Start Up Story: Wendy Woods and The Refinery

Wendy Woods - The Refinery
Name
Wendy Woods

Company Name
The Refinery

Email and Twitter
shop@therefinery.ca
@THE_REFINERY

Years in Business
2 years

What does The Refinery Do?
THE REFINERY is a creative image consulting company that sets out to help real women find clothing and accessories that enhance their personal style and are practical in their daily life. Whether you choose to tour the city, experience a one-on-one service, or enjoy a party with your friends, you will always be welcomed with a warm smile. THE REFINERY strives to create the relatable environment needed to discuss something as personal as your style. Learn the specific skills you need to refine your personal style so you feel confident, elegant, and chic everyday!

The common theme amongst the women in THE REFINERY target market is that they are going through some sort of change – whether that be graduating from school, a new mom, retiring, getting a promotion at work, etc. – and they are ready to invest in themselves!

What makes The Refinery different?
I’ve differentiated myself by offering unique services like “Shop Your Closet” and “Toronto Boutique Shopping Tours”. Many image consultants are focused on capturing the corporate market. I prefer to host parties, take a group of women shopping, and do one-on-one work.

Wendy Woods leading Style Seminar for Designers

Wendy Woods leading Style Seminar for Designers


Why did you decide to start your own business?
I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I think there is an entrepreneur gene that runs in my family! When I took my commerce degree at MacMaster University, all I knew was that I wanted to keep my options open. A few months into working at IBM I stumbled upon the image consulting certificate at George Brown – I finally figured out which entrepreneurial path I was going to take.

What’s the Best Part About Being an Entrepreneur?
You get to make changes to your business whenever your heart desires. I love the creativity you can have owning your own business. A happy, confident client is my favourite part on the client side. The client transformations can be very rewarding!

What’s the worst part of being and entrepreneur?
I am the definition of an extrovert, so working on my own all the time can get lonely. I’ve had to purposefully create a network of “colleagues” around me so that I have people to bounce ideas off and just chat to about my day.

There are a lot of highs and lows owning your own business, and they can be tough to manage at times. It’s easy to wrap your life’s worth into how your business is doing. One day you book a lot of client appointments and you’re on cloud nine. The next day you have a trade show that you invested a lot of money in, and didn’t live up to expectations, so you get down on yourself.

How did You Raise the StartUp Cash?
I was fortunate to get a bank loan before I left my full-time job at IBM. I also feel very fortunate to have a supportive family who helps out when they’re needed!

What are some of the lessons you learned as an Entrepreneur?
One of the lessons I’ve learned recently is that you have to allow yourself to make mistakes, and take whatever lesson comes from it. I now think of these lessons as an educational investment!

Got any advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs?
People can give you all the advice in the world, but you won’t understand until you’re living it. Listen to what everyone says and use those trinkets of advice in the future when you need them.

Take risks, and go with your gut. Your gut is always right!

What are your future goals?
My main goal is to get the word out that the right image consultant/stylist/style coach is out there to help you. We want to help people decipher the style world and find items that work specifically for them. No matter your budget, we can help you!

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