fiddle leaf photography
Jun 1, 2018
As I’ve grown my business I’ve come to know so many dynamo women business owners in Edmonton who are the most beautiful mix of grit and grace. Do they have it all figured out? NO. Do any of us? They are working their way through, one day at a time, trying to make life what they want it to be. And on top of it all, they are raising their own kids, who are watching them forge a path that isn’t always easy but is full of reward. I’m fascinated by these women and want to learn more, which is why I asked if they’d sit down and chat with me. This is the fifth entry in the Grit + Grace series. You can catch past Grit + Grace entries here.
I met Lindsay Mills of Ruby Thursday Collective about 4 years ago when we set ourselves up on a blind friend-date of sorts. We’d been in the same circles and knew a lot of the same people, and knew of each other, but hadn’t actually met in person. So, we changed that and met for a play date with our kids – because sometimes you just know you have to meet someone. Over the last few years, Lindsay and I have stayed in touch and I always look forward to our chats about kids, home renos, life, and business. I’ve watched Lindsay go from super stylish blogger to badass businesswoman, who is continually churning out unique home decor and kids products. Lindsay is always impeccably put together and makes me want to attempt to be more stylish than I am, but even more than that, she has a crazy huge heart and is always willing to help out a friend.
I sat down with Lindsay in her Sherwood Park home and we chatted about growing a product based business, being a maker, and doing it all while raising strong, independent girls.
How long have you been in business?
2 years, but my blog started a few years before that.
How did you come to be?
I was looking for a creative outlet after I had Ruby, my oldest daughter, because I was crazy bored, and so I started blogging. Ruby was born on a Thursday so I actually wanted to call it Ruby Thursday, but when I went to create that domain on Blogger, my computer froze and it wouldn’t let me take that name! So, I added Creative to the end and became the Ruby Thursday Collective.
In the end, it was actually for the best as I have an energetic personality and I change my mind often and I like change, so adding different things to my shop ended up being part of my ‘thing’ and so it’s good that it ended up as a collective.
In the beginning, the blog was just a creative outlet and was a collection of my photography and DIYs. I was doing my kids’ rooms and couldn’t find the things I wanted and so I made what I wanted and then figured that maybe I could sell the things. I started with character face wall hooks on Etsy, but soon realized that Etsy and I just weren’t friends and I wanted creative control. So, I spent almost a year building my own website where I could sell my goods and it launched Dec 1 two years ago.
What is your favourite part of running your own company?
I’ve actually run several companies before Ruby Thursday and I just know that I work better on my own and like being the one making the calls.
What is the hardest part of momming and running your own company?
The guilt and the balance. The guilt of trying to get stuff done before 9pm and the balance of trying to be a successful business person while being a mother.
Where do you hope your business will be in 5 years?
I hope that I’m in many different stores – a lot in Edmonton but also throughout Canada. Although I’ve done markets, I’d like to move away from markets and move into more wholesale. The trick though is finding the right balance where the price is right so that it sells in stores on consignment, but also so that I can still make money.
Is there anything about being in business that you never expected?
I really hate when people are unhappy. I find it really hard when people complain and they don’t realize that you’re on your own working for yourself. I realize now that I can’t please everyone, but that took a while to realize. There is so much behind the scenes of a business and it’s especially hard when a product has been sold at a retail store on consignment and a lot of it is out of my hands. Although I want to make the customer happy, it’s sometimes out of my control as it’s not my store. The customer service with the selling is also out of my control when things are on consignment and that’s sometimes a challenge, which I’d never thought about before I started down this road.
What is the best business advice you’ve ever been given?
Get really good at 3 things. My friend Jacqueline Jacek gave that to me. She said do 3 things really well in a shop and then move on. So, for me, I perfected the wall hooks and spent months researching the best ways for it to be sturdy and the best size for it and then I knew I had a really good base and good make different versions of the hooks.
What’s the best Mom advice you’ve ever been given?
Take care of yourself first. There’s more to you than just your kids and if you don’t have something else that fuels you, it’s hard to be a good mother.
You are a new addition to the Crayon box. What colour would you be and why?
Spicy Cinnamon. (knowing Lindsay, this answer is so her!) It’s a reddish rust colour, which is sort of weird. It’s got some spice but also doesn’t take any shit.
What’s your favourite kid product that you could never live without?
Crayola markers. If my kids didn’t have those I’d have miserable children. They’re extremely creative and when they get in the door it’s all the want to do – colour and create for hours on end. Anything Crayola really, but markers are their favourite by far.
What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?
Zumba moves! That is legitimately what is going through my head! I am often wiggling in my seat.
High heels or flats?
On a regular everyday, flats.
Leggings or jeans?
Americano with room for cream
Favourite app on your phone?
Instagram because it’s the one I’m on the most. I also love Snapseed.
Do you have a recent book you’ve read you would recommend?
Love Warrior. It changed my life and I can’t recommend it enough.
Do you think it’s easier or harder to be a mom now than it was when you were growing up?
It’s so much harder. This generation requires you to be a mom who works but who has the time of a mom who doesn’t. We’re living in an era where we are constantly chasing to be the best mother, to be the best business person, to be the best coworker and the best wife and it’s exhausting. It’s above and beyond pressure.
When I was little, my Mom worked as a nurse and she always worked nights. She’d come home at 7:30am and my Dad would leave for work, and then she’d sleep all day while we were at school and she’d get up and do it all again. She was a mom and she worked and that was enough – she wasn’t worried about the perfect lunches and the perfect clothes and the perfect car and house, etc, etc. There was no comparison because of the internet. I think at the end of the day, the bottom line is that that internet is the reason that it’s so much harder. Because without even trying to find it out, someone has told you what’s wrong and right. Nobody knows who has even set these standards, but we are trying to live up to them.
Do you feel like you have this Mom thing figured out?
Hells No! Never will. That’s a total illusion