Name: Desi Pecoskie
Company: Desi’s Boutique
Title: Boutique Owner
Location: 740 Richmond St, Upper Level Nova Vita Salon
Education: Fashion and Merchandising Diploma, Fanshawe College
I had the privilege to spend the day with a Desi Pecoskie, a fellow young female entrepreneur, and owner of the trendy lifestyle and active wear store known as Desi’s Boutique, in London, Ont. It was a very insightful experience and humbling experience. I find that every time I do a profile that person gives me magically exactly what I needed in life and for my business. It’s as if the universe is providing these opportunities for me to help guide me in each step along by my personal path. Desi was a refreshing burst of reality, support, mentor-ship and just an awesome girl to talk with about life and business. It was inspiring to hear an entrepreneur be so honest and real about how hard owning your own business is, and what kind of hard work really goes into a business that no sees, or speaks about. It was liberating for me to speak with someone so openly about the reality of the time and effort it will take to make your business profitable and successful. Most importantly she taught me the importance of patience, and really taking my time, and educating myself in each step I take in advancing my business. I really enjoyed our talks about finding fellow entrepreneur girlfriends who are supportive and loyal. I currently don’t have this in my life, and have had some negative experiences with other businesses stealing my creative ideas, or not respecting and supporting me as a young entrepreneur, which has been extremely difficult and upsetting. Desi introduced me to some of her friends and really showed me the difference, and importance of having these kind of supports in your life. It was an incredibly eye opening experience and made me belief that I could trust and find incredible friendships like hers! I know Desi and I will be great friends who will always support one another!
Enjoy the profile !
What has been the greatest influence in your life in becoming an entrepreneur?
My parents, they’re entrepreneurs, and even in their 60’s their starting their second company. Since childhood I helped my parents with their business, whether that was being on the road going to trade-shows, or selling fire starters and camping gear at 16 years old when my parents needed a restroom break.
I like to sell, I like the hustle and challenges of entrepreneurship. As a teenager I worked for my parents in their business and really got to see what it takes to start a business, the planning that is need to become profitable, the long hours and hard work that goes into maintaining a company. I really understood the inner workings and challenges of a business and I knew that I wanted to follow the path of my parents and become one myself!
How has your family’s entrepreneurial Spirit benefited you?
I have a very practical and realistic view of business and success. There are a lot of businesses claiming to have instant success on their social media sites, but that’s not the reality of it. Starting a business isn’t glamorous, and it’s not easy! I worked hard for everything that my company has accomplished, and I thank my parents for instilling their strong work ethic and practical business views on me. They really taught me that you need to not get ahead of yourself in business, you have to test your market place, and once we feel that you have mastered that one product or service then you can work on new ideas and possible expansions- They taught me the importance of patience when it comes to business. I love what I do, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, I get to interact with great people, buy unique items, and enjoy the happy faces on customers!
what business views do you believe are the most important to be successful?
Having patience, being realistic about your business goals, and being real with yourself and others.
You have to have patience to make it in business. Success isn’t instant and it takes a lot of hard long work. Nothing happens overnight and if It did wouldn’t everyone be doing it? Although I am always learning more each season/ year!It’s a process and you need to go through each step in that process thoroughly before you advance to the next. If you don’t take the proper time to develop your business you won’t have a solid foundation and it will fail.
Realistic goals and ideas is another important view I hold. You need to be real with yourself and your aspirations. I wanted to create a clothing line and have a retail store but I realized that it’s not that simple, it takes a lot of money, there are a ton of clothing lines popping up at the moment, and what would realistically happen if it failed? It’s a great idea and dream I have and maybe one day it will come to fruition, but realistically I’m not in a position right now in my life to do such a thing.
You always have to think about how you’re going to paying the bills, how your going to eat, how are you going to live? Your health and life comes first! If your like me you’ll pick up multiple jobs serving at restaurants so you can have the finances to allow yourself to achieve your dreams. If not, what are you actually doing with your life? Or, do you really even care enough about that dream to sacrifice in order to make it happen?
Why did you take the risk to open a retail store knowing there is a lot of competition?
I went into the Fanshawe College Fashion and Merchandising Diploma program with my end goal in mind- I wanted to open a retail store ! During the program I had the opportunity to internship in Toronto, ON. with some incredible designers and industry leaders. I knew then and there that I LOVED IT! And I could do this, I could open a store because I knew I had the passion, family support and work ethic to handle this scary new life endeavor.
How do you deal with the cattiness and competition of other retailers?
I don’t deal with it! I found a great group of entrepreneur girlfriends, and we have developed this incredible friendship based on support, guidance, acceptance, and community.
We’re not in competition with each other and we don’t hide what retailers were bringing into our stores. In fact it’s the opposite! We test out products in our stores for each other, and if we like them we tell each other and give references to our reps to allow them to sell them in their stores. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship based on empowerment. It’s how community and business should work.
We all love each other and we want to see our friends becomes successful so why wouldn’t we help each other out? It seems unnatural to behavior in the other manner.
How did you open your first store?
