This is the first entry in a new series from Report on Small Business called Who Owns That. We've asked readers to identify their favourite small businesses from across Canada, and we'll track down the owners so they can tell us their stories. The answers will be edited for style and flow.
Introducing Pamela Fox, the owner of Winnipeg-based Foxy Shoppe.
Question: Let's start with the basics. Can you briefly describe your business?
Answer: The Foxy Shoppe, located in the historic Exchange District of Winnipeg, opened on June 15, 2011. The Foxy Shoppe is a celebration of women of all ages and figures, and it focuses on high-quality retro, vintage inspired, pinup Old Hollywood, with a touch of rockabilly fashion, accessories, heels and lingerie. We host pinup photography, burlesque workshops, girls' nights, private shopping and stagettes as well. It is founded on the fact the charm and excellence in the treatment of all people always was and always will be in style.
Q: What inspired you to be an entrepreneur, and to enter this industry?
A: My entrepreneurial inspiration is something I cannot say was or is one thing. I can tell you I have always had a natural intuition and drive and passion to be an entreprenuer. I love seeing to it that people feel good about themselves. I love evolving and growing something that can then benefit the community outside my business. My greatest inspiration is to one day see the Foxy Shoppe fund its own charity that then helps end violence against women and heals the women and children affected by it. I am a survivor and I am grateful for this opportunity. The Foxy Shoppe is a miracle – if you could know the whole truth of how it came to be, and what the journey to its fruition was, you would believe in miracles too :)
Q: How many employees do you have, and what is your role in the business?
A: I employ a casual employee at this time – it is her first job. I believe in helping others start out, begin and grow. I am doing the same after all. My role in my business is "everything." I wash the floors, vacuum, clean the washrooms, choose and order beautiful garments. I am on the floor of the boutique and I enjoy spending time helping the women who support my shop. I help them choose, I watch them twirl in their dresses. I am witness to women's minds being changed about what they thought they could never try to wear. I engage them on a real level, I believe in body positivity, and that each and every woman is a gift and delight to the world. It is my pleasure to get to assist them. I shovel snow off the sidewalk in front of the shop, I do paper work, I answer social media questions, tweet, Instagram, answer the phone, steam clothing, unpack boxes. I work hard and I put in long hours. I arrange fashion shows, I listen to and ask questions of my customers. I am a small business ... what don't I do is more like it (hahahaha).
Q: Who are your typical customers, and how do they find you?
A: I have to tell you something I have shared with a few people over the year-and-a-half or so that the Foxy Shoppe has been open for business. I do not believe we have a "typical" customer, I have tried to identify this. The Foxy Shoppe has a special feeling as soon as you walk through its pink door. The experience is what is important to us, the excellence in customer appreciation and service is what happens here. Our customers are not typical, they are special. They are people that love a vintage-inspired aesthetic, who love pinup, love rockabilly and psychobilly. They are people that choose for themselves what makes them feel good, they choose to support a single-mother-owned business, they are women of such a diverse age range, they are men that love women, they are all genders, they are all beautiful nationalities, and one thing that is typical of all of them is that they have that bit of foxy in them.
Q: You've been identified by one of our readers as a standout business. What do you consider the key element of your success?
A: I would first like to thank whomever it was that identified the Foxy Shoppe as a standout business. I believe the Foxy Shoppe is on its journey to success, that success is built one happy customer at a time, and that we can give back to the world community not just chase our own personal success. We are real, we are sincere. We believe in doing our best to make you smile and help you find what makes you look and feel as fantastic as you look. If we make a mistake we want to learn from it, correct it and do the best we can to grow in our level of service and what our store has to offer. The Foxy Shoppe has big goals, and we would be honoured to have our customers help us and support us to help achieve them. They are why we are here. Each and every one of them. I look forward to seeing what success looks like, but I think that too is an evolution. As we grow, what we do with what we have will allow us to pursue success on different levels.
Do you have a favourite small business you'd like to learn more about? Make suggestions and join the conversation on the Globe's Small Business LinkedIn group, use the comments field, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow the series on our Pinterest page.