Today’s entrepreneur is Andrea Ford of RE:Style Studio.
When and why did you start your business?
I’m a former home editor and stylist in Toronto and I turned to revamping antiques when deadlines kept me at my desk and I needed some concrete art therapy to bring my fashion and home experiences together. In 2009/10, editor friends started writing about my pieces and inspired boutiques to start selling them. I dreamed of a studio space for client meetings, creating my own collection of remade antiques and possibly teaching a new style of upholstery workshops so the hunt began. In August of 2010 that came to fruition and I found the perfect space to house everything. I started the work of a full reno to the industrial space and it now has become a hub for modern upholstery and workshops.
What do you love about being an entrepreneur?
I love that I’ve been able to combine a unique skill set into a livelihood for myself. I was once told that I had to choose between fashion and home design/decor but in my own business I can get my passion across for all style, all the time. It’s also pretty awesome to be able to have my dog Massi at work with me everyday.
Where do you get your inspiration from and how do you stay inspired?
I’m inspired by everything from shopping at Target, to amazing design bloggers I follow to sets I see on TV. Sometimes furniture inspiration comes to me in my pre-sleep dozing and sometimes it’s a colour combination from a pile of laundry.
What is your biggest success or accomplishment you’re most proud of in your business?
I’ve been incredibly proud of the growth I’ve seen over the past year. A year ago there were tumble weeds rolling through the studio and now workshops are selling out consistently. It’s also been really reassuring to see and hear people’s reactions when they hear about my studio and see my work at shows such as the One of a Kind Show last November. Peoples’ faces light up and they get so excited about learning to reupholster their own furniture as well as the style I bring to my Collection pieces.
What advice would you give other entrepreneurs when they are first starting out?
Start with a clear path and don’t be afraid to say no. I’ve really refined my offerings and focused on upholstery, workshops and furniture because it’s what I love to do and do well. I tried to be too much to too many people at first and it only distracted from my vision.
Where do you see your company in three years?
I hope to grow my business into a destination for modern upholstery and furniture. I’d love to run my workshops every weekend and once a week with a team of instructors and have a plan for more locations.