Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in retail but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Devon Specht, Creative Director at EBB & FLOW, located in Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
EBB & FLOW is a lifestyle shop and sustainable home goods brand based in Muskoka, ON. Driven by the belief that a life well lived means surrounding yourself with soul, we carry an assortment of small-batch, handcrafted home décor and textiles, lifestyle products as well as select vintage treasures. Our goal is simple — to liven your home with unique goods and help you create beautiful, one-of-a-kind spaces with a story to tell. Our customers share our passion for slow living, buying less and choosing wisely, crafting products that support our planet, and sourcing goods that support artisans in developing countries.
Tell us about yourself
It's safe to say that retail is in my blood... My great-grandmother, both grandmothers, and my mother all had retail stores on Manitoba Street in Bracebridge at one time. I have gone in a slightly different direction with an e-commerce site instead of a brick-and-mortar location, but nonetheless, I feel a deep connection to my heritage. Each day, what motivates me is the curiosity to see what's around the next corner for EBB & FLOW.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment to date has been designing a core line of products and establishing a reliable supply chain to produce them, which has opened up the ability to sell our products B2B. Like most small businesses, in the beginning, we started out as a micro brand with few sales and tiny production numbers. Materials cost/supply chain reliability were huge barriers to selling wholesale, but we worked around that by focusing on a few core products that we could manufacture ourselves.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
For me, the hardest thing about being a business owner is navigating uncertainty about what the future might hold. But funnily enough, that was also the thing that drew me to entrepreneurship in the first place. I couldn't imagine a life that was pre-laid out for me with a ceiling that someone else set and that I couldn't break. I've always been drawn to the belief that although uncertainty is scary, it's worth the risk to be in control of creating endless possibilities for growth.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
I've thought about this question a lot over the years.
For people looking to start a business: it's absolutely critical that you develop a rock-solid belief in yourself and your abilities. Building a successful business is a long process—full of ups, lots of downs, and more challenges than you'd ever imagine possible. The ability to get up when you're knocked and keep working towards your goals and dreams will be what separates you from the pack.
For people looking to run a business: you can't do everything yourself—so don't try. Find the folks who are better than you at the aspects of your business that don't light you up, and build a team that will help to take your business to the next level.
For people looking to grow a business: if 2020 taught us anything, it's that the key to sustaining and growing your business is how well you're able to pivot with the changing times. I also believe that it's crucial to scale your business with the same integrity and compassion for others you had when you 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 email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.