Small Business Profile: Caroline Sylvester and Kyungjoo Shim from Sylvie and Shimmy

Sylvie and Shimmy is an independent boutique that opened in Parkdale, Toronto in 2013. They carry women's clothing, jewelry, fashion accessories and shoes. Sylvie and Shimmy mixes simple and classic design with intricate and fun details based on a feminine chic style. The majority of their products are made by small independent designers from South Korea and Canada. They do not carry mass produced items and take pride in showcasing independent talent. Sylvie and Shimmy provides stylish and unique designs that are practical enough to be worn on a daily basis with reasonable price points and put strong effort into quality assurance of our products.

How did you get your start?

Both of us were studying fashion and were working in retail and customer service. While we had opportunities that offered different roles and experiences, we wanted to curate our own collection. We hoped to be able to introduce our patrons to the diversity of the local fashion market. We worked so hard to open our first business, but we also were really lucky to have incredible support from our family, friends and community.

How has your business adapted to the current COVID-19 environment and how has your customer reacted?

When the shut down of non-essential businesses happened, we did not have an online store. After 2 weeks of being closed, we realized that this was going to take much longer than we initially anticipated to operate at any type of normalcy. We needed to adapt and offer our merchandise online. We have adapted by providing our customers with an online experience where they are able to shop our collection from home. Our customers have been very patient and supportive, which made us feel ready for this new endeavor!

What’s your greatest struggle as a business owner right now?

Our greatest struggle right now is navigating through this changing time and not knowing the length of time until we are able to reopen. We have been a brick and mortar store only since our inception in 2013, so having to change very quickly to sell our merchandise online with little time to adapt has been a challenge for us.

Where do you think entrepreneurs should invest their time and money?

Everyone wants to succeed in their business, but we believe that it is very important to understand the capacity of the business and to set targets and goals that are achievable for your business. Any actions or plans that have been determined, need to be performed consistently with patience and strong efforts. Building a strong team is another very important facet to be successful in your business.

What keeps you inspired and working every day?

Our customers, we miss interacting with all of them very much. Their support and kind messages keep us working hard to provide them with the products we love. Being part of the community makes us feel inspired, especially during this challenging time, we would like to spread positive wishes and our hopes that everyone will emerge healthy and happy.

Get in touch with Sylvie and Shimmy by following them on Instagram at @sylvieandshimmy.

By Staples Canada

June 15, 2020

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