Creatives are everywhere. We love meeting them! Roxanne is someone I (Kristen) have been seeing around for years, shopping in her stores, but only recently gotten to know. Roxanne is a wonderfully talented lady who owns a fashion boutique with two locations in Saskatoon called Tonic, as well as the online store Farminista. Jenni and I both love Tonic, and the true prairie spirit it brings to fashion. I was happy to bring some of the beautifully curated prairie fashion back to Jenni when we visited Vancouver in August. We loved the pieces Roxanne picked, see our post on the Farminista blog for details on the fashion end of things!
We love hearing how other common creatives get their inspiration, and we were happy to have Roxanne tell us a little bit about her world!
What brought you to the fashion world of Tonic and Farminista?
I've always been interested in being an entrepreneur. My grandpa had a general store back in the good old days, so I grew up playing store and reading small business magazines. I always had extra racks and displays around, so when I found a small space on broadway, I sold vintage furniture and accessores as well as bags I made. That was called the stuff store. I outgrew my first location and ended up moving behind Lydia's on Broadway and adding vintage clothing and locally made items. I slowly added new clothing until we outgrew that space and ended up moving to a huge space downtown and called it Tonic! So now we have 2 locations ( the 2nd being back on broadway).
What is the best part about running your own shop?
I like the creative process. I like to see something I love in a store in Europe (or any other place) and finding that style to bring back home. Now with farminista, our online store, it's a little reversed at times. We have local styles or designs that we send to our regular customers who have moved away and can't shop regularly at tonic like they used to.
Where do you find inspiration for fashion trends?
Every where!! I always notice something different and that's what we order for Tonic and Farminista. We do like to get a lot of our brands from Europe. We think they are just a little bit ahead of us in the risk taking fashion- so it's always unique and special!
What is the biggest lesson you've learned in running your shop, thus far?
It's a ton of work. Fashion is always changing and so are we. We change all of our stock every season as well as the layout and decor of the shops- new paint and wallpaper to match the trends.
Can you name your greatest success?
Staying open and having a family. It's a shock to have a baby and even more shocking to keep running a demanding business- nevermind not getting maternity leave! I feel very blessed to have staff who went above and beyond their job requirements to run the store so I could have 4 babies!
What is a day in the life of your job?
Well, I like to start at the Broadway location to see what they need restocked ( and to have a latte with the manager who happens to be my sister). That location is small, so we restock almost everyday. Then, I go downtown and go through the stock. We have to be careful not to take out items we just loaded online. Our downtown Tonic is our warehouse for our online store, so we keep those items online downtown. After we load up boxes for broadway, we go over new items to put online. We also go over social media, like Instagram and Facebook, to show our customers whats new. Then, I go over what's sold out and order more items if we need. In between all of that, we help girls find outfits or assist with the never ending search for the perfect dress!
What advice do you have to new businesses starting out?
It's a lot of work!
How do you keep your creative mind going? What do you do to rejuvenate?
My family and friends. It's good to just be silly and do fun things for a few days. Then I find I'm full of new ideas!
Thanks Roxanne for letting us prairie sisters indulge in some prairie fashion on the west coast! And thanks so much for a glimpse into the Tonic and Farminista lifestyle. We love what you do! If you are in need of the perfect dress, or beautiful clothes for everyday, check out Farminista online! See our blog post there for outfit details. And now, just because, here are some silly shots. Because we can never stay serious for too long.