We were recently featured on the Canadian lifestyle blog Boombaloo, talking about our first year of running our online shop and all the things we've learned along the way. If you missed it, we've got a recap here!
Since starting Kootz Rootz in 2013, opening the online store was by far the biggest leap in our business we've taken to date. Building our own brand while continuing to support other local talent, and the amazing outdoor opportunities in the area, was just the beginning for Kootz Rootz. 2017 was a crazy year! Full of ups and downs, and of course, a lot of fun!
We thought some advice might come in handy for other entrepreneurs out there when starting and growing your business. Here is our top 6 list of "Things we've learned in 2017":
2 heads are better than 1: People get a kick out of us being sisters in business together. It’s cute, I guess. But we both agree, holy sh*t, thank goodness there are 2 of us! Being Kootenay-raised sisters is a great conversation starter when meeting locals at the markets, but it’s also imperative to our business. There is so much to do. Juggling the creative aspects of the job with the day to day realities of budgets, expenses, and collaborations is a ton of work. We simply couldn’t do it without each other. Even though we are sisters, we don’t always think the same or agree. We work hard at being open-minded and flexible with each other. (And sometimes we are on the same wavelength and have experienced some real psychic moments – true story!)
Balance: This term is an anomaly when you’re a Mom with a full time job and a small business on top of it. There is no such a thing as balance! Hypothetically we work daily to balance our lives with career, small biz, travel, spouses and kids, but some days that gets skewed and there’s not much you can do about it. It’s part of the hustle and our best advice is to give in to the chaos! Just make sure that when you need that down time – take it! Our ‘why’ is definitely our families, especially our kids.
Protect your brand: Take the correct steps to legally build your business and curate your content and style to be 100% true to your brand voice. Be authentic and have a clear vision. We followed all of the above and still had an unfortunate situation of both plagiarism and trademark infringement on our brand! Yep, it sucks, but we urge you to stay on course. A wise friend told us “One can NEVER hold the energy and intent of the original creators and will always set themselves up for failure. It is a bad energy in which to base an entire business foundation.” Thank you wise friend!
Go for it: If you have a great idea for a product or business, go for it. We have put a ton of work and time into our brand and it has paid off. We are making sales, meeting amazing local makers, collaborating with fantastic brands, and promoting the Kootenays for the magical place it truly is – these were all goals we set out for ourselves in 2015 when we developed our apparel line! We are learning to embrace challenges and setbacks by seeing them as learning experiences.
Emotional Support System: It’s important to have a support system close at hand. We are so thankful to our (handsome, intelligent, handy, etc. – just in case they read this!) husbands who have been instrumental to our growth and allowing us to follow our passion. Stressful times could have been much worse if we didn’t have someone at home who knew we had the talent and drive to get it done. Also, red wine, lots of red wine. (Disclaimer: This post is in no way sponsored by red wine. But it should be.)
- Never Stop Learning: Don’t be afraid to ask questions! You can’t possibly know everything about running a business. Being vulnerable is OK. We’ve learned so much from fellow entrepreneurs. We all have the same struggles so sharing is a great way to learn and build a community that has your back. We surround ourselves with other like-minded folks, many who own their own businesses, and we support and learn from each other.
Thank you for following along on our journey so far. Are you a new small business owner? We'd love to hear your thoughts on the challenges and triumphs you've experienced!