Small Business Short Stories
This week, we are featuring Sarah’s story, who launched a unique business making hats with the help of retirees! Discover more about her successes and challenges in this Small Business Short Story.
Tell us who you are and what you do
Gibou is a company that offers knitted products that are exclusively made by retirees. All items are made in Canada with 100% recycled fur. So our company evolves in the clothing industry by investing mostly in online sales, but also by collaborating with stores with like-minded values.
Why did you start your business? Tell us about how your idea came to life!
Simply as a consumer, I was always looking for headwear that would cater to two needs: warmth and beauty - and I couldn’t find any in stores! As I was passionned by knitting and manual labor, I took my needles out and knitted my first wool tuque. I then added a fur pompom that I took from an old coat of mine.
This hat was such a hit that the following fall, Gibou was founded with this item as its star product. From overwhelming demand, I had the idea to involve retirees - it came quite naturally to be honest.
Tell us something unique about your business
The involvement of retirees in the production of the items. Each of my partners can knit at their own rhythm in the comfort of their home. I really want this to stay a relaxing activity for them - no pressure at all! The whole thing started within the first year of launching the company, because I soon got overwhelmed by demands. At first, it was only me, my mom and my aunt, but overtime, the knitting circle grew!
To what do you attribute your success?
I attribute my success to different factors: of course, the increase in revenue and profit, but also the company’s notoriety (visibility, new clients, recognition, etc). We also improved on management as a whole and acquired a higher expertise in our decision making.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Every business, as well as every market, is unique - so don’t follow everyone’s advice and trust your guts and your judgement!
Photo credits : Guillaume St-Amand