Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personalized gifts but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Leng Sladden, owner of Canaysia Gifts Ltd., located in Hamilton, ON, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Primary handmade/made-to-order creations, things Japanese, and gifts I source through my travels and hand-picked. I am also an Origami Artist who loves handmade and one-of-a-kind items.

My customers love handmade and unique things. They love giving a gift that puts a smile on a face or seeing their eyes light up! Many are supporters of Make Local, Buy Local. They are across all ages group.

Tell us about yourself

I grew up on a small island in Malaysia and speak multiple languages. I started paper folding when I was young. At that time, I did not know it was origami (LOL). As an adult, I worked with Japanese and had the luxury of experiencing Japanese culture firsthand. And came to Canada two decades ago. My husband encouraged me to start a business at the time. However, the idea didn't take place until ten years ago with my husband's full support.

My motivations are receiving a "thank you" from a happy customer, making someone's day brighter, etc. Running a small business that allows me to share my love for beautiful things that are handmade and different and my origami creations.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Maintaining a positive business relationship with my customers and suppliers.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Finding out what would sell.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Products that sell.
  2. An affordable location that gear to small businesses.
  3. Cash management.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I set up my Etsy shop in the late summer of 2020 when the pandemic hit. It was a very slow start. I am learning how to and just re-opened the online shop after a long absence.

I look forward to the continuous growth of my customer base through the platform.

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.