Stockist Spotlight: Scout, Toronto
GETTING TO KNOW OUR STOCKISTS
Maker’s Magazine is always finding new places to hang. Issue 2: The Morning is patiently waiting to be picked off the shelves of small shops run by people with big dreams - individuals who have diligently carved a path of their own - dreamers with stories worth sharing. In an effort to get to know the awesome people & shops stocking Maker’s Magazine, we’ve launched a Stockist Spotlight Series on the blog.
In today’s edition of Stockist Spotlight, we introduce Scout, a gift shop in Roncesvalles Village, Toronto, that supports handmade and independent brands. Upon first walking in, it’s homey and welcoming. There’s large racks of greeting cards to skim, pillows and home décor to peruse, jewellery to gaze at, agendas and books to flip through, natural wellness products to sniff… and that one dreamy brick wall amidst it all to admire.
Scout owner, Leah Eyles, has done a brilliant job of curating and showcasing a unique collection of handmade goods. In a brief chat, Leah tells us the story of Scout, and how she combated the inevitable self-doubt of taking a big leap to chase down her dream.
What’s the story behind Scout? How did the shop come to be?
I always loved going to craft shows, including the one of a kind show and other indie craft markets, and found a lot of the artisans weren't being represented in shops. It was on my mind for a couple of years, but it was after I took some time away and did some travel that I realized I wanted to do something new when I returned. I was really drawn to Roncesvalles and its sense of community and small town feel. I noticed there was nothing like Scout on the strip and that helped motivate me to move forward, after much agonizing and self-doubt!
I think self-doubt is discouraging for a lot of young creatives looking to take the leap into self-employment. What doubts were you experiencing, and how did you overcome them?
I've never been one to fly by the seat of my pants, I'm a very practical thinker, that is why it took me so long for my idea to turn into an actual business. That being said, there's no such thing as too much thought when you're starting a business. There is a point when you have to just go for it though. I had so many fears; fears of failure, of going broke, of people not responding to my vision, the list went on. Opening a small business is such a personal thing and it's scary being so vulnerable. Overcoming some of the doubts and fears meant doing as much research as possible to make sure I was making an informed decision. When I started to feel more confidence in my idea, I really had to just shut off the negative voice in my head telling me I was going to fail, and move forward.
Looking back at your journey from retail to shop owner, what advice, tips or tricks can you offer to individuals that might be interested in opening up a shop?
I'm so grateful for the experience I gained working for another small business. If you are considering opening up a shop and have never worked in that environment that would be a first step. There are so many facets to owning a business and the learning curve will be that much greater if everything is new, plus what if you realize it's not what you imagined? Other than that, a business plan is key (especially if you need a loan) in seeing the bigger picture. It helps organize the chaos in your mind and forces you to visualize the end goal. It can be daunting, especially if your strengths are more on the creative side, but there are so many workshops and small business forums out there to help you get started. Talk to other business owners, ask lots of questions, and most importantly believe in your idea!
In light of Scout carrying Issue 2: The Morning, let’s chat the morning! Are you an early bird or night owl?
It's funny I had always thought of myself as a night owl until my thirties. I used to go to bed late and wake up late and I always thought I was just programmed that way. Owning a business and marrying a 9-5er has totally changed my routine, and I'm happy about it, I accomplish so much in the morning now!
What is your favourite morning routine?
Working retail does mean my day doesn't "officially" start until the shop opens at 11 but I so value those hours in the morning where I can ease into my day. Some days start with yoga, some days I go into the shop early and some days start with an extra long bed lay while I decide if I need to be using my morning time more wisely that day, but every morning starts off slow and I love that. A cup of tea while I respond to emails and think about what is on my to do list is such a nice way to to start off a thoughtful day.
Shop the goods, meet the peeps:
SCOUT | 405 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON