate International Women’s Day, bringing light to topics like equality, human rights, and women in business to help create a more gender-balanced world.

Here at Bold, we wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of some of the amazing female business owners who use our apps to achieve their eCommerce goals.

The United Nations theme for International Women's Day 2019 is "think equal, build smart, innovate for change." Here are four females who inspire us Builders to do just that.

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Kelli Miller: Sugar Blossom Jewelry

About Kelli Miller

Kelli Miller is a Canadian jewelry designer and the founder of Sugar Blossom. She is passionate about creating fun, stylish jewelry and developed her brand with the underlying belief that your jewelry should be lived in, loved, and reflect your personality.

Tell us about your business – what products or services do you sell?

We offer necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings, and this summer we'll be introducing a hair collection.

How did you get started?

I went to Ryerson University to take fashion communications and marketing. When I was in school I was obsessed with jewelry and would always take it apart and put it back together. I made this one bracelet I would wear all the time, and I’d always have people stop me and ask me where I bought it, or wanting to buy it off my wrist. Not long after, my boyfriend at the time (now husband), wanted me to move away to Europe with him while he played professional hockey. It was in those next two years that I had the time to figure out what I wanted to make, and how I would make it. That’s when I started the business. My husband ended up getting injured and was unable to play hockey for a lot of the time that we were out there, so we joke that the real reason behind that move was for me to launch my business.

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How many people are on your team?

It’s always just been my mom and I! I hired my first “official” employee just two weeks ago. She’ll be doing the marketing and communications for us.

I’ve always outsourced certain parts of my business – I know I’m not the best at everything. I’ve hired One Plus One Design to do my branding, and I have someone who takes care of my website – it’s about knowing where and when to hire the experts.

What are some challenges you’ve faced as a business owner and in eCommerce?

I feel like there’s been so many times when things don’t go my way. Whether I think something’s not going to come through with a manufacturer, then I get it, and it’s not what I was expecting and I get discouraged. I have to tell myself to just let it go.

In terms of eCommerce, I started selling on Etsy originally, and had a pretty big following. When I switched over to Shopify, I wasn’t sure if people would come over. Thankfully I didn’t see any decrease in sales, and people could see I had a legitimate eCommerce website.

There’s always a struggle – before, I could post something on Instagram, and it would instantly sell – now, with how the algorithms have changed, I have to try new things to gain a bigger audience. One of the struggles now is how to get out there again, and how I can get more traffic to my site.

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How has eCommerce changed your business, or how have you changed your approach to eCommerce with changes in your business?

I basically built my whole business online. I didn’t even sell wholesale until this year. I’ve been doing it full-time for 6 years now – it’s been my life. It’s lead me to the opportunities I’ve had today with a lot of the bigger retailers – Bath and Body Works U.S. recently contacted me to do a custom bracelet for an event for them. The opportunity to work with a huge store like that only comes with having an online presence.

I actually got so many great ideas when I was down at Bold HQ last week that will hopefully enhance my site. For example, I have the Product Options app, but didn’t know you can add more drop-down menus. It’s something I’d thought about, but didn’t know was possible on my end. That saves me time, as now I won’t have to email back and forth to do a custom order for a client. Sometimes it’s just about being around other business owners, or talking to people who can help find solutions for the problems you have at hand.

What’s your favorite Bold app, and why?

There are so many things you can do on your own which makes it easier to run a business. Even accounting. That was the part I hated most. On Fridays, I’d manually enter all my receipts and Shopify transactions. It would take me all day! Now, using the Quickbooks app, I am able to link my Shopify store to Quickbooks so that all of my transactions automatically go in to Quickbooks. It gave me an entire day back.

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What’s next for your business? What should we watch out for?

This summer I’ll be extending my product line with the addition of hair accessories. Long-term, I’m looking into the possibility of doing a subscription box – just trying to figure out what that looks like!

Check out Sugar Blossom's site, or follow them on Instagram to see what Kelli has in store.

