I know what you're thinking. FINALLY! A POST! If you follow us on facebook (click the sidebar to join the party), you know we are still alive and well and hearting accessories more than ever. We've just been a lil busy getting the beginning of this blissful year organized...we promise to pay more attention to our blog and keep you up to date on all the happenings from here on in.
That being said, there's a LOT to catch up on since December - so, I just wanted to shine a little light on our media attention as of late. We kinda get overly excited when people call and want to feature us in their spots/mags/newspapers....and we do LOVE the attention!
Take a little lookie-loo at our recent exposure. I'm a very proud mama!
Below: A recent interview done by the lovely Wyndham for The Grid. That's me there.
Tue Jan 17, 2012
In this week's edition of our career-advice column, we learn the pros and cons of going into business for yourself.Name: Natalie Colalillo
Job: Owner of I Heart Accessories (2646 Yonge)
In 30 seconds or less, tell me what you do all day at work.
I’m the store’s sole owner, so each day I check email, order new stuff for the store, merchandise, serve customers, update the website and manage social media—everything, really.
How did you first become interested in starting your own business?
When I was in university, my parents—who have been in the home-décor retail business for 20 years—helped me start up a little side business. It kind of stayed with me; whatever I was doing, I sold jewellery and accessories on the side as a hobby. My parents had an in with a lot of suppliers, and they would take me on their buying trips, so that really helped. I became familiar with where to go and what to get. And then one day I just decided that I needed to be my own boss, and I had always pictured myself owning my own shop. I work in the store five or six days a week, and I have a part-time employee who helps me one or two days a week.
What is it about accessories in particular that inspired you to go into retail?
I’ve always been really interested in accessorizing outfits I have rather than shopping for new clothes. I’ve always shopped simple in terms of clothing, and then used accessories to make my outfit exciting. I find it really fun. Here, we offer a wide range of accessories rather than just jewellery, as a lot of other stores do. My customers know that they can bring an outfit or a picture of an outfit into the store, or they can describe an outfit to me, and we can accessorize them from head-to-toe.
Once you decided what kind of business you wanted, how did you go about finding a location and establishing the store?
I took a year to write a business plan, and then it came down to deciding what size of space I was looking for and what kind of neighbourhood I wanted to be in. I really wanted the store to be a bit more high-end than your average cheap-accessories store, but not so high-end that people couldn’t afford it. I was looking for something much larger, but then I found this space (on Yonge, north of Eglinton) and I realized that it was actually the perfect size for what I want to do. Now, it’s actually worked in my favour; a lot of people call the store a “hidden gem,” or say to their friends that they have to check it out because it’s so small but has the greatest things.
When you first opened for business, how did you build a customer base?
It took a little while to get busy; even now, people are still finding out about us. I still get people saying, “Oh, I didn’t even know you were here,” and we’re in our third year. But the good thing is that customers keep coming back. In our first year, it was all about people finding us, and now our focus is on our really great base of return customers.
What’s something people should know before they open their own business?
It’s really important to have a plan, and to set goals that are attainable. It’s also important to keep in mind that it’s a life-long commitment. I always say that it’s equally as challenging as starting a family, because it takes up all of your time. I don’t have kids, but, as with a family, you have to be a 100 per cent committed to make a real go of it.
What are you favourite and least favourite parts of your job?
My favourite part is that I get to wake up every day and work for me; my least favourite part is that I have to wake up every day and work for me! It’s a challenge when you’re the only owner, because you don’t have partners or people to bounce ideas off of, so I try to seek out mentors in order to do that. But actually, the challenges have become my favourite parts of the job.
More news and posts coming soon! In the meantime, check out our online shop - new gorgeous pieces added daily!