We recently featured three amazing, women led, local business on our social media. Read all about them below and check out what they offer. You're sure to love them as much as we do.
Meet Julie, from Era Style Loft women's clothing boutique with two locations in Calgary and one in Saskatoon.
Hi Julie, tell us What a typical day look like?🤔
I pop out of bed and basically move as fast as humanly possible to get everyone ready and out the door. I have two young girls and three stores so no two days are the same. Moods (at home) are always at an all-time high and you never know what to expect. Once I get the kids off to daycare (or school) I always do a morning stop at our new Aspen location. After a quick stop there I head to 17th Ave, the era store I spend the most time at. I typically have a morning meeting with my business partner and sister Lauren which usually starts on my commute. During this time, we review what needs to be done throughout the day. We either divide and conqueror are in for a day of more meetings with each other to do buying or any other various other tasks.
Once I sit at my desk, I make a pen to paper to-do list and then start checking things off. Some days I check everything off and others I check one. I do a combination of marketing, buying, inventory management, business development, and seeing our lovely customers who come into the store to shop. I typically leave the store between 4:30 – 5:30 depending on kid’s activities or evening events. I pick up my girls and we make our way home for dinner. Luckily over the past year, my husband had been working from home and would always have a start on dinner (something I really appreciate & don’t know how I’m going to live without). We eat as a family and then spend some time together either playing a game, reading or watching a show. Once the kids go off to bed, I either go for a walk or workout.
Working out is when I get most of my new wild ideas!! This is also the time when I’m most creative so I try to jot down any thoughts or things I hope to do during this time. Then I try to wrap things up for the day – tie up any items that didn’t get done throughout the day. When it hits 9:30 pm I try to take an hour to an hour and a half to myself just to relax before bed.
What do you love about being a small business owner in Calgary?
The community, our customers and all the new faces we get to meet on the daily. We create new
relationships every day and not only is it inspiring but it's why we do what we do. It’s 100% about the people. We get to help women feel confident, comfortable & inspired through their own sense of style. In both Calgary & Saskatoon, we’re surrounded by other strong, independent business owners who support each other. It’s honestly kind of like an underground club that all small business owners are a part of. You just get each other and it’s so great to get to talk to each other because you realize that everyone has their struggles and their triumphs and it all comes in waves.
What is one eye-opening thing you've learned since starting your own business?
One (new) eye-opening moment for me is when I was forced to step out of my comfort zone during covid. I had to put myself out there in a way that I never wanted to. I was scared of what everyone was going to think of me, the judgment, etc. I think being a small business owners we’re all particularly scared of failure and really the judgment that comes with that. I would say I have learned this is generally not the case. People are, in most cases, good people and truly want you to succeed. I got more encouragement than I could have ever imagined and it was that encouragement that kept me going. Kind messages from customers and era followers is actually
something that continued to motivate me. Yes, you 100% will still get judgment and rude comments but that is so overshadowed by the positivity received. I’ve learned that judgment will come out but it’s not a reflection of what you are doing but more of a reflection of that person. As long as we’re all staying true to ourselves, working hard and doing the best we can – that’s really all you can do. You have to stay in your lane. Stay motivated, keep moving and try to keep the noise at bay. Take in the positive and ignore the negative.
What inspires you?
My friends and customers! I am so lucky to meet & talk to amazing women every day. I find
everyone I meet so inspiring and I always learn something new. We connect on many different levels whether we chat about family, being a mom, business, fitness, and the list goes on. It’s so fun to hear about other women’s passions and what their life looks like on the day today. When we chat about style and fashion there is so much more that comes out because style is so personal and a reflection of who you are. I love helping women exude this side of themselves and learn from them throughout the process.
What have you learned about yourself over COVID?
That I’m crazy!! Haha, I feel like from March 2020 till present I have been running on the daily. Covid was a major rollercoaster especially for small businesses and I feel like we went into full survival mode and just worked our butts off and really haven’t been able to stop. Much like other small businesses we utilized social media heavily to create fun, innovative ways for customers to be able to shop era. We decided it was a good idea to revamp our website completely – this was something we were planning to do in 2020 so luckily, we were able to get it done fairly seamlessly. We launched our new website in November of 2020 when we also opened our third location. This is where ‘crazy’ enters and we took a leap of faith.
I don’t think I necessarily learned this but it became increasingly important –
1. You cannot control everything and sometimes you need to shift and adapt regardless of
what was planned.
2. When push comes to shove, I can step out of my boundaries and do what needs to be done
to survive. I also will admit that I truly am a homebody. Not having events or outside obligations gave me so much more time with my family and to just be at home and focus more on myself and personal growth.