Opening one Main Street storefront would be an accomplishment for most entrepreneurs. Stacey Bonfield has opened three in less than six years.
It all started when she found herself on maternity leave at age 23.
“I’m not very good at sitting still, so I decided to start Flint and Honey, a women’s clothing and gift store, as a pop-up shop in 2017,” she says. “After three months of my pop-up, my landlord had a space available, so I decided to move onto the main street of Perth.”
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All three of her stores are now located on Gore Street in Perth. She opened Fawn+Fox, a children’s and maternity store, in the summer of 2020, and Dawn and Dusk, specializing in self-care, in November 2022.
A single mother of two girls, Bonfield says it can be tough juggling children and work. She employs six sales staff, one full-time and five part-time, between her three businesses.
While the pandemic was challenging, the current economy is scarier, says Bonfield.
“Even including the pandemic, this winter has been the slowest winter any of my businesses have seen and a lot of the other businesses in town as well are saying the same,” says Bonfield.
Another challenge is getting people through the doors of her businesses.
“That’s key, because once they come in and feel the environment and can see and feel the product, they’re working with the salespeople one on one, it’s a whole different experience than seeing it online,” says Bonfield.
She also has to keep up with social media posts for three stores. Coming up with regular, original and interesting posts is draining, she says, but she’s working on sharing the load with her employees.
“I actually have a training session for all my employees coming up in March just to stay on top of social media and know how to post properly and consistently so it’s the same kind of vibe that we’re giving across all the stores,” says Bonfield.
Bonfield started out with no business background and nobody in her circle with business experience. She enrolled in the Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Starter Plus Company program in 2018.
Her success in the program netted her a $4,000 grant that she put toward her first street sign for Flint and Honey, along with some advertising.
“I was able to create a business plan which I wouldn’t have known where to start originally, and talking to small business owners, getting ideas and recognizing the importance of being involved in the community, were great lessons,” says Bonfield.
Since then, Bonfield has parlayed a love of retail she discovered as a teenager working at local stores into a career she enjoys, finding products and interacting with customers.