A Quick Chat with Julie Skirving of Logan & Finley
Continuing with our #cfchats series, we spoke with Julie Skirving of Toronto urban general store, Logan & Finley. Logan and Finley carries ethical and sustainable brands in fashion and accessories, body care, and home products. We chat about the inspiration behind her boutique, shopping local, and good business advice.
1/ Tell us about yourself.
I love being outdoors, traveling to new places, cooking, eating, reading and learning new things. I love working in my store and enjoy the opportunity to tell new people about it. Thank you for this opportunity.
2/ What is something surprising about you?
I am quite introverted. I think I would likely be considered an ambivert - but definitely need my downtime to refuel. I think I have created an environment in my business where people can enjoy a break from the busy city, but with the crazy schedule that comes with building a new business, I can get a little overwhelmed.
3/ What inspired you to create and launch your Toronto boutique, Logan & Finley?
Professionally, I have referred to myself as a "brand champion" and I really enjoy connecting brands directly with the end consumer. I also wanted to create a warm and welcoming environment where people could learn new things and have a sense of community.
4/ Sustainability is at the heart of your shop. What is important for people to know and understand about shopping sustainably?
I think that people should do what works for them. I believe in trying to make an impact everyday in small manageable steps. I think that people can find sustainability intimidating and sometimes might feel that it's unattainable.....so I like to help people take steps as they are ready. To me, some of the products we use everyday can have the biggest impact and if there are products that you enjoy using and find effective, you will actually use them.
5/ Are there any misconceptions or myths about shopping local and enviro-conscious brands that people have?
I think there are tremendous misconceptions and as consumers we can sometimes listen to the loudest voice....whether it is accurate or not. I don't like brands that believe eco-friendly is a trend or a marketing opportunity. I believe it's a way of life and I like to know the truth, so that I can make my own personal decisions accordingly.
6/ Any shopping tips to encourage people to source goods from their own localities?
I grew up shopping at stores where we knew the owner's name and they often served us. I think that if there are great options that are made locally and sold locally, it's good to support them, but to me this also has to be part of a longer term sustainable business model. To me it's important, to be a part of my community and to try and support my community. It's all part of the big picture, but in reality keeping some of our commerce as local as we can, seems powerful to me. I think it can feel like you are making an immediate impact and I think there are economic and environmental reasons to support this, but it's also nice to have a more personal relationship with the people who make, buy and sell things we use everyday.
7/ Small business is integral to the economy and to innovation and creativity in our neigbourhoods. What do you like most about running a small business? What is the toughest?
I like knowing that what I do, while not changing the world in any big way, does make an impact on people's lives. It makes me feel more connected to people and gives me a greater ability to be empathetic. I know that as a small business owner, that I have to have a competitive difference to make it worth someone's while to spend their money in my business and I work really hard to offer compelling product and service. The toughest is that most days I am competing against businesses that have a much larger team, budget and reach and that can be intimidating. But I try to do the best I can do with what I have and hope that my focus (and the heart & soul I bring to it) will be enough to be competitive.
8/ What is the best business advice you’ve ever received?
There are a couple of things that come to mind. My last boss said Fail Fast Forward - and while I sometimes trip a little too much over the mistakes, I try to realize that the game goes fast and I have to just keep playing. But I think the best advice was more personal, and it was that our greatest strength can sometimes come from our weaknesses and I believe that this is often true. It is difficult to be as vulnerable, but it's amazing the support that manifests itself when one is open enough to receive it and this has been very true for me in this venture.
9/ Do you have a current favourite eco product for fall?
I am so very bad at favourites.....I have a lot. For fall, this implies fashion - and so I think all the beautiful bamboo blazers and merino wool sweaters that I pair with my jeans and boots. My customers have been enjoying the "dressy sweatpant".
10/ What's your favourite beauty product or beauty tip?
I think kindness is beautiful and while I am not really a "beauty girl", my best advice is to find the person, like Ingrid has been to me, that you trust to help you work with what you have and what you will use. My beauty products have had a significant upgrade with my Clementine Fields purchases and my favourites are the 27 Kisses Nudus Lipstick, the W3LL People Foundation and Mascara. I think this goes with everything though - if you feel intimidated, ask for help from someone you trust!