Well hello there!
public disclaimer - I have never blogged before, I really haven't even read blogs until recently. But, I really want to document my first year as an Entrepreneur, building my business, building my brand, and building a community. And I think blogging will be a great platform to do that. Stay tuned as you watch me fumble along my blogging journey, and hopefully improve. Now back to regular programming...
Serving you Entrepreneurial Realness *in my best RuPaul impression*
So I have thought long and hard about topics, structuring, scheduling, and content of blog posts. When I started Without Co. one of the goals I had in mind (aside from saving the planet, becoming a millionaire, and being perfectly low waste) was to build a transparent brand. Transparent in where we source from, who we buy from, and how we 'walk the walk' but also transparent about the business's journey, and about my journey.
So here's my goal for this blog, refined: I'm going to write a bi-weekly blog post about the stupid things I've done, the stuff I have learned, insights into our community, interviews of other low wasters, and other interesting tidbits. Sound good? Sound like an awful idea? Either way, shoot me an email or drop in a comment and let me know.
So for this first post, I thought I would share a little bit of insight into who I am and why I started Without Co. If you don’t know what Without Co is, head to our about us page, and then come straight back! https://withoutco.com/pages/about-without-co
First things first.
I'm Michelle, and I'm the owner. Fun fact about me - I had never worked in retail before I opened my own shop. Crazy? Maybe, but too late.
Aside from my corporate life which we will get a little bit into with this post, I am married to one heck of a guy, we have a dog who has a terrible attitude, and I am totally an aspiring foodie. You will hear all about these other aspects of me in future posts :)
Professionally, I was a commercial lender for the past seven years. What the heck is that? It's okay no one really knows. My job was to manage a book of existing loans that were lent out to medium-sized businesses (car dealerships, manufacturers, contractors, etc.) and grow the portfolio. So I networked, and sold (or tried to sell) to entrepreneurs in the Prairies, in way larger businesses than what I am running. It was fun, challenging, and taught me soooo much.
Because I had worked with entrepreneurs for years, I had no illusions of what life would look like if I went into biz for myself. I knew it would be work, a heck of a lot of it, and I knew I would stumble, and struggle, and to be honest, that's what I signed up for!
One of the most common questions I get is "how did you decide to take the leap?"
Leaving a financially stable, rather fulfilling corporate life was a tough decision. I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur eventually, and as I became more dedicated to low waste living, the business idea came to me.
I wanted a shop that made low waste living simple and delivered a product quality that I was used to; let me be the first to say, I'm a total brat, so the quality of the product needed to be really, really good. I think low waste living can be pretty, impactful, and luxurious all at the same time, and that's what I'm on a mission to prove through Without Co.
And so, Without Co. was born.
Okay so business idea created, and now I'm scrambling to get a business plan together, crunch numbers on margins and cash flow, and convince my family that this is a good idea. Phew. It was a lot, happening all at once, and happening very quickly but everyone came on board, and thank god for that! Because a great space had come on the market, and I wanted to sign that lease, like yesterday.
It all happened quickly and is a bit of a blur, but next thing I know, we're signing the lease, getting the keys, and walking into an empty, starch, and scary Without Co.
Let me tell you - it takes a damn village. Seriously, I had family and friends flying and driving from all over the place to help out with the design, construction, and product displays in the store. Not to mention planning and hosting soft openings and the grand opening. It was such a fun, exhilarating, terrifying time. There were tears, beers, and cheers all happening at Without Co., literally within two minutes of each other during the construction and I loved every second of it.
We had a 45 day fixturing period, and in those 45 days I was working at my corporate job for 38 of them, so the turn around to get this thing built and up and running was tight, but we did it! And now I'm sitting in my pretty, completely functioning, stocked store, feeling all the feels.
So, that's a little bit of a backstory on who I am and how Without Co. came to be. For the next edition, I'm thinking of highlighting a few of my blunders to date. What do you think? Any burning questions? A topic you want more detail on? Leave a comment below or send me an email! I would love to connect with you.
Thanks for reading. Until next time Without Co. crew!