March 08, 2022
HER STORY: PROFILES OF THE WOMEN WE LOVE WITH EMMA CLOUTIER
Emma is the owner of the beautiful shop in Pembroke, Pick-It-Fence. She has an incredible eye for beauty, and we are incredibly grateful that she's included Blondie in her lineup!
TELL US ABOUT HOW PICK-IT-FENCE GOT STARTED? Pick-it-Fence has been in business since 1996. Sylvie Neville opened up a little shop in the Renfrew Mall and then expanded to Pembroke and Arnprior. I started working at Pick-it-Fence when it was in the Pembroke Mall, at the age of 14. I loved it so much — it was such a creative, happy environment and Sylvie and I became really close. She would bring me to buying shows and give me a lot of responsibility in the store. I was attending Algonquin College in Pembroke (taking the business program) when Sylvie offered me the Pembroke location. At the young age of 19, I took over ownership of Pick-it-Fence in Pembroke, and I haven’t looked back! Sylvie still owns and operates her store in downtown Renfrew. We are still really close. She says she will always be my boss, but we all know who keeps her in line ;).
WHO WAS EMMA BEFORE PICK-IT-FENCE? As mentioned, Pick-it-Fence has been a part of my life since the age of 14. Before then, I was just a young kid, always crafting, making something out of nothing, and operating flower shops in my treehouse. My mom was my best customer (and she still is to this day).
WHAT'S YOUR DAILY ROUTINE? My daily routine is a bit different every day, with a few things remaining the same. I have two young boys, ages 8 and 5. My day always starts with getting them ready and off to school. I arrive at the store around 9 AM. My workday begins with checking emails (I love an empty inbox). Each day at the store is different for me. There are days I will spend my time on the shop floor, helping customers, and merchandising. There are days when my head will be in the computer all day adding inventory, ordering new inventory, and paying bills. I also co-own Ottawa Valley Apparel, so I spend part of my day taking care of that side of things. After the day at the store, I then get to pick up my boys from school and head home to my loving husband, Chris and our handsome husky, Levi. There are nights where I dive right back into the computer, but I have been forcing myself to find that work/life balance lately and be more present.
WHAT WOMEN DO YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR LIFE? I look up to my mom and sisters the most. They are the women in my life who are always there for me, no matter what. I am the youngest of three girls, so I have always felt like I have three mothers. They are all so confident and powerful. My mom is loving and thoughtful, my sister Sarah is smart and adventurous, and my sister Katelyn is the best mom to her children, and she would do anything for me or the people she loves.
TELL US ABOUT 70 YEAR OLD EMMA? 70 year old Emma is enjoying life with her husband, Chris. We are travelling and loving on our grandchildren. It’s hard to imagine myself not working, but I am hoping that I would be able to pass on the business to someone who will love it as much as I do by that point.
HOW HAS THE PANDEMIC AFFECTED YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS? What strange times! Never in a million years would I have thought we would be going through something like this. If we are looking on the bright side of things, the pandemic has helped build our online presence. With many people stuck at home at the beginning, our online sales skyrocketed. I feel like this made many people aware of what we had to offer and how easy it is to shop with us online. Our community has been incredibly supportive through it all. We are forever grateful!
WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO WORK WITH B + M? It’s been quite a few years since we started carrying Blondie Apparel in the shop. The main thing that attracted me to their brand was their dedication to being a Canadian company, and keeping many aspects of their business as local as possible. And all of their pieces are must-haves, of course! Every design is well thought out and you can tell they put a lot of passion and care into everything they do.
WHAT'S DIFFICULT ABOUT BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR? I would say the most difficult thing about being an entrepreneur is finding the balance between work and home life. When work feels like such a huge part of your life, it is so easy to bring that home with you. I have a young family, and I don’t want to regret missing out on the small, but important, things. I consider myself very lucky to have such a supportive and loving family. My parents and husband, especially, have been right there beside me through all the ups and downs.
WHAT'S AWESOME ABOUT BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR? The most awesome thing about being an entrepreneur is having the flexibility to do what I want, and taking my business in the direction I feel like it needs to move to. I love going to work, and I have the most wonderful employees who are also very supportive. I have met so many people over the years, which has really brought me out of my shell. The store is my happy place, and I plan to keep it that way for myself and for anyone who enters.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE BLONDIE PIECE? My favourite Blondie piece is the Hillside Sweater. I love the fit, and it is super easy to throw on and go. And oh-so-comfy.
Check out the Pick-It-Fence website and browse their beautiful selection of items, or stop in the next time you're in Pembroke!