Describe the growth of your business between where you are now and where you started?
Our website launched on January 16th 2015. The business was as a creative outlet while working full-time in a corporate environment. Weekends at farmers markets, late nights taping boxes in our one-bedroom condo (quietly so I didn’t wake our newborn). it wasn’t until halfway through 2016 that I was able to transition to full-time, and today we have 7000 square feet of warehouse space and 10 team members. By the end of 2021 Friday Sock Co., will be amalgamated into a different entity that includes a growing group of small businesses my wife and I own – Monday on Mars (Apparel), Little May Papery (Stationary), The Weekday Store (Retail), and Weekday Candles.
What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?
I was laughed at by an extended family member when I explained I was putting $8k on a credit card to start a mismatched sock company, and actually, not a single person I told thought it was a good idea except my wife, Leanne. So, I guess I’m proud of myself for not letting the opinions of others negatively impact my journey. The other thing I’m proud of is that we’ve been able to give back a significant amount to our community (while being a very small business). Last year we were able to donate over $50k charitable causes. I was also recently honoured with the AFP Generosity of Spirit award in the Small Business Philanthropist category.
What is one of the most significant challenges that you have faced and overcome as an entrepreneur?
Looking back I’d have to say the personal sacrifices I made during the first few years. I was a company of one for a bit too long and would consistently develop an eye twitch from overworking myself. I remember a month during a busy season in 2018 where I averaged 4 hours of sleep a night and truly feel like I was in a risky health situation by the end of it. I was fearful of spending profits and put every dime back into inventory; thankfully at this stage of the game I’ve (mostly) figured this part out. Good people help you grow! Who knew…
What is your mindset when it comes to running your business?
I just think it’s good to be different and try to incorporate as much as that as I can into our business. I’m an ideas person so am constantly thinking of different initiatives, ways to package a product, a new design concept that hasn’t been done, etc. I’ve always thought it was one of the most important things for us to focus on. When it comes to a function within the business, like Customer Service for example, we want to understand the status quo and then try to see how we can be different. We’re far from perfect, but I feel like if we can keep this thought at the forefront of our mind, we’ll be headed the right direction.
What are you hoping to gain from joining EO Calgary?
I’m really excited about the forum experience and the 5% concept. Entrepreneurship is a deeply lonely experience, but maybe it doesn’t have to be. I’m excited to share my journey and get insights into the journey of others.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking to start and run their own business?
I moonlighted as a stand up comedian for about 5 years. When I was doing open mic nights at Yuk Yuks we’d get the headliner to chat with us for a half hour. I remember asking what their best advice was for being a comedian, and without missing a beat the headliner said, “Don’t.” The point the headliner was making was that if someone who you were seeking advice from told you in a serious way not to bother. If they explained how horrible the experience could be. If they told you that you didn’t have what it takes or that you weren’t good enough, and you went for it anyway… Well, you probably have a good start. You have a good enough reason to push forward. That’s now the advice I give to aspiring entrepreneurs. Don’t.