At Lendified, we’re all about supporting Canadian small businesses from coast to coast to coast. We understand it’s difficult to acquire a short-term small business loan and that’s why we’re here.
A Toronto-based start-up Bibelot & Token
sources gorgeous, stylish and well-made alternatives to the items used & loved every single day of our lives. We recently reached out to Bibelot & Token founder and Lendified customer, Bianca
, to hear her successes, challenges and advice to small business owners, as well as how a Lendified small business loan is helping her business reach new heights.
Lendified: As a recent startup, what are some of your biggest day-to-day challenges?Bianca: Being a small business owner is a lot like being a trapeze artist. There are swings of highs, lows, and then lots of uncertain swaying about. Starting from scratch, and without much experience, other than anecdotal, this has all been an exercise close to a ‘baptism by fire’ – in the end, the biggest challenges are keeping your finances in check, getting yourself out there, getting some recognition and maintaining good relationships with your already loyal customers.
Being a small business owner is a lot like being a trapeze artist. There are swings of highs, lows, and then lots of uncertain swaying about.
Lendified: Tell us about how Bibelot & Token got started. If you could go back in time, what is something you wish you had known back then?
Bianca: The seed of the idea was planted in Spring 2014, but Bibelot & Token only really got started in earnest, in Autumn of that year. I knew I wanted to keep things relatively small, and my product range concise, and though I’ve adored every piece and every brand that’s been in the shop, there were some decisions made that, had I knew the outcome of, well… I try never to make the same mistake twice!
Relying on your instincts is a powerful tool, but there are moments when you can get too much inside your own head and you must listen to the advice that those around you are trying to give. There’s no use in digging your heels in and it’s best not to be overly sensitive – when you’re talking about personal taste and aesthetics, it can seem personal – but, it’s not. You have to remember the business aspect of it all.
Lendified: What resources or supports have been instrumental in your success?
Bianca: My husband, my daughter, my mum, my close friends. They’ve been a fantastic support system – a great, little cheerleading section.
And then virtually, there are so many resources out there that can help, you’ve just got to be paying attention. There are loads of sites aimed at small business owners, blogs, apps, etc., that are truly insightful, and better yet, free of charge or with low monthly fees. There are scads of online applications that make having non-existent marketing/design budgets, easier to digest. From Wave, to Canva, and MailChimp; to royalty-free photo sites etc., you realize there are lots of things you can do that you didn’t think you could do before running your own business until you sat down and gave it a shot. Owning a business is a learning experience – and more often than not, you end up learning more about yourself than anything else.
Owning a business is a learning experience – and more often than not, you end up learning more about yourself than anything else.
Lendified: What advice would you offer other small business owners and entrepreneurs?
Bianca: Just go for it! Give it a shot. Understand that there are risks involved… that money, time, (and patience!) may be lost. Figure out how much you’d be comfortable spending, and possibly never see come back to you and how much time you’re willing to give on making your dream a reality. It may sound trite, but as these things usually go, there’s truth to be found in there.
Lendified: Looking at the bigger picture, where do you see your business in 5 years?
Bianca: In five years? As much as I love working from home, I’d rather not still be at my kitchen counter in five years. It would be great to have a small warehouse space to work out of, and keep my inventory in one place. Working out of your home is fantastic in a lot of ways, and in some… well, let’s just say it can get crowded in here. Should things go gangbusters, perhaps I’d go so far as to say a “bricks and mortar” retail space could be on the list too? That’d be a fun, little dream. Oh, and turning a healthy profit wouldn’t be bad either!
Lendified: How has Lendified supported your small business? Can you share with us how you utilized your small business loan?
Bianca: If you’re not looking for VC-type funding, if your small business is just that, small – going through the traditional hoops of seeking a small business loan from a bank, is almost certainly a painful, drawn-out, and an occasionally humiliating experience; and invariably, the answer you’re hoping for, is not typically the one you get. It’s hard out there when you’re small and you’ve got a dream that might cost a bit more than you’ve got in your savings account. Lendified treats you with dignity, the process is so obliging and simple, that you’re made to feel like you’re one step closer to meeting your goal, as opposed to feeling like you should bin the whole idea. Troy and Kevin allow you to feel like you could win, and not resigned in defeat before you even began.