 

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Julie Myers: The Floral Fixx

About Julie Myers

Julie Myers' passion for blooms began at a young age, growing flowers on the family farm. Today, she is the owner of The Floral Fixx, a high-end, luxury floral boutique located in Winnipeg, Canada.

“We do it all – workshops, everyday flowers, events and weddings. We strive ourselves in always taking a step above the rest, finding new local products and searching out unique blooms." Floral Fixx offers products that fit every style, whether it be modern, edgy, minimalism, playful, or romantic. The flowers and gift items can be delivered same-day in Winnipeg.

Tell us about your business – what products or services do you sell?

I have owned a flower shop called the The Floral Fixx for the last 18 years. It started out as a normal boutique flower shop at a time when the market was difficult to break into. The industry for running flower shops with a retail footprint is tough to do, and so my business has really grown and changed a lot. Weddings and events have become a big focus and make up over 50 per cent of our business. We also have a gifts side where we focus on Winnipeg and Manitoba locally-made products.

How did you get started?

I’m originally from Carmen, Manitoba, where I grew up on a family farm. It was a half acre of vegetables and flowers, and we ate the food we planted in our garden. When I was 14, I started out dusting the shelves, working at the local flower shop in town. That’s really where the love of it came from. By the time I was 16 I won my first design award, and so I decided I wanted to start my business. I opened the doors of my shop when I was 21.

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What made you pursue this particular industry — did you see a gap in the market?

I did see a gap. Being a younger person in the industry I brought a different perspective. The shops I went to and worked at were owned by people who were a little older. When I opened, almost 20 years ago now, most flower shops didn’t even have websites. I was one of the first flower shops in Manitoba to get a POS system, and when we opened, we didn’t even have an email address. At that time, everything coming out of flower shops looked the same. I felt there was an opportunity to educate myself and bring a new style to the industry in Winnipeg. Education was and still is something I truly believe in and practice.

How many people are on your team?

We usually have anywhere from 10-16 people, depending on the season

How has eCommerce changed your business, or how have you changed your approach to eCommerce with changes in your business?

I would say one big change was beginning to work with a professional photographer. Making sure you have a great connection with a photographer is key. Having beautiful images on our website is what has really helped us sell. As a small business owner, I can’t afford to have someone to do every single shot, so we make sure that everything is high quality and the lighting is great when we do it ourselves.

What insights have you had from selling online – anything that’s surprised you?

On Valentine’s Day, I really took the site into my own hands and switched things up. I went out there and made some pieces that were $300, $400. Usually people won’t spend this, but when I put the higher price items on the site, people actually purchased them! You can really be underselling yourself by not offering options and just putting it out there.

What’s your favorite Bold app and why?

I love the Upsell app. That was Bold’s first app and it’s my favorite one. Whether it’s adding a card, or a candle to an arrangement, it’s definitely helped us grow.

What’s next for your business? What should we watch out for?

I’m still growing my wedding business, but probably my main thing is getting to know other makers. I’ve taken a passion to knowing the people and farms who grow my flowers. Just like the fashion industry, it’s important to know where your product is coming from. It’s important to work with the farms that are giving back to their community. Fair-trade roses are my newest passion!

Check out Floral Fixx on their website, Instagram, or Pinterest.

 

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Colleen Dyck: GORP

About Colleen Dyck

Creator of the GORP Bar and the award-winning Energy Bar (Ready) Mix, Colleen Dyck creatively plays the role of “David” in a “Goliath” market. She founded GORP with her husband, Grant, and now their bars and mixes are available across Canada in more than 1,000 stores.

Between running a grain farm, raising four children and launching The GORP Bar, the Dycks have their hands full. Colleen has become an expert in juggling, running, slipping and yes, failing with a perseverance that can’t be held back. She is passionate about sharing her struggles and mistakes as mother, wife, and entrepreneur, and openly delivers an unapologetic peek at her story with the hope of encouraging others to get outside, pursue their passions, and have an adventure.

