Tuesday, January 22, 2019
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Welcome to the NABI Blog. Our Blog is intended to inform, explain, clarify and raise awareness on current business topics and issues. Do you have a story you would like to share on our blog or be featured in our newsletter? Simply send an email and tell us what you want us to know. We want to hear about your success stories.

Supporting Youth Entrepreneurs at The Collective Chelsey Tattrie

Two St. Albert businesses have found their starting point at The Collective, a city-funded program intended to help entrepreneurs find a strong start, and stay local. Andrew Elaschuk and Juliet Morse are two of the newest tenants in the space, and they are loving the support they’ve gotten. They want to share their experience at The Collective (and with NABI’s business coaches) so more people can take advantage of these incredible opportunities.

The Collective is a space in downtown St. Albert (#100, 43 St. Thomas Street) that gives entrepreneurs a physical location, support, supplies, and everything else they need to get their businesses off the ground. Half of the space – where Andrew and Juliet are currently located – is dedicated to young entrepreneurs aged 18-29 years old, who have developed a service or product, but need a platform or assistance to start selling. There are virtually no other limits on who can use the space – even entrepreneurs based out of Edmonton are free to work from The Collective. The other half of the space is dedicated to more established local businesses.
Juliet Morse is a student in the Fine Arts program at the University of Alberta. The flexible schedule at The Collective gives her time to focus on finishing school and working on her pieces, while still pursuing her passion for her business. Interestingly, The Collective first caught her attention because it was similar to a program she’d been involved in at the St. Albert Centre as a child. That program was called Enterprising Kids, and gave her a chance to sell greeting cards and garden markers, and showcase her work. The Collective operates on a similar basis, essentially giving entrepreneurs all the tools and space they need to establish and grow a business. With Art by JB Morse, she has expanded to selling paintings, and she is able to produce custom commissioned work for clients looking for specific pieces to beautify their homes or offices. She also gears her unique, one-of-a-kind pieces seasonally, so shoppers can pick up Halloween and Thanksgiving cards and piñatas for the fall season.

andrew-woodworkerAndrew Elaschuk is a woodworker who creates modern design pieces through traditional techniques. Andrew’s interest in cabinetry and woodworking began while he was in high school. He drifted away from it to work in the oil and gas industry, but as that industry began to suffer, he decided it was time to act on his long-time dream of owning his own business. After a brief move to Tofino, BC, where Andrew bought his machinery and began researching techniques, he returned to St. Albert and found the perfect start-up location at The Collective. Some of the smaller take-home wood products from Tinker Trading Co. include spinning tops, plant stands, pencil holders. He is currently working on expanding to larger furniture projects, including coffee tables and rocking chairs. 

Juliet and Andrew often work side-by-side at The Collective, and they’ve been able to share ideas, feedback, and experience with each other in the collaborative environment. Another advantage of The Collective is the affordability. For business startups whose cash flow is tight, the $50 per month rent is practically pennies. At the end of the day, though, both Juliet and Andrew agree that the greatest benefit is the support and coaching. 

NABI has jumped in to lend a hand with coaching entrepreneurs at The Collective. The NABI coaches provide guidance and perspective through those crucial first steps of setting up a business. “One of the most valuable things at The Collective is the guidance alone,” Andrew says. “I would be miles behind where I am, still trying to filter through things online, if it wasn’t for the coaching.” 

Andrew and Juliet got off to a start with the NABI Venture Lab program, and now have weekly coaching sessions in a one-on-one or group setting to address ongoing development. Andrew and Juliet meet with Aaron Budnick and Chelsey Tattrie to discuss marketing, planning, setting milestones, the best way to present their space, and any other questions that might crop up during the week. NABI has also given them some unique opportunities to connect with other experts and specialists.

“Our first meeting was with a marketing expert who used to work at Johnson & Johnson,” Andrew says. Juliet adds, “she really helped us bring our businesses down to where you can make a connection with people.” They were able to develop slogans and pitches, and align their businesses with their personalities to better engage with their clients, and work to their strengths.

Chelsey has provided the support Andrew and Juliet needed to set up the front and back ends of their websites, as well as getting them started on social media strategies that will help them connect to their customers. From SEO, to hashtags, to when to post and what to post, Chelsey has mentored the pair to the point where they can manage the marketing end of their businesses with a fully rounded strategy, and the tools to make their social platforms truly “social”.

Meanwhile, Aaron’s coaching has helped Andrew and Juliet boil down complex problems into simple solutions, connect their personalities with their businesses, and expand their horizons to the bigger picture. “Aaron sees our businesses as more than just products,” the pair says. “It’s about us, and our personalities, and providing something that people can actually attach themselves to.” With the help of their NABI coaches, Andrew and Juliet are looking forward to expanding and developing. As their businesses grow, they will rely more on NABI for the financial management questions cropping up, as well as strategic planning and leadership.  

At The Collective, the space and the people and businesses in it are constantly evolving. Businesses are welcome to stay for up to a year while they get started. For now, Juliet and Andrew are focused on getting more entrepreneurs and start-ups into the space. They envision it as a lively marketplace with a great array of vendors and services being offered. While there are no restrictions on who can use the space, they’d love to see some unique businesses bringing people in for an experience beyond shopping (like a yoga instructor, or someone hosting an open-mic night). 

If you’d like to know more about Juliet and Andrew, and see some of their amazing pieces, feel free to drop into The Collective (maybe after a visit to the St. Albert Farmer’s Market!), or visit their websites at www.artbyjbmorse.com, and www.tinkertrading.com. 

To find out more about how your startup can benefit from The Collective or from business coaching with NABI, call us at 780-460-1000.


*Photo Credit: City of St. Albert*

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