Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in fashion but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jamie Dobbs, owner and founder of Northwest By Nature, located in Comox, BC.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Northwest By Nature is a nature-inspired clothing and accessories brand for outdoor enthusiasts who appreciate the benefits of spending time outdoors and know the necessities of learning about the natural world we are a part of. It's a brand for people who love super cozy, well-fitting clothing that is ethically made using an eco-friendly process. I love partnering with local small business retailers who support the shop-small movement and feature local makers. My online store is run through a print-on demand company which streamlines shipping and reduces wasted inventory.
Tell us about yourself
Northwest by Nature was born out of a desire to combine three of my loves: art + nature + fashion. I am a full-time elementary school teacher, a wife, and a busy mom of 2 littles. The ‘great pause’ of 2020 (as I like to refer to COVID isolation as) was a chance for me to reflect on what fills my soul with joy and reminded me how much I NEED to take time to do what I love - create and spend time in the outdoors to escape from it all. This brand is my creative outlet to share my passions as wearable art and to hopefully inspire others to get out and appreciate the natural world around them that we so desperately need to protect.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Looking back on the past year and a half, the biggest accomplishment would have to be starting a business during the height of a pandemic and thriving despite so many challenges including manufacturing shortages, shipping delays, in-person markets shutting down, etc. I am proud that I was able to teach myself the skills needed to get a website and online store up and running, run my social media, and network with manufactures, printers, retailers, and other business owners.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
For me, it's the lack of time and finding the minutes in the day while working full-time and raising children...and attempting to have a personal life too. I have had to constantly adjust my ambitions based on my reality - squeezing in a quick Instagram post while waiting to pick the kids up from a soccer game, sending e-mails at midnight, or turning down opportunities for growth.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
1. It's probably going to be a lot more work than you anticipated. Don't be surprised if you feel totally overwhelmed or out of your league at times. Keep going. You will learn and grow.
2. Hope to fail. Failing is good, it means you've learned something and can do better next time.
3. Network - people are so kind and willing to share. Ask the 'stupid questions,' do your research, listen to podcasts, and never think you're done learning.
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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