For The Retail Duo WOMEN'S DAY was a time to reflect on how far we have come, and to celebrate the success of some powerful women around us. "Success" comes in many forms and being part of a community that fosters support and encouragement translates in a big way these days.
For us, it is not so much about men VS women, identifying gender, and then comparing, but more about continuing to grow and be well represented, as well as highlighting achievements of other ladies around us. Here we also share our story as we were able to participate in an amazing program created to support women and we documented our adventure up North.
THE HARD FACTS
Canadian Women's Foundation reports that statistics show that still "Women make up just over half of the Canadian population yet continue to be underrepresented in political and professional leadership positions." Canada is falling behind other countries when it comes to putting women on corporate boards, according to a report by TD Economics. While participation in the labour force has increased significantly for women, that change has yet to be reflected at the top of Canada's largest companies, according to the report." (CBC article: "Canada falling behind on women on corporate boards")
THE NORTHERN ADVENTURE
The Retail Duo was approached by an independent, female business owner NATHALIE POULIN, located in Hearst, Ontario. Nathalie is the real deal and a one woman show. Supported by Northern Ontario Women (NOW) she was able to access resources that will help catapult her shop to an even higher level. This Duo truly are fans of the NOW manifesto: "With only 16% of Canadian businesses being owned/led by women, the Government of Canada recognizes that advancing women’s economic participation in the economy is good for the country’s bottom line and has set the goal of doubling the number of women-owned/women-led businesses by 2025."
Naturally, we were ALL IN and we jumped at the chance to lend a hand and bring our expertise, and Sorell wearing selves, to the beautiful North for this partnership. NOW offers resources, services, and guidance, along with opportunities for financial support to women owned businesses. Visit their website for the full scope of what they do: https://www.lambac.org/now/
This project meant being uber organized. With Diane at the helm sourcing and cross- checking materials it was imperative to have all of the items we required to be in the store location. The detailed merchandise plan and proposed layout was also formulated and naturally there was a bit of "winging it" (as visual merchandisers tend to do as the world's best problem solvers) on site.
THE IN BETWEEN
A full-scale project such as this one means that it gets worse before it gets better. It was a bit chaotic staging and moving merchandise and the most difficult part of this is to remain positive, and try to see the end result.
THE END RESULT
We were able to walk away with a small "to do" list left for Nathalie and we could rest knowing the plan was executed. For many reasons this was successful; a detailed plan, organized timelines and process, quick and speedy work days and a client who was hands on. Not all projects of this magnitude can happen in this short of a time line but at times this is possible. (A big thank you to Jacques, Nathalie's husband who was the man behind the fixtures and some of our carpentry needs)
Always check in with your local government for special grants, resources and opportunities. Many provinces have Small Businesses Centres that offer a plethora of information to start ups, small existing businesses, entrepreneurs, and students. And no matter who you are, it never hurts to cheer on that local business owner, and as women it shouldn't take a special day on the calendar to lift each other up!
Our mascot for the weekend, and icon of the shop.
Visit NAJA Trading Post Plus on instagram: @naja_tradingpost or in person if you find yourself in Hearst, ON.