Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in fashion but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Shelby Wiltshire, Founder of Bee & Co Canada, located in Ontario, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Bee & Co creates custom, as well as trendy and relatable designs on quality clothing. The clothing is cozy and comfy but ranges in styles, so there’s lots of variety. We have just celebrated our one-year anniversary and have been overwhelmed by the support of our customers.
Our customers are people who enjoy wearing something personalized just for them. Since our styles range from baby to adult plus sized, we are really for anyone!
Tell us about yourself
When I first started Bee & Co, it was something to help with my anxiety and depression. It was something that brought me joy and cleared my mind. I was able to explore designing again - which is one of my biggest passions. I could have something that was mine and in my complete control. My baby per se.
I was searching for something that gave meaning. And then I decided to just take the chance and go for it. I had always loved the idea of collaborating with other businesses - which I continue to do often. When I saw how many different businesses were out there, I decided to just believe in myself and take the leap. I’m so happy I did.
Now, with the growing community and repeat customers (which truly is the biggest blessing of being a small business owner), I am motivated each day to keep going. To keep growing and expanding. To maybe make this into a big business.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
To touch base above, it truly is the customers. Creating relationships with them and having them come back for more - is the biggest accomplishment. Customers don’t always realize that we start building confidence in ourselves as business owners. Are we doing this right? Are they happy with their product? When customers return - it shows us that we’re heading in the right direction.
Another accomplishment I’ve had as a business owner is the self-confidence I gained and almost confirmation that you can do anything you put your mind to. You just have to work for it.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest thing that comes with being a small business owner is trying to find the time to fit it into your life. Your full-time job. Your day-to-day hurdles. Motherhood and being a present partner. All these things become obstacles to putting time aside for your business. When my son goes to bed at night, I can squeeze in some time there - I work full-time nights in healthcare, so I get exhausted on my off days. My goal soon is to take the leap, put my business first, and do it full time.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Just do it - learn as you go. I’m still learning, expanding, and growing, but you’re never going to “be ready.” Just start.
- Have a really easy-to-recognize logo or brand - something that is going to imprint into people's minds. Branding, I feel like, is really important.
- Have a game plan, but have room for unexpected changes. Not everything goes to plan, but as long as you can work around things and figure it out - you’re golden. Figure out what you want from your business - and go for it.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I’d just like to share how incredibly honoured I am to have the chance to share Bee and Co with you. I truly am so invested in the quality of products and customer service. I love what I do - and it’s truly saved my life.
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.