Hansell & Halkett practice sustainable business by giving a new life to up-cycled pieces
A discussion with Ashley Stelck & Patricia Pearson, CO-OWNERS
Why did you choose Sidney as the location for your business?
“It’s always been my plan to open a business in Sidney, I have lived here all my life and this is where my market is. I have also owned other businesses in Sidney so it made sense to open up here because people know me and I love Sidney. I honestly wouldn’t open a business anywhere else.”
How would you describe your experience in the Sidney community?
“The Sidney community has been extremely supportive, especially through last winter. We have a pretty good following on social media for a small business and those that follow are customers which is huge. When we opened our door there was lots of excitement from the people following us who are mostly locals which has continued to grow. I would say 95% of our clientele to date, which may shift a bit this summer with tourism opening, is Sidney and the Saanich Peninsula area. Everyone has been super supportive and has jumped on the bandwagon of supporting local businesses.”
What has been the most rewarding aspect of running your business so far?
“I truly enjoy it, everyday can be a bit different. If I have an idea I get to run with it I don’t have to think about it, propose it and go down that road. There are other risks of course, when you work for someone it is more guaranteed. There are pros and cons but the pros far outweigh the cons for me and my personality. I love creating, building and networking.”
If you could give one piece of advice to a new entrepreneur what would it be?
“I always live by this motto, never ignore any opportunity at any time. It may be completely different than what you had in mind but it could lead you on a path that takes you to what you were originally envisioning. All my business ventures have started with one off conversations with people you wouldn’t expect that then connects to someone else. If you aren’t open to those sorts of interactions you may miss really good opportunities down the road. Follow your gut, it is your business so if you are doing what someone else is suggesting you might not be happy at the end of the day. If you are following your gut you will be happy, and regardless, you will know that you did what you wanted and gave it a try. You will get lots of amazing advice, which is great, but always follow your gut.”
What are the core values of your business?
“Definitely environmental. Both Patricia and I are very keen on limiting our waste and ecological footprint. We practice sustainability in our own lives and with our families. Both of our homes are furnished with up-cycled and used furniture, we shop at thrift stores and our children wear hand me downs. I think our core values in our lives are a part of our business. When we are sourcing products we look at where the product is made, what packaging is used as well as the goals of that particular company. We are partnered with about 30 different artists that share similar goals and values to ours. We are honoured to serve certain products because the packaging is zero waste or it prevents waste. We have local products including paintings, soap, jewelry as well as imported products such as baskets from Ghana.”
What are your short term and long term goals as a business owner?
“Right now we are really happy where we are maintaining our shop and it is very sustainable for us. Both Patricia and I are on the same page that potentially we could expand but this is so perfect for us. The small space allows us to keep inventory flowing. We don’t want to over-expand to where we start losing our core goals and have to import products that do not represent our business. Right now we have a small footprint in the store. It’s a bite size space that allows us to always keep furniture coming in and we can stage it really nicely. So in the long term we plan to continue to maintain our shop at this location.”