Tell us about your business — what products or services do you sell?

The Great GORP Project Inc. started out as a simple need in my own life: The need for energy, a clean and healthy, convenient source of whole-food energy.

Years ago, I started doing triathlons, and found myself hitting the drive-thru on the way home while running from practice to practice. I knew I needed to fuel my body with protein and calories within 20 minutes of vigorous exercise to recover properly, but lack of time and planning caused me to make bad nutritional decisions.

I stopped my bad habits and started to experiment with eating protein bars. What I found on the market was a lot of high-fructose corn syrup, misleading labels and poor-quality ingredients. I started to research what I wanted in an energy bar and the kitchen experiment began. Soon I had trouble keeping the bars on-hand as my teammates, friends and family were constantly asking for them. This is when I decided to take the idea to the next level. I always knew I’d start my own business, I just never anticipated that it would be an energy bar company.

Currently, our primary products are energy bars. They come in four flavours – Cocoa, Hemp & Almond, Peanut Butter & Apple, Peanut Butter & Raspberry and Ginger Snap & Apple. They’re made with no artificial flavours, additives, or preservatives, and feature whole nuts, sprouted brown rice, and as many Manitoban-grown superstars as possible.

Visit GORP's online store or follow them on Instagram.

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Abbey Scott: Coffee Over Cardio

About Abbey Scott

Abbey Scott’s career began on Wall Street in New York City, where she worked in Equity Hedge Fund Sales. She was promoted and moved into the bank’s Oil & Gas business down in Houston, Texas, where she wrote commodity research for equity investors. During this time, Abbey and her partner Mike started Coffee Over Cardio. After a year of research, she quit her day job to pursue her entrepreneurial goals full-time. Between her experience in sales, economics, finance, and high-level research, she was able to grow her business successfully. Coffee Over Cardio is currently based in Dallas, Texas.

Tell us about your business – what products or services do you sell?

Here at Coffee Over Cardio we sell six different coffees (including flavored and non-flavored) as well as cute and fun apparel.

How did you get started with your business?

The idea started from me having a bit of a coffee problem, as I was spending over $10 a day buying coffee. We quickly recognized that there wasn't a coffee branded towards women and ran with the idea! After coming up with a few unique flavors, designing the bags, and partnering with a roaster, we launched in December 2017.

What made you pursue this particular industry — did you see a gap in the market?

I have loved coffee since I was about 15 years old. It all began as a passion project. We wanted to create a platform to support women not only with a quality cup of coffee, but a network that would help them chase their passions.

How many people are on your team?

Currently there are five of us on the team.

What are some challenges you’ve faced as a business owner? Some challenges you've faced in eCommerce?

In the beginning, it was difficult becoming my own boss and having no one to really turn to for structure or direction. A lot of the time you'll stumble across problems or new things that you don't know how to handle, but you have to figure it out! For eCommerce, I think the biggest difficulty we've had is just continuing to make sure we stay in front of our customers and strategize our email campaigns more. We have only scratched the surface with it so far.

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What insights have you had from selling online? Anything that’s surprised you?

I didn't realize how crucial social media marketing was. Most of our traffic and advertising is run through those programs.

What’s your favorite Bold app and why?

Our favorite Bold app is the Subscriptions (formerly, Recurring Orders) app, because it's allowed our business to create loyal customers who want to have monthly deliveries of our product.

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What’s next for your business? What should we watch out for?

We have at least five new coffees coming out this year and at least three new creamers on the roster. This includes Basic AF Pumpkin Spice, returning in the fall!

Check out Coffee Over Cardio's online store or follow them on Instagram.

We’re so proud that our products have helped these women achieve their entrepreneurial goals. What are some of your favorite female-founded business? Leave a link in the comments! We’d love to check them out, and I’m sure other readers would too! 👩‍🍳 👩‍🏫 👩‍🌾 👩‍🎨 👩‍🚀

Suzy Bodiroga

Written by Suzy Bodiroga

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