Sharon owns Collected Joy, a beautifully curated shop in the beaches area of Toronto. She was one of our first wholesale accounts and is a constant source of inspiration and encouragement for us. We are thrilled to have her as our first guest and can't wait to share her story with you!
WHAT'S YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH? The first line of my business plan says that I want everyone who walks into Collected Joy to feel as welcome and comfortable as if they are hanging out with me at my house. And when they leave the store, they feel better than when they came in because they were treated with kindness and respect.
WHO WAS SHARON BEFORE COLLECTED JOY? Ha! Well before Collected Joy, Sharon was a very busy marketing professional first working on the advertising side of life in account management/new business and public relations where I met this guy on my second day at my first agency who then became my husband and eventually supportive and silent business partner. After 6 years (and 2 kids), I moved to the client world, most notably and for the longest stretch at Starbucks Canada, managing their out of home advertising, in-store signage/messaging, loyalty program and various product launches. I resigned from that amazing experience to take some time to regroup and hang with my kids. That lasted just under a year when I headed back to take on the role of Marketing Director at Minto. And as great as the opportunity was, it was there that I realized I needed to go out and create something on my own. So I texted my husband, told him I needed to work for me, he said "yep" and then I got home and said "Well, what should it be?" and he said "It doesn't really matter as long as you enjoy it because you work too hard for it not to be a success."
DESCRIBE WORKING WITH B + M? Can I share with your readers that I brag and tell ppl (whether or not it's accurate) that I'm one of your first ever stockists and that I get regular puppy pics of Keeper?
Working with Brodie and Michelle is a dream ... professional, collaborative, and so much fun. The level and quality of customer service is top notch - so for anyone wanting to dive into the world of production/wholesale, I'd recommend you take a master class from these two on how to get it done.
WHAT'S YOUR DAILY ROUTINE? Oh geez, probably not worth writing about but get up, cuddle my muppet of a dog, wake up and feed my teenagers, walk the dog, do a little yoga and then begin my workday usually with my IG posts that kind of set my intention/mood for the day.
Now that I have two stores and an incredible team, my time in either stores is less than when I first opened however I'm at each store every single day to check in on my staff and to see customers and review inventory and do whatever needs doing. Every day involves marketing, administrative tasks, inventory management, HR of some sorts and of course inter-store delivery duties! I am also part of the Kingston Road BIA so there's usually something to do with that on a weekly basis.
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THIS PATH TO YOUR KIDS? Yes. Absolutely. I want them to experience and explore the world of entrepreneurship because of everything it's given to me.
I, however, do think it's important for them to learn from others before diving in on their own. Ideally I would want them to some time learning from other business leaders/companies. I've taken something valuable from each of my past gigs that led me to where I am now ... learning both what to do and what not to do.
I tell my kids (who are now teenagers, one who is in grade 11 so we are on that cusp of things getting a little more serious when it comes to making decisions about what's next) that whatever they do, they need to work hard. They're immensely lucky kids who live in a world of safety and privilege (racially, economically and educationally) but I don't want them believing they can walk into opportunities without putting the work in first.
I however do not want them working w/ me at Collected Joy before they take their own leaps on their own!
DO YOU EVER FEEL LIKE THROWING IN THE TOWEL? No. I really don't. I'm surprised and delighted daily with how much I'm loving this gig. There are days I feel like I want to hide and take a few days off and disconnect but I figure that's normal for all of us who have earned some downtime. I sometimes imagine what I would do if I won $50 million and even then, I like to think I'd keep doing this but with pop-ups in New York and Paris near my fabulous pied-a-terres.
IF YOU COULD DO ANYTHING ELSE WHAT WOULD IT BE? Ooooooh, I am sooooo addicted and in love with working with entrepreneurs and creators and risk takers (who are the backbone of our economy) that I would want to surround myself with more and more of them. So I would likely do something like start a podcast dedicated to them to showcase all they are doing. And in a roundabout way, advocate for small business in Canada through that channel.
WHAT ARE YOUR DREAMS FOR COLLECTED JOY? Short term, 5 years out, I'd like to open 3 or 4 more locations, evolve my online shop, continue to expand the Canadian makers I sell, and grow my overall brand. Long term, stay healthy and strong and excited and inspired and inspiring enough that I can keep doing this for another 25 years.
TELL US ABOUT 17 YEAR OLD SHARON Oh geez. I would be in grades 11 and 12, hair courtesy of Sun-In, in love with the freedom of having my drivers license in a small town in Alberta with the best group of friends ever. I'd also be planning on attending the University of Alberta regrettably without even considering venturing further away than that.
TELL US ABOUT 70 YEAR OLD SHARON Still working, still healthy, still laughing and loving my silent business partner, and still surrounded by amazing Canadian makers ... oh and maybe am a NEW grandma a few times over.
WHAT WOMAN DO YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR LIFE? Can I answer this incorrectly?
I look up to a lot of women for different reasons.
- My mom because now I can understand and respect all that she has gone through as a fellow woman/wife and mom.
- I've had the privilege of working with some amazing businesswomen over the last 20+ years and I admire how they have navigated their way to success during times when speaking up/speaking out and pushing back was not as accepted as it is now. I've learned through them how to speak up, lead a meeting, take a risk and let things go that are causing me to rage at the world and then to come back to fight again.
- Fellow women business owners. I am inspired and in awe DAILY by my job because of the women i get to work with via Collected Joy and indirectly connected to CJ ... I look at my bookkeeper and accountant differently now. I look at my hair stylist differently now. I look at all the women creators/makers at how hard they work and how much they hustle and how completely un-glamourous it all is and they still do it because they can't not.
LAST QUESTION, WHAT'S YOUR FAV BLONDIE PIECE EVER? Ohhhh damn...it's a toss up between the Bamboo Poncho, the Hillside Sweater and the East End Sweater. If I had to pick, I'd say the poncho because it's what started this Blondie/Collected Joy adventure 6 years ago!