Well I started really small and opened my first store at 505 Bathurst St. London, ON. Location I was at was a lower risk investment, and I could test out my retail idea there. We were a drive to destination, so mostly I went on appointment only basis, it was the perfect setup and do more pop-up shops, and private parties.
Did you start your business selling active wear?
No, we launched a bedding line, and offered programs for fundraising with bed-sheets. It was a unique fundraiser for sports, or schools, charities, something different than bake sales and great for the whole family. The parents and kids could pick out their sheets together, the product is great quality, and at a great price point. It helped build my community relationships by working with all these different groups in London, Ont.
We still run the fundraiser every month with our bed-sheets and sell them in-store as well.
Why did you choose active wear to mostly sell in the boutique?
Who doesn’t like looking good and feeling good at the same time. The perfect combination, as there are so many great apparel lines out there to make you literally look great without having you look like you just came out of a workout. I am real person, and I like comfy clothes! Clothes that I can wear to the gym, but also look great going out in when I need to run errands, or meet people- It’s practical.
You have to think about what your passions in life are, what motivates you, and who you are as person when thinking about starting a business. I did a lot of self-reflection and realized I’m an off the grid kind of girl who likes camping, who likes working out, who would rather be comfortable and ready for anything my day or life has to throw at me- so active wear it is! Also, I didn’t want to be lulu lemon and that was a lot of what was being offered in the marketing. I have no problems with them but I wanted more variety and versatility in my life and store. I thought wouldn’t it be great if someone could come to the store and can get a little bit of everything, and not look the same as everyone else?
I also wanted to provide flexibility in the cost of merchandise because not everyone can afford lulu lemons. That’s why we offer a variety of brands ranging in prices for active and day wear. You can even pick-up your bed-sheets, some accessories, babies’ apparel, and men’s clothing when you drop by.
Something else that is important is that I hand pick every piece of merchandise brought into the store, and I only bring in a few items at a time providing quality assurance. All our garments are breathable and have an spf of 50. They are all Canadian designers, or local entrepreneurs. I have a lot of Montreal Designers instore because I love how ahead of the design curve they are!
What has changed in the last year to help with the growth of your business?
There has been this incredible movement to shop and buy local again. It has been slowly happening over the past couple years, but I would say it’s really starting to peak now. It’s like the London I knew when I was growing up and it’s inspiring and amazing to see it happen again. The community is really starting to support young entrepreneurs with small businesses instead of buying at big brand stores. People are also looking for more natural and individualized products, products that have thought behind them and a purpose. They want to support local brands, and entrepreneurs, and we want to as well, so in our stores is mostly local designers, or Canadian made products, and we spice it up with some international items we’ve found along our travels. . I think people like seeing the store owners and getting to individualized customer shopping experience that boutiques provide, it’s a relationship like a friendship that we build with our customers. Were excited to see our customers and we always keep their needs in mind when ordering and purchasing. We also care about their opinions and look up items and designers they have suggested to us. We also keep our customers very informed when we have what they have been looking for in-store. We have a special bond that makes me excited to get up and go to work every morning.
We have launched our monthly DIY nights at Desi’s, where we have a night of learning about essential oils and how you can make your own items at home such as all purpose sprays, to sugar scrubs, lip balms, vapo rub… each month we make something different and you can take yours home with you and the recipe. Its fun and interactive and shopping after hours too!
We also keep our customers very informed with our monthly Newsletter, (you can sign up on our website: www.shopdesis.ca ) when we have what they have been looking for in-store. We have a special bond that makes me excited to get up and go to work every morning.
Do you find that your worldly travelling adventures have benefited your business?
YES!!! My horizons and worldview have been broadened and it has given me the incredible gift of experiencing many different cultures, people, religions, ways of living and lifestyle choices. I feel fulfilled and not stuck in London, ON. Which is something that I know many people experience growing up in this city. I have the capacity to see outside of London and to know what my clients needs are because many of them do come to the store to purchase clothing for travel. It’s also connects me to many of clients who have traveled because we similar lived experiences, and were able to relieve these adventures together and connect on a new level that is very special to me.
It also helps when it comes to my boutique because I look for uniqueness in the pieces that I carry, I look for items that are special, items that maybe are influenced by a culture that I have experience I have the first hand knowledge and can use that to my advantage when purchasing items .
What is success to you?
Success is subject, it’s based on an individual’s perception of success. Success to me is living a healthy balanced life. Work isn’t everything and it can quickly become that. That’s why I have set hours and when the stores closed it’s closed. I make sure to always take time for myself by working out- I swear that is what really keeps me calm and motivated, and going away on vacations.
Getting out of the hub of the London, ON. Is important to me, you need to travel to take your mind out of the business and just check out to recharge yourself, to find your inner creativity and channel it. That’s why I spend a lot of time at my family’s cottage, or in my backyard sitting in Adirondack’s chairs around a fire pit we have. It’s soothing to me. I also like to go camping a lot and really just get off the rid and reconnect with nature. It’s important to unwind and unplug.
Thank you Desi for the opportunity of getting to know you, and for the incredible photo-shoot we got to do together!
KAYLA LOGAN PR
Photography: Kayla Logan
Styling: Desi’s Boutique
Makeup: Purdy Natural
Hair: Caroline Sophie