Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in home care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jullian Sauso-Bawa, owner of STAY Home Furnishings, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My shop specializes in authentic vintage furniture and design, typically from the period of post-war to the present day. That being said, I don't put myself in a box. My buying ethos is simply "buy what I like," regardless of who, when, where, or how it was made.
My clients range anywhere from professional designers to film and studio buyers, as well as from design-school students to empty-nesters. Generally, people who come into the shop are interested in vintage collectibles, with an appreciation for well-built pieces that are timeless and will outlast virtually all new products made today.
Tell us about yourself
This started out as a hobby when I was looking to redecorate a small apartment in the west end. My existing furniture was all hand-me-downs awkward and oversized for the narrow hallways and tight spaces. I began some late-night research into danish design, and then fully down the rabbit hole I went! Six years later, I still haven't come back up for air.
How this became my career is something we've all heard a lot of lately. I lost my previous career in hospitality overnight with the COVID-19 lockdown. They say necessity is the mother of all invention, and that couldn't be truer here. Through a mutual friend, I met my business partner, and a brick and mortar shop was suddenly in the works...in the middle of a pandemic.
I worked for 22 years in an industry that offered zero security, as evidenced by losing everything overnight. I figured if I was bound to work without any security, I mind as well do it on my terms so that I could have at least some control going forward. Being in control for the most part of my own destiny keeps me going. I have a vision of where I want to be and how I am going to get there. The best part is that there is nobody standing in my way of getting to where I want to be.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Opening the brick and mortar store. It was always something that I fantasized about but never really put into the realm of possibility section of my brain. I'm not sure why that was, but when that brown paper came down on the front windows and that first client walked through the door, the fantasy became a reality.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The sheer amount of work that's involved. There are countless things that require your attention all the time. Knowing what to do yourself and what you can delegate to your staff is crucial. I learned how to be better organized and how to manage my time more efficiently. Knowing when to ask for help is massive. I don't know everything, and having a network you can reach out to when troubleshooting a problem can't be understated enough.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- ABC's. Like they say in real estate, Always Be Closing. You're only as strong as your last sale. As soon as you take your foot off the gas, you'll stall. Nobody will wait for you to make money when you owe money.
- Know your product better than anyone else. This goes without saying, but if someone comes in off the street and can beat you at your own game, you better take a good long look in the mirror.
- Be sure to carve out some time for yourself. It's hard not to be working all the time, especially with how connected we are all the time today, and it's easy to fall into the trap of being on call 24/7. Trust your business and create boundaries to give yourself a break so that when you are working, you're giving it the proper attention.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Have fun! It's tremendously important to take this seriously, but all work and no play leave Jack/Jackie a dull boy/girl. Whatever your business is, find ways to make it fun and to have fun while working! The days will go by faster, and it won't feel like work. This is the path you are walking now for a good long while, so mind as well have some fun.
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.