Last year I wrote a post called I heart Canadian-made clothing in which I talked about my favourite boutiques in Toronto. Well, Logan & Finley has become one of my go-to shops whenever I’m in the Queen West area. I always wanted to pick the brain of an entrepreneur, so I asked Julie Skirving, founder & owner of Logan & Finley if I could interview her. She was kind enough to say yes so here follows my spotlight on Logan & Finley. I hope you enjoy it!
Why I Logan & Finley:
Great customer service is always important wherever you shop. Julie & her employees are super friendly. I always feel so comfortable when I walk in the store. They carry eco-friendly body care brands, clothing for men & women. The décor is so lovely: light, airy & outdoorsy. Logan & Finley isn’t in my neighbourhood at all. I live in North York. But I still like to come & visit the Queen West area. Every time I go there I always make a point to stop by Logan & Finley to see what’s new in the store & to chat with Julie. I never feel pressured to buy anything. But I always end up walking out with something because the items they carry at the store are just so amazing.
I started my career working in a retail store, then became a buyer and a store manager. I worked for many years as an independent, multi-line sales representative selling brands to retail shops. After that I went on to become a sales and marketing manager and brand director/general manager. Most recently I have been working as a consultant in sales and marketing.
I think I have always been a bit of an entrepreneur. I finally realized that I should take the leap and open the business I really wanted to open. I started working when I was 11 and even as a young person, pushed forward new ideas in the places where I worked that proved to be successful. I have been self-employed for more of my career than I have been employed, but always have worked for smaller brands where the entrepreneurial approach worked well.
We seem to attract people who like the comfortable style and like the idea of buying good quality products. We do get people who like some of the brands we carry and like the eco or local products. I think we keep customers because they feel that we select the right products and look after them well.
I think the image I imagined is similar to the one we project. I want the store to be a place where people feel comfortable, warmly welcomed and would like to return. Also, I would like it to be known for its personal service, good quality, as well as useful and versatile products.
I always planned for this to be a permanent shop, but was having a hard time getting landlords to consider me as a tenant, so I decided to stage the business and get it going in a pop-up. Doing this allowed me to start having some sales, establish relationships with vendors and customers and prove my concept. It was a lot of work to move two times in the past year, but I feel like each move got me closer to here. This is where I think Logan & Finley fits: in a great neighbourhood like Queen Street West.
The advantages are that we get some built in traffic from people in the neighbourhood and have a much greater visibility. We can be open every day and daily sales really help to drive a business forward. The only disadvantage is that my consulting business had to take a back seat to the retail store, and it’s harder to do this work with the regular store hours. But I am getting back to this now, which I enjoy and need to do to support myself while I grow this new business.
I can confirm that it does show to your customers, Julie. Me being one of them. Most people love a discount. I love your idea of giving people discounts based on the board game they play when they come to your store. How did you come up with that idea?
I love board games and thought it suited the general store concept. I also want the store to be a memorable place. The kind of place where you can relax and have a little fun, and I think this achieved this.
I hope that we will become a fixture in the Queen Street West neighbourhood, and are here for many years to come. And yes, definitely hope to have on-line sales up by the fall of this year. One step at a time.
Special thanks go to Julie Skirving, owner of Logan & Finley for the interview. So peeps if you’re ever in the Queen West neighbourhood I recommend you check out her awesome store! You won’t regret it!