Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in fashion wear but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Matthew Milne, founder of Toques From The Heart, located in Hamilton, Canada.

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

Toques From The Heart is a social enterprise with the goal to keep Canadians warm one toque at a time. We sell toques that are comfortable enough to wear all day, warm enough for cold Canadian winters and stylish enough to wear anywhere. We have a goal to donate our toques Country wide to the over 35,000 Canadians who are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Our customers are caring individuals who want to help us achieve this mission as well as take home a great quality toque (or a bundle of toques) in the process.

Tell us about yourself

My name is Matthew Milne and I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Ever since I was young when people would ask what I wanted to be, entrepreneur was consistently my answer, I just had no idea what it really meant. That was until I talked with friends at McMaster University Casey Rogan and Matt Carter who shared my love of business.

We set out to start a company that would give back to our local city where homelessness is prevalent. This grew to what Toques From The Heart is today, with sights set on donating toques to every Province and Territory in Canada it is truly a blessing to see my childhood dreams coming true.

This journey is a big motivation for myself but what is more inspiring is being able to give back to organizations and individuals that are in need of what we are able to provide for them. Hearing the stories and efforts that are going into tacking this issue in different communities across the country and being able to provide them with toques all from our Student House in Hamilton is pretty special.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner was our growth and ability to give back in our first year of operation. We were fortunate enough to have pushed our message and mission to the point where we were able to donate over 2500 toques in our first winter toque campaign. It gave us the motivation and proof that we needed to realize that there is a need for warm, stylish, and comfortable toques that people will love wearing as well as a need for us to be donating toques as well.

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

The hardest thing that comes with being a business owner is the realization that the business only moves and grows when you make it grow. If you want it to succeed you need to put in the time necessary to get it to the level you want it to be at. This is especially true when you hit roadblocks and unexpected problems. Being able to push through those moments when things seem to be falling down around you is the most difficult but necessary parts of being an entrepreneur.

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

1.Don't dip your toe in, dive head first because it is all about taking a risk and learning along the way. You will not be committed to making it work if you are not all in.

2. Work for your dream, along with the first tip, you need to be putting in the work necessary to making your business run and grow, if you don't do this then no one else will.

3. Always try new things, you need to be different so do not hold back from experimenting and pivoting when things may not work out, being agile is a key to being a business owner.

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; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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