Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in clothing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Emily Watts-Luciani, Co-Owner of amie amie, located in Montréal, QC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are amie amie, a two-woman-owned vintage clothing operation. We sell vintage pieces, upcycled clothing, and handmade clothes and accessories from recycled fabrics. Our customers are mainly Millenial and Gen-Z folks who want ethically sourced, quality, and affordable clothing that make them feel fabulous!
Tell us about yourself
Ever since I was a kid, I've been extremely nostalgic for fashion eras of the past. The thrift store in my small town was a goldmine for 70s ringer tees, bellbottoms, and platforms. My Dad would take me to go back-to-school shopping on Queen West in Toronto, and my heart would always race when I'd see the racks and racks of dusty old clothes. I loved seeing how the employees of the vintage shops were dressed and thought they were the coolest people on the planet.
After finishing my undergrad in Fibre Arts (BFA), I had a short stint working in film in the costumes department. My favourite and most thrilling part of the job was going to the costume warehouse to find period pieces. I could never get enough of looking at all the clothes and learning about the different fabrics and brands. After working in costumes, I got a job as a vintage buyer for a store in Montreal. As a side hustle, I started my own Etsy shop to sell the pieces I was finding in my spare time. I quickly began to see the limits of working alone, so I partnered up with Catherine Lehouillier, who was herself a very seasoned vintage seller.
There are certainly waves of feeling more or less motivated to run our business, especially during the pandemic and the lockdowns. After four years of being self-employed full-time, I now understand that I need to ride those bursts of creative energy to the maximum when they come. When I'm feeling less motivated, I just need to set clear goals and routines for myself to make sure our business is still progressing.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Keeping the business alive with a new baby during a pandemic! We couldn't have done it if we didn't care so deeply about creating our brand and staying in business long-term.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The most difficult thing about having a business is the constant adjustments you need to make, especially in the clothing market. You have to test different strategies continually, and you can't always future base decisions on past results.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- You can't have everything planned out from the get-go, but it's better to try now than to wait until your project is perfect. You will always be able to tweak things as you go.
- Most customers will be happy, and you won't hear a peep from them. A rare few will be unhappy, and you will hear a lot from them. Always put yourself in your customer's shoes and ask dissatisfied customers for feedback-- never be defensive.
- We are still in the growth period, so we're the ones who need the tip, haha! For me, it's hard to let go of things you love that aren't working, but it's a necessary thing to do not to stagnate and to move onwards and upwards with your business. Keep the things that work and cut the things that aren't, even if it doesn't feel very good.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.