While the broader economy and many businesses have taken a hit through this pandemic, smaller businesses have pivoted, expanded or begun across the country and Sylvan Lake is no exception.
In this three part series we will look at three local entrepreneurs who have changed how they do business during the global pandemic. Kelly McMillan, Sacha Bojda and Janice Fogarty are the three women who will be spotlighted during this series, but there are many other female business owners in Sylvan Lake who have pivoted, expanded or begun a business in town.
According to StatsCan, small businesses make up 98 per cent of employer businesses across Canada. While small businesses have been more likely to experience a decrease in revenue and have less liquidity, and are more likely to be considering bankruptcy in the current economic environment, these women provide a glimpse of an entrepreneurial spirit that continues to grow. Despite the extra struggles, these women are striving to look at the bright side of things.
Bojda, owner of Fun Like Friday Clothing Company, says she was able to pivot her seven years of experience in the beauty and e-commerce industries into a new company.
Seeing numerous store fronts close over recent years, specifically stores that cater to plus size and curvy clientele, Bojda saw a need that needed to be filled.
Being a plus size person herself, Bojda decided to do something about the gap in the market.
“It was never in my mind to have a brick and mortar store and I think with COVID this online business has been the best model for me. Women of all sizes have been really excited for the boutique and it just validated that opening was the best idea,” said Bojda.
Her past experience has shown her that people will continue to purchase certain items even during times of crisis, like makeup and clothing.
Fun Like Friday Clothing Company is proudly size inclusive, and caters to women size small to 3X. Clothing styles focus more on comfortable and relaxing items to “support women working from home.”
The difficult part of shifting how one works during a pandemic is the family dynamic, according to Bojda.
With her son at home more, and her husband still working outside of the house, Bojda says communication is key.
“It’s very important to have great communication with your family and boundaries for both the business and the family,” she said.
One way she keeps clear boundaries is to maintain a ‘no phone calls allowed’ rule during meal times.
“I do ‘power hours’ where I will do my work for a set time and then do some self care, or chores, then back to the grind. Knowing that I can be flexible with COVID gives me a lot of peace of mind.”
The lack of human interaction is difficult to contend with, she says. She misses getting together with people face-to-face for business and fun and confesses to sometimes being jealous of her husband being able to go to work and interact with people.
“Opening a new online business during COVID has taught me so much. And not just me, but my family. My son sees that it’s OK to pivot and change direction,” she says. “Of course it was scary but it has brought me and my customers joy and happiness – and I think that’s something we can all celebrate right now.”