I've met so many amazing people throughout my journey with Farmer's Son Co. What started as business transactions and stockists calls have turned into friendships with some of the greatest people that you'll ever meet.
In this new series, that we're calling 'A Conversation With...' I'm going to introduce you to some of the people that have come into my life and give them a chance to tell you more about their journeys as shop owners, makers, lovers of small business and indie goods.
For this first installment, I sat down with Jill Zdunich, owner of Shop Take Care located in Winnipeg's Osborne Village.
Enjoy our conversation below!
Let's start with a little bit about you -
My name is Jill Zdunich and I’m the owner of Shop Take Care in the Osborne Village neighbourhood of Winnipeg. The shop just turned one years old, yippee!
What’s the biggest sacrifice you've made in order to start the business? How has it paid off?
The biggest sacrifice I’ve made is my sanity. For sure. Ha! And financial stability. But the lack of both mental and financial stability are all part of the process with being an Entrepreneur (or so I tell myself…)
Do you have a favorite motivational quote that keeps you grounded?
“Never say whoa in a horse race!” My dad always would say this. To me it means: don’t slow down. Keep heading forward and just keep going, no matter what. Either that or I’m supposed to be a jockey and, if that’s the case, I’ve really diverged from my calling in life.
What do you want customers to remember when they leave the shop?
I want every customer to leave the shop feeling like they’ve been treated with kindness and openness. The shop’s mandate is built on creating a safe space for humans of all gender expressions to feel welcome, be treated fairly and with respect. I want customers to feel special. Like they’re part of the family.
How do you find products to stock on your shelves?
For the most part, I look for local content first. I absolutely love supporting small business endeavours and Winnipeg is packed with amazing designers and artists. I also look for more Canadian-wide talent, and carry a few small brands from the US as well. I look for products that are made ethically and sustainably, when possible.
Before opening the shop, what were you doing and how did you make it all happen?
Ha! Oh boy. Well I was working in wealth management for National Bank Financial, to be honest. Such a far cry from being a retail shop owner. I absolutely hated my job and the core principles of the banking industry and got tired of the greed, the paperwork and the mundane life I was leading. I knew it was time for a change. And a big one. I knew I needed to strike out on my own, or I never would.
What are your hobbies? How do they inspire / relate to what you do at Shop Take Care?
Do cats count as hobbies? Just kidding. I love to learn, if you can count learning as a hobby. I have a diverse post-secondary education that includes both primate studies and archaeology, and I’m still fascinated with those fields of academia. In the summer months, I love to bike and jog, garden and be out in the fresh air. In the winter, I hibernate. With my cats and my partner. Again, not sure if those are hobbies but…I also am the co-founder of Minipeg, which is a bi-annual charitable art show, and it’s going into its second year this year so there are lots of exciting things to look forward to with that. And I love wine. I have my WSET Level 3 accreditation so I love to explore and taste new wines, especially interesting natural wines, whenever I can.
Three things you're super interested in lately:
Fermented foods, anything to do with the British monarchy (no idea why), and DIY home renovations.
Why did you decide to make Farmer’s Son Co. part of your shop?
I decided to make Farmer's Son Co. a part of the shop because of the honest, well developed products that you make. Your passion for what you do radiates in your products and I’m proud to carry them, as a result of that. It’s also a really beautiful process to watch your company grow and change and adapt to all of the new stockists and products you’re developing.
Do you have a favorite scent? Where does it take you back to?
My favourite scent is grapefruit. And I’m really not even a big citrus person. But I love how happy it smells, if that makes sense. When I light that candle in the shop, people are immediately asking which one it is and I think it makes everyone’s mood a little better.
What new fun are you working on for spring?
Well, aside from some on-going painting projects and mini renovation ideas, I’m really putting all of my energy into developing a better, cleaner more sophisticated online shop for the shop as a way to boost our online selling game. I should be ready to roll with the new website really soon!
Lastly, what’s one thing you wish your customers knew? (This can be about you, the shop, life, how not to be an idiot, etc.)
That behind every small business there is a human, or maybe two or more, but humans, none the less. With feelings, fears, sensitivities and real lives just like everyone else. I think it’s easy for people to assume that the people behind any business, no matter the size, are faceless robots. But that is so not the case with small business. Small businesses are intimate projects that require constant nurturing and amending and adaptation to growth, change, adversity, fluctuations in supply and demand, the economical climate, etc. Support your small businesses!
You can find Jill at Shop Take Care located at 109 Osborne Street in Winnipeg, MB
A huge thanks goes out to Jill for talking with us! You can support the shop and its list of artisan vendors here, and see what new things Jill's working on by checking out Shop Take Care's Instagram here.