Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Amina Haswell, Owner of Prairie Breeze Folk Arts Studio and Prairie Breeze Acres, located in Winnipeg, MB, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Prairie Breeze Folk Arts Studio, hereafter referred to as PBFAS, is an earth-conscious and artistically driven home essentials company located in Winnipeg, MB. PBFAS is the quality producer of Handmade brooms and brushes, and other household tools, using only natural fibers, Canadian hardwoods, and eco-friendly materials that are sourced locally and from across North America. PBFAS manufactures over 50 unique styles of brooms and brushes, each uniquely suited to address cleaning tasks/ challenges in the home, garden, workshop, or industrial space. PBFAS is uniquely positioned as the only business of its kind located in Canada, servicing North America with eco-friendly cleaning tools.
PBFAS's mission is to provide homeowners across North America and beyond with innovative quality crafted, eco-friendly cleaning tools that transform personal and work spaces into productive and beautiful rooms. Our customers appreciate functional art and are committed to supporting eco-friendly products that create a greener, healthier home.
Tell us about yourself
I am a Winnipeg-based Broomsquire (The official term for broom-maker) and the Creative Director and Owner of Prairie Breeze Folk Arts Studio (PBFAS). PBFAS is an artisan-driven home décor and design company specializing in quality-crafted brooms, brushes, and other home accessories. I have been making brooms professionally for just under two years, selling my brooms both locally and through select retailers in several Provinces.
I was first drawn to the art of broom-making in 2011 when I purchased my first handmade broom in Western Canada. Since then, I have been honing my skills in the folk-art form of broom-making, sharing ideas, and collaborating with broom-makers across Canada and the US. Attending various institutions in the US that provide in-depth training opportunities in Folk arts. I also teach the art form/trade to others, which allows me to experiment and develop new techniques. I will be kicking off a new series of workshops in Spring 2021.
I am inspired by colour and fibers, so broom-making seemed a natural fit. I spend my days binding naturally unprocessed broom corn (also known as sorghum bi-colour) grown locally on my acreage and imported from North American sources and binds them with natural and synthetic fibers to make over 36 varieties of brooms in over 42 different colours.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Creating a brand that is focused on eco-friendly products that save the earth while building a community of broom enthusiasts. The coverage in magazines like Architecture Digest and Features in Remodelista has also been very exciting, but it only happened because we are making a sophisticated product that is long-lasting and beautiful.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The hardest thing is investing in projects and planning for the future when the consumer goods space is so uncertain. In a normal economic season, consumers spend on good quality items, and in economic times such as the one we are in, consumers, even if they really want something, really have to think about it also; wholesale suffers because stores can't afford to invest in emerging products they will gravitate to established brands.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Watch your numbers, spend less, save more. Don't try to grow too fast because it can be distracting and take away from the main focus, which is building a brand, not a building or space. Building brand awareness and making sure revenue is there to justify expansion and growth.
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.
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