Retail Friends - Persnickety Kids

Tell us a little bit about you, your shop and your family.
Persnickety is made up of Ed (CFO), Johanna (CEO) and Carolyn (COS – Chief of Spending!) There’s also our product testing/quality control department, which includes Abigail (12), Danielle (9) and Sabrina (5). The store itself had started out as more of a baby/toddler boutique but has been slowly evolving into a unique and eclectic clothing store for infants, youth and teens. We’re nestled in the heart of Ganges on Salt Spring Island right on the waterfront.
Carolyn was the first to move to SSI and took over the daily operations of the store. She does most of the buying with lots of input from Johanna and Abigail. (Although the rest of the family does help out as well!) Once the rest of the family was settled Johanna started to work more in the store, as well as handling all the finances. Ed is our master carpenter and bill-payer! All of our storage units, shelving, counters and desk were designed and created by Ed and he also handles a lot of the behind the scenes jobs on a daily basis. Together we are a true team working to build a respectable family business that benefits our community
Tell us a bit about your journey to becoming an independent business owner?
We all come from very different backgrounds. Johanna has been an office manager for several years, Ed worked for Edmonton Transit as a heavy-duty mechanic and Carolyn was a school bus driver as well as owning a small gift basket business. Over the years, there have been many different trips out to the west coast for vacations and to scope out potential “retirement” locations! Living on the coast was just one of many dreams, as was owning a small family-operated store! (Although the store was supposed to be more of a corner grocery type with a small coffee shop attached!) The journey from living in Edmonton to living on SSI and owning a store was not always easy, but has been worth every step!

What makes your shop stand out from all the others?
We hear so many different comments from our customers about what makes us different than other “boutiques,” but I think the one that pops up the most is our use of space! We don’t have a lot… just under 600 square feet total… but of that only 490-500 is usable for our merchandise. With Johanna’s organizational skills, Carolyn’s creativity and Ed’s carpentry expertise every available square inch is in use. (Well, except the ceiling… but Ed’s working on that!) With such a vast selection it’s easy to find something for everyone! (Sometimes including Mom and Dad!)
What are some of your favorite children’s products?
Peekaboo Beans of course! Our older 2 girls are looking SO forward to the new Cici Bean line this fall and our youngest is our Bean tester. We also LOVE Geox shoes and the Cali Kids Hats. For baby items it would be our made in Canada Mally Bibs, and really the list just goes on and on!
How do you balance Motherhood, work and play?
It isn’t always easy to balance these important things, but having 3 adults in the house really helps a lot! Sometimes, work and play can be combined especially when new stock arrives. Sabrina LOVES to help put the price tags on (and often catches Carolyn’s sizing mistakes!) Abigail and Danielle are great at modeling for all our web store photos and actually end up earning all their new clothes! Sunday’s tend to be our “family time” where we’ll spend the day working on things around the house, or having a backyard fire and just enjoying the day! The more involved the girls get with the store the more the lines between all 3 areas blend together!
Are there any websites or other small business that you admire?
To own/operate a small business, especially retail, in these times takes an incredible amount of dedication and passion. It’s not easy to hear “oh, we can get this cheaper online or from ” and so many give up. We try to bring in as much local or Canadian products as we can, but it isn’t easy. Some of the businesses we have been dealing with are flourishing… and it’s so amazing to watch them as they grow. One of Carolyn’s favorite’s is Cosy Baby Happy Mommy. What started out as a hunt to find a decent baby carrier (that didn’t involve buckles and snaps) has turned into one of Canada’s leading manufacturers! Through CBHM Carolyn has also been able to expand her knowledge of the baby wearing industry including learning about proper positioning, safety standards and joining the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance. (A group dedicated to setting safety standards not only in carrier manufacturing but also in education for consumers.) We have also met a LOT of home-based boutiques where talented Moms create amazing designs and one of a kind clothing for all ages. Allison (from lil’Brockli Boutique out of Edmonton, Alberta) is one of Sabrina’s favorite designers!

What is the one thing you can’t live without?
Family. Simply put, our family has such a strong foundation… not just with our immediate group but all of our extended family and friends. No matter what the day brings, there is always someone there to offer support, love or a quick kick in the rear!
What activities do you like to do with your kids?
Living out on the island, there are SO many wonderful places to go! Parks, hiking trails… wandering down to the water’s edge to look for starfish! Even at home there’s lots to do from board games to playing “explorer” in the trees at our house. The girls love to play on their swing set and on rainy days are inside alternating between arts and crafts, dress up, Barbies and other play sets. We don’t watch TV, but every so often we love to have a “pj party movie night” complete with popcorn, blankets and cuddles. The girls have their after-school activities as well, but we try not to do too many as the free time to just be a kid is so important!

What does PLAY mean to you?
Play is simple. When you hear laughter, see smiles and can feel the happiness in the air, play is there. Play is enjoying what you’re doing. Working together or quiet time, finding your creativity or reading a book. The simple things that bring enjoyment are all part of Play.
If you could change one thing in your life what would it be?
We all spent so many years living our lives without really LIVING. We had our dreams, but they were safely tucked away for “later.” Moving to SSI was a HUGE step towards living out our dream instead of just keeping it tucked away. If there’s one thing we could change it would be to have jumped into life and start living our dreams MUCH sooner! We all had very respectable lives before… and we are still proud of what we accomplished. But there’s just so much magic in following your heart!
What are your goals for the future? Personal and business.
Business goals: To continue building our store into something we can pass down to the girls and to their children and so on. We want our store to be known as the “go to store” for our locals as well as our visitors.
Personal goals: To watch our children grow to be happy, well adjusted adults and to enjoy life on Salt Spring Island!

Shop at Persnickety Kids
Hours of Operation:
Monday-Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm
July 3rd-September 4th, open Sundays 11am to 5 pm
#2103 Grace Point Square
115 Fulford-Ganges Road
Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 2T9
Store: (250) 931-0091


Carolyn Walkner said...

Ooohh!! I never saw this before!! LOVE IT!

REALLY old picture though. You'd never recognize it now!!

Thanks guys! You are all the BEST!!

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