Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Emily Wight, co-founder of Foli, located in Burlington, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Foli is in the business of connecting people with plants! We specialize in shipping beautiful, healthy plants in stylish pots across Canada. Foli was an idea that just spiraled bigger and bigger! Starting out as small plants that would fit into a specific custom box to large floor-sized plants that are packed in boxes 48'' and taller! We've basically done everything we can to ensure the transportation of our plants and pots is perfect. We can order diapers, juice, prepared meals online, so plants should be no different! And we may be biased, but we've nailed it. The unboxing experience is lovely, thoughtful, and bursting with positive plant vibes! Our customers are style-focused, wellness lovers, people mindful of gifting with purpose and function. Giving a plant feels a lot more lasting than flowers or something to simply fit the bill. Giving well is where it's at, and there is a wave of customers who are looking for unique and mindful ways to connect with others.
Tell us about yourself
I am a creative, high-energy, candy-loving entrepreneur. I'm a Mom of 3, and Foli is my third business; wait, does that mean I've had six kids?! It's in my blood to be curious, to dive into ideas to push the envelope, and I couldn't be happier in this yo-yo life of running a growing start-up. But, let's be real, this life is not for the faint of heart! It's tough, it's a grind, it's up and down and sideways, but it's real life, and it gets me nervous and excited in equal measure.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Staying power. Although it's hard to do when you want to give up or shift direction, staying in power is a major skill. Sticking it out and refining what I do know in times when there are a lot of conflicting pressures has been a big accomplishment. The companies that weather the storm and hang in there are the ones that stick around for 20, 30, 40 years, and that's what I want to do with Foli; we are here for the long haul.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
That you can ALWAYS be doing something, it's hard for me to shut it off sometimes, to be present outside of work, it's really hard. Especially when you love what you do, thinking about work, sourcing, looking at ideas, numbers, all of it, when you love it, it doesn't 'feel like work, but it sure does to everyone else, and it takes up time that you could be doing other things. I find the hardest thing for me is to pause, re-group, and take a break, but I'm working on it!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find someone who has opposite skills to you and link them into your plan. Having a trusted person in your life who will call out things you will be too blind to see is crucial. Someone who can properly be the devil's advocate, who can push you on your ideas, is invaluable and will offer you the perspective you need when trying to validate a business and make big decisions.
- Do all of the jobs first, before hiring out. Get the lay of the land, lingo, and broad understanding before outsourcing. You may find that you can keep a lot of things in-house and under your control, which usually means much less money than going to large agencies or experts right away. I've found this many, many times. I've gained tons of confidence by fiddling around with something I felt I would be terrible at, only to know more, have a better understanding, and in turn, find the best person to move things over to when the time is ready. Having a ton of subcontractors to do a lot of jobs is a fast way to drain your budget and leave you feeling helpless. Roll up your sleeves and do the work!
- Launch before you are ready. It's pretty simple, get out of your own way and start 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.
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.