Small Business Story
First and last name
Precocious Environmental Couture Inc.
4160B Dundas St W, Etobicoke, ON M8X 1X3 (Dundas St W & Royal York Rd)
Please describe exactly what your business does and your target market
Precocious creates one of a kind clothing by recycling bits and pieces of vintage findings into new fashions. Women between the ages of 18-40, with a flair for fashion and a conscious for the environment can have their cake and eat it to!
What makes your business different? What is that you do that makes your business unique?
Our product is one of a kind. After re-sewing the bits and pieces of fabrics back together, each garment is a one-of-a-king jem! So, each woman walks away with an original artwork for her wardrobe. On a whole, we take what people didn’t want and make it into something they can’t live without.
Why did you decide to start your own business? How did you get into your particular business?
Angel investor originally…now a sole proprietor…I continued on my own because of my passion to recreate! Something old into something new and my desire to create one-of-a-kind artwork have kept me going strong.
What’s the best part of being an entrepreneur?
What’s the worst part of being an entrepreneur?
Instability (which can shoot higher but also drop lower then a steady pay cheque occupation) and wearing many hats most days.
How long have you been in business?
How did you raise the start-up cash?
Identify and discuss a few lessons you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
Selling is huge! If you learn to sell your product (and its not hard) you will be amazed at the results. How you present yourself and your product has an extreme impact on whether/how much you will sell. Part of selling is just informing your customer of your product and what makes it unique and building rapport through familiarity (showing off your press coverage, listing other popular events you’ve completed in the past).
Also, remembering your customers (“oh, hi there, I remember you from our booth at the One of a Kind Show…Let me show you what’s new this season…”) will bring you much loyalty in sales.
No-objection selling is probably the most important lesson in sales. Regardless of how the potential customer responds to you or your product (“…you want how much for that”?), remain positive and continue to pursue the sale. Never react to negative feedback, always couter balance with a positive statement and a step towards the sale. Eg. Customer: “…you want how much for that?” Me: “yes that one is $119, it’s a beautifully recreated sweater dress. Each panel is hand cut and then reassembled to create a one-of-a-kind final product. Would you like to try it on? “You will be surprised how easily you can turn a critical comment into a sale. I have done so, many times.
Network. As entrepreneurs, we spend a lot of time alone and need to remember to fuel our creative juices and our motivation by surrounding ourselves with other entrepreneurs or friends/family that support our venture and can offer positive feedback. Networking is also a great way to find the best way to do things. Many others have already checked it out and will often be glad to pass along their info and contacts to help you out. It’s a great way to find supplies, information and to get connected with the right people and programs! But it’s a two-way street and its feels great to help others too.
What advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur?
Marry rich! Just kidding… Make sure there is a market need for your product/business. Start small and test the waters. Grow your business at a healthy rate, adding staff, machinery etc. as you need it instead of going full out and then trying to create something that isn’t there. Be adaptable. When you notice patterns in your business, it’s ok to redirect your business to become more successful (ie. So the sweater dress style didn’t take off but the cardigans are flying off the rack; stop production on the sweater dresses and ramp up more cardigans than you had originally planned). Its ok to change your mind and it’s important to remain flexible, even last minute situations. Finally, don’t sweat the small stuff…most the time you’re the only one that will notice!
Briefly, what are your goals and plans for the future?
This fall I have plans to launch a new eco-fabric line of clothing for wholesale and possibly next Spring open my own retail store!