Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Shannon Kowalczyk, Owner of SereniTea Apothecary LLC., located in Longwood, FL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are an artisan boutique that features local women-owned brands. Our products are natural, handcrafted, and locally made. We now offer an eco-friendly refiller station and want to offer zero waste options. Our commitment is to provide customers with the best local products that nurture the mind, body, and spirit. Our goal is to help people improve their health and well-being while helping to support other small businesses to grow.
Tell us about yourself
My background is in retail and marketing. I worked corporate for many years but always dreamed of owning my own store. After having my children, I didn't want to return to the corporate world, so I started a small jewelry business and began doing farmer's markets, and my kids came with me. I told my husband ten years ago that I wanted to open a store that had local vendors featured in it. After years of manifesting and selling multiple products at markets, my dream became a reality in October 2021.
It was a huge leap of faith, considering we were just coming out of a pandemic. At the same time, I knew that people were focusing more on their overall health and wellness, so I knew this was a store the community would embrace. I love meeting new people and sharing my experiences and knowledge. I love what I do, and I love the community I get to be a part of every day. It just doesn't feel like work.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I would say that building a business from the ground up is very challenging, but I am very proud of the store. We have over 35 local brands now. When I opened it I had just 12. So building that trust with the artists is what I am most proud of. I selected every brand based on the quality of their products, packaging, and what I felt would best support an Apothecary store.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Oh boy, there are a few. One of the hardest things as a one-woman show is to be able to wear many hats. Sometimes it's difficult to balance all of my roles, such as mom and business owner. However, I wouldn't change it for the world! I am grateful every day that I get to live my dream and get to nurture and grow my passion for helping others.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Just start! You don't have to wait until things are "perfect." Grow as you go.
- Have a great support system, family, friends, and community.
- Believe in yourself. Follow YOUR path and passion.
- Know there is room for every small business, and don't compare what you're doing with what others are doing. Be authentic!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
There are many ups and downs when you own a business. I say to embrace them all.
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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