Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in fashion but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Heather Ogilvie, owner of Heyo Vintage, located in Montreal, QC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Heyo Vintage sources and resells wearable pieces - mostly from the late 1970s to the early aughts - that are easy to style and comfortable to wear. I stock a lot of natural fibres (think cotton, silk, linen, and wool) online, where my customers are generally 'elderly' millennials or older, while more of the Y2K trend-based pieces go to a younger clientele at established local vintage shop Annex Vintage.
At this point, besides the odd collaboration, and the buying relationships I have, this is a one-person operation. I try to keep things as sustainable as I can - in terms of how I travel (by shared or public transport...even bicycle during the warmer months), how I ship (with eco-friendly compostable packaging), and how I mend or alter damaged pieces to prevent textile waste.
I think sustainability is also part of my business ethos - I'd like to keep things small and community-based.
Tell us about yourself
While Heyo Vintage started in late 2020 (after being laid-off from my job), I've been doing this since 2003 - on eBay during university, then opening and operating a brick-and-mortar shop in Fredericton, New Brunswick called 'reNeu Boutique' for 10 1/2 years. I was 23 when it started!
The shop became a community hub, hosting all-ages music performances and other events. I'd like to move towards more in-person engagement now that Covid mandates have loosened - fairs and such - but finding a more permanent space may be in the future. So interacting with clients definitely inspires me, as does finding well-made clothing and helping to 'save' it from landfills.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
While I'd say previously owning a profitable/community-supported business for over a decade, with this latest incarnation, I'm quite proud to have been able to make it work during lockdown and pivot continuously as our new reality emerges.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Not working! Stepping away is hard sometimes, and you need to set boundaries to have a desirable work/life balance.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Find something you're passionate about, maybe something you already engage with in your free time. Be consistent. A lot of the legwork can be mundane, but keep up with it. Decide where you want to take your business before you start it, but be flexible and shift in the ever-changing environment.
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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