Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Maggie Bowles, Co-Founder of Bujou Studios, located in Calgary, AB, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Bujou Studios is an ecosystem of vertically integrated creative studios that provide advertising + marketing services across every touch point for our client's brands. Our six complementing studios provide holistic, brand-centric, ROI-obsessed creative solutions that deliver bright ideas to contemporary brands. We currently offer digital + social media marketing, content production, brand strategy + identity, paid advertisement campaigns, advertorial + PR, and talent relations/sourcing. Our clients range in the industry but share the desire for stunning visuals + high-growth results. Our largest industry is real estate (home builders, architects, developers, etc.), but we also service hospitality, fitness, + retail.
Tell us about yourself
Hi! I'm Maggie Bowles, the Co-Founder, Chief Creative Officer, and Art Director for all Bujou Studios. Inspired by my background in fine arts, I dreamt of a business that could equally balance creating art and high-performance results + cultures with the support (and vision) of my Co-Founder, Russell Petiot; we spent years developing this unique structure in which we use an art-driven approach to creating advertising that pushes past the empties of today's digital media. I have always been a highly creative person, pursuing several disciplines, including: art direction, branding, interior design, editorial photography, modeling, styling, and painting! Although these areas have always been a passion for me, I was scared of living the 'starving artist' lifestyle and opted to pursue a BA and MA in Political Science prior to starting Bujou. This background in research inspired the balance between beauty + performance!
My largest motivations as a business owner are: creating an amazing place to work + delivering the most original concepts/ideas to our customers. Throughout my career, before starting Bujou, I found that work environments were generally... well, terrible people were denied opportunity, autonomy, + growth. Getting up every day excited to create an awesome place to work drives me through the hard parts of owning a business, and seeing the passion in our employees tells me it's all worth it! As far as delivering the most original ideas, it's just the standard for us. It's a need for me, not a want.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Ooh, at this point, there is quite the list!! Haha. First (and what I'm most proud of) is successfully creating the work environment I wish I'd had + giving it to my team. Each one of our team members is insanely talented and passionate, and I feel so accomplished in giving them the work culture that they deserve!
Secondly, I feel so accomplished in giving my staff unique and exciting opportunities! Each one of our employees has been able to complete 'dream tasks' (like launching a billion-dollar company in Hawaii or working with their favorite brands), all while traveling, experiencing luxurious hotels + events, and having autonomy in their roles.
Lastly, I'm proud of the growth of the company - we've successfully 5x our revenue in the past two years (individually!) and can't wait to do it again!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Wanting to run at a million miles an hour and do it all, but needing to take one step at a time! We have so much we want to do with our studios but ensuring sustainable growth is always priority number one! The 'not-so-exciting' things are what impact the business the most, but these are the tasks that can be hard to sit down and get done. It can be tough to focus on the necessities and give fun stuff to other people!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Be ready to make sacrifices. Owning a business requires a lot of personal sacrifices to get it to where you want it to be -- like working 16 hours days, seven days a week, working holidays, or saying no to your friend's birthday party -- the business has to come first, and this can be really hard emotionally. Seeing the results of these sacrifices really does make it all worth it, but it means some hard days.
- Don't wait until you're confident to show up until you're confident. You don't have to be perfect to start; you just have to keep working to be the best at what you do!
- Build a network of people that have the kind of life you want. Be the small fish in the big pond; that's how you get from where you are to where you want to be!
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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