Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in home care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Blake Sandham, Co-Founder of Stillbay Home Goods, located in Argyle, Nova Scotia, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
At Stillbay Home Goods, our work is deeply rooted in our purpose: to foster connections with purposefully designed home goods. And along with this purpose, we ensure each action we take aligns with our core values.
We think and act sustainably from our roots - We take action to operate sustainably - not just to offset our own carbon footprint - but to leave a better planet than we inherited. We strive to think globally but act locally.
We are craftspeople at our core - We believe in crafting high-quality, local products with intention while keeping aesthetically pleasing, modern design at the centre of what we do.
We are driven by connections - We love bringing people closer together. By focusing on connections, we have intention with each action we take. Our discussions always start with what drives connections and value for our customers.
Our customers are individuals and families who appreciate the 'slow home' mentality, meaning they add items to their homes with purpose and intention. They are less worried about the latest trend and care more about sustainable practices and items that are built to last. Most importantly, they care about spending time and connecting with family and friends.
Tell us about yourself
Hilary started her calligraphy and design business in 2019 after creating event signs and invitations for friends over the years. As she transitioned to digital hand-drawn designs, her product offering grew to greeting cards and other stationery. In 2021, Blake started his woodworking brand focused on small kitchenware products. Fast forward to 2023, after leveraging each other's products to support their own customer experiences, Hilary and Blake merged their brands to form Stillbay Home Goods to help create a cohesive customer experience while establishing some operational efficiency.
For us, we're both focused on providing high-quality, handcrafted, and hand-designed products that are made locally with sustainability in mind. We believe in this mission and are driven to help people foster connections in their lives, whether that be a simple greeting in the mail or over a home-cooked meal around a handcrafted table.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Putting ourselves out there. In today's world of entrepreneurship, the personal brand of the founder(s) is often linked with the brand you're building. For the two of us, we're quite introverted, so we usually have to hype ourselves up to be on camera or walk into a networking event.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Consistency is likely the largest challenge for us. From school to work, we're so often conditioned to wait for instructions on what to do and then execute what we're told. But with owning your own business, the buck stops with you. So, while we have a great idea or a well-thought-out strategy, we have to constantly hold ourselves accountable to ensure we execute our plan with consistency.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Just start. We sometimes fall into the trap of planning things to death, which only slows us down. The quicker you can get something out in the world, the quicker you will start to learn and improve what you're doing.
- Find balance. Whether it's a balance of time so you're not overworking yourself or a balance of risk so you don't overleverage yourself...it's important to achieve balance.
- Ask for help. If there's an area you're not comfortable in, ask for some assistance! And it doesn't need to be paid. If your budget is tight, network with local entrepreneurs and go for coffee chats to bounce ideas off of or seek some advice. More than not, they're happy to help.
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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