10 Years Strong
So, guess what? TEN years have creeped up on my little baby bow business! I'm so happy that my business has built up to be a real international brand because;
1) I know small businesses don't usually get to stick around this long;
2) the commerce climate has gotten even more competitive in the past 5 years than my first five;
3) It works so wonderfully with my new life in San Diego; and
4) Repeat customers are our biggest sales segment (you know what THAT means!! We're doing something right!!!).
I never expected to hit this milestone, not because I thought the company would fail but more because I really had no long term plans (in terms of years) that I would be in this business and competition is stiff in a niche market with so little barriers to entry. You have to remember how we started...
It Was All A Dream....
I used to read word up magazine...not really but I like the sound of Biggie's lyrics there. :) Truth is that Baby Wisp® started out humble, in a small 10x10 space on Saturdays at either the St. Albert Farmer's Market or the Edmonton City Centre Farmer’s Market. Here’s a picture at the St. Albert one in the summer of 2008.
I was on maternity leave from my corporate job at an Edmonton IT and Software Consulting firm and having always had a million things on the go - I had to add something "extra" to this new mom gig I had going on.
I started making hairbows for her and friends told me I should sell them! I met some artsy designer people who helped me with my logo and colors and then I thought - what the heck - why not? I have a business degree - wouldn't it be cool if I started my own company!
(Above) A picture from the Butterdome Craft Show in 2009 in Edmonton. Notice the changes in colors and styles from almost a decade ago to now!
Where Did the Time Go?
We had moved from Edmonton to Toronto in 2010. I had a 1 year old and 3 year old in tow and was supporting my husband's promotion in his career. We had always wanted the opportunity to try out a new adventure in a new city and Toronto - as Canada's biggest city sounded perfect. We were really excited though sad to leave all our family and friends. I didn't go back to work business consulting, instead I got some childcare help and threw myself into growing the business. It worked! In 2013, I had enough sales to justify a brick shop. I loved this little boutique.
We had so much fun designing the look and feel. I also loved getting to leave the house after a few years of working from home, I wanted out. I wanted a reason to change out of my sweats and meet people face to face.
I was very sad to close it in 2016.
On the upside - my husband got another promotion and that's why we were leaving Toronto! To California this time. Um YEaaaaaaah!!!!
I had to say goodbye to staff who had been with me for almost 3 years. That was sad too because we had really become a small family. Emily, who many of you chat with, agreed to try and work remotely with me and guess what....2 years later it is still working! This has been a HUGE reason for the continued growth of the brand. She knows what she is doing!!! She helped me revamp our brand look to keep it fresh and modern.
Meet our new California dog, "Mongoose".
I'm back working from home and this guy is my company all day while the kids are in school. I'm not back to sitting in sweats, well because in California -all the moms wear YOGA PANTS ALL DAY LONG!! I fit right in!! LOL!
I have some help packing orders and of course Emily who handles half my work (who is soooo shy I couldn't get her to contribute a photo - plus she's pregnant with A GIRL . wooohoooo!!!) .
One thing I have been able to establish this year is an ongoing corporate donation program with Gently Hugged in San Diego.
This is a game - changer in terms of our responsibility to give back to our community and in every order you are supporting this cause too. Find out more here.
Celebrate With Us
Well, now you know my story which is the brand's life over the past 10 years. It's now a "tweenager", right? I am excited to show you the new styles and colors coming this October and our Winter collection. Keeping the brand fresh and relevant is another thing I work very hard on and this is only accomplished by new moms giving me feedback. I love instagram and facebook for this.
Right now, you can get a sneak peek of some of our new items in this special sampler pack for $10 OFF retail. This is about 40% off! Add to Cart>>
We also dropped our free shipping minimum purchase to $39. In this way, you can get the FREE gift with purchase and FREE shipping for just $39 minimum spend. We are also adding free bonus bows to every order over $10 for the Month of October.
If you read this whole thing - then you're my people. I thank you and look forward to sharing my continued journey with this brand and my hope is that you will tag @babywisp or #babywisp so I can see what I contribute (in some tiny way) to your life and the life of your baby girl.
Thank you for supporting my small shop.