Featurepreneur: From Online to Brick-and-Mortar
By Genevieve Allen Hearn
There are many wonderful home-based businesses in the Valley that sell items from home or online. Tanya Owen has been running her online business, Girliture, for five years, and has recently made the transition to a brick-and-mortar location on Aberdeen Street in Kentville. There you will find a mix of handmade items for the home, as well as pre-loved décor and furniture. It’s well worth a visit – Tanya has a great eye for design! After a visit to her shop (and an impulse purchase!), The Grapevine asked Tanya a few questions about her new undertaking.
The Grapevine (GV): Can you provide a history of your business?
Tanya Owen (TO): Girliture started about 5 years ago and we originally started selling furniture. We sold both refinished and painted furniture. I transitioned into making pillows, creating simple modern designs to print on pillows, and specializing in custom pillows. That seemed to take off and so for the next few years I concentrated primarily on pillows. I started wholesaling them to stores in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI, Ontario, and Alberta. I loved working from home and working for myself, so I left my job as a nurse at Valley Regional to concentrate on my business full-time. I’ve never regretted that decision. Sometimes you just have to go where your heart takes you.
GV: What are the major advantages of transitioning to a brick-and-mortar store? Are there are any disadvantages?
TO: One of the advantages for buying in person rather than online is getting to see something in person and knowing for sure that’s what you want. Sometimes when you’re trying to match something to your décor, computer colours can be so different from one computer to the next. One disadvantage for me is I’m quickly realizing that I’m spreading myself pretty thin with working at the shop, running the online shop, and making custom pillows, so I just hired someone to help me. Even though I wish I could do it all, I certainly can’t now.
GV: How has starting your business online helped to get you where you are today?
TO: Having had an online business for 5 years has allowed me to establish a business name and has given me a great platform to advertise on. I have over 16000 people that follow my facebook page, so it certainly helps to have a good online presence. It’s also nice to now run both the online and retail shop. I can ship any of the smaller decor items anywhere in Canada and the US.
GV: What have been your greatest lessons learned so far as a business owner?
TO: That you always have to be reinventing yourself. Things change often and to stay in business you have to stay on top of things and not be afraid to try different things. You’ll make lots of mistakes, but that’s okay, you always learn something from those mistakes. I’ve made lots and I’m sure I’ll make plenty more!
GV: What can we expect to see at your store?
TO: We will be carrying a small selection of pre-loved furniture in all different styles. We want to show people you can have nice furniture pieces and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune (and it’s good for the environment). We will also be carrying pre-loved décor as well as some new pieces. It will be a little mix of everything. Above all, we want to sell nice stuff at reasonable prices.
Girliture is located at 19 Aberdeen Street in Kentville. It is open Wednesday to Sunday 10am – 6pm, with extended hours until 8pm on Friday. Visit girliture.ca for more information.