Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in custom clothing and merchandise but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Coltin Handrahan, founder of Stay Golden Custom, located in Hunter River, Prince Edward Island, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Stay Golden Custom is an Atlantic Canadian-based custom clothing and merchandise company. We work with clients across Canada to help them create custom printed clothing and merchandise lines for their businesses, teams, and brands. We’re passionate about helping our clients develop and execute their vision to create clothing that their customers, team, and community can be proud to wear.
Our clients include microbreweries, Crossfit and fitness facilities, and small-medium size hospitality businesses. But we work with a wide range of clients spanning all sectors. We bring a fresh approach to the screen printing and merchandising industry to build a Los Angeles or New York-style merchandising agency to serve the Atlantic Canada region.
We’re some of the first adopters of new technology within our industry in eastern Canada. We are passionate about delivering a superior customer experience and product than traditional competitors in our industry.
Tell us about yourself
I originally launched our company in high school with a few friends as a retail clothing line. While I later studied Marketing & Advertising in college, I slowly grew the custom printing side of our business as a side hustle. I found it to be a really unique and engaging way to use my creativity and enjoyed the learning process along the way. After working a few jobs in corporate post-graduation, I decided to take the jump into developing Stay Golden Custom from a side hustle into a full-time business in 2014.
What started in my parents' basement soon moved into a co-working space and then our own rented commercial space. Over the past 5 years, the company has begun to scale much quicker, and in 2020 we were able to purchase a new, expanded office and production facility, where we are now based.
One of the things that motivates me each day is the opportunity to work with such a wide range of interesting and talented clients. Many of our customers are entrepreneurs themselves in a wide range of industries. The thing that unites them all is that they are all very passionate about their businesses and brands. We're very fortunate to get the opportunity to help them translate that passion for their brand into clothing lines for their customers, staff, and community.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
One of the moments that sticks out to me is when we were named as one of "Atlantic Canada's Top Fast Growing Businesses" for 2021 by "The Peak" earlier this year. We're now coming up to our 10th anniversary for the business. And we managed to make it this far by bootstrapping our growth without much in the way of external financing. As the company has started to grow at a much faster pace in the past few years, it's a very exciting time for our team and we're looking forward to an exciting 2022.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find a mentor - I've been very fortunate to have a number of older and more experienced mentors throughout the years that I've been able to bounce ideas off of and get feedback from, including my parents, who were entrepreneurs themselves. A fresh perspective from a different perspective can go a long way when you are working within your business every day.
- Invest in the right tools and technology- From my experience, invest in the right technology. Including a solid laptop and smartphone at an early stage in the business is a good investment if it removes friction and increases your bandwidth as an entrepreneur. In a world that's always connected, we've found that it's very important to ensure that your tools and technology breaking down or running slow doesn't become a barrier.
- Start early - If you are seriously passionate about an idea, start laying the groundwork sooner rather than later to launch a minimum viable product to see how your target market receives the idea. Starting a business as a "side hustle" or secondary source of income in addition to your main job is a great way to get started.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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