Bloom Boutique: Building a Brand

More than just a student

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As a full-time student working part-time, Chloe Fulton has a lot of her plate of commitments as she juggles studying, work shifts, and her social life. However, her busy schedule hasn’t stopped her from reaching her entrepreneurial goals.

Fulton has had a passion for fashion for years, and the ambitious 20-year-old launched an online clothing store called Bloom Boutique in October 2018. She ships clothing and jewelry locally and globally. It all started in 2012 when Fulton participated in a beauty pageant and placed as a finalist for Miss Teen Alberta which sent her to Toronto to compete in nationals. As one of the youngest girls competing, Fulton recalls that the pageant “inspired her sense of fashion.” She describes her style as “not over the top” and uses this as a benchmark when choosing clothes to sell on Bloom Boutique. 

The online store has a variety of different pieces, all that are picked by Fulton herself with young women in mind with a selection of items ranging from outerwear to dresses.

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Getting her start

It has been a successful learning process for Fulton who had done plenty of research in the early stages of development in her brand that started with finding a platform to sell on her clothes on. She sources the clothes from a distributor in B.C., after buying a cartful of items to ensure they were high quality, which has been important for Fulton from the beginning.

In an age where the majority of online stores seem to be resorting to drop shipping, which means the products is shipped directly from distributor to customer, Fulton decided to go a more personal route. She wanted to make sure she was offering her customers products that she can stand behind and know the quality she is offering.

“I want the clothes in my own hands before I sell them.”

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Making her mark

bloom logo.pngFor Fulton, the branding of bloom has a personal connection. One translation of her first name, Chloe, means “blooming.” It felt right to her and she ran with the idea, all while designing the logo herself. Fulton said, “In the beginning, marketing was everything.” She faced a challenge of driving people to her website initially, but has found that word of mouth and organic marketing is driving most of her sales.

Building her brand

This weekend, Fulton was a vendor at the Parkland Night & Day Market in Stony Plain. She didn’t know what to expect because she had never attended a market as a vendor. Fulton said, “It was a learning experience because now I know what to adjust for next time based on what I learned at the market.” It was an easy “yes” for Fulton when deciding to go to attend the market as a vendor. After seeing other similar events on Facebook, she said, “this one fell into my lap so I decided to go for it.”

Many people stopped to look and feel the clothes on the racks and check out the jewelry. She was happy with how many people were interested in the clothes and took a business card when passing by. While the demographic of this market may not have been Fulton’s targeted market, it was good exposure for her brand. The market goers were mostly mothers and their young daughters, and Fulton’s target market falls somewhere in between. But Fulton was pleased to get her brand in front of people in the community. “With online stores, you need to get that exposure,” Fulton mentioned.

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Local connections

There were a few customers who recognized the jewelry that is sold on Bloom Boutique from an Albertan brand Alora Boutique based out of Calgary. Pricing varies on different products but is incredibly reasonable. Canadian customers can receive free shipping on orders over $150.

Fulton was busy behind her booth, but the rest of the market was bustling with other vendors selling handmade soap, skincare products, leggings, and kitchen essentials which gave the market a good variety for customers. She is looking forward to attending more events similar to this weekend’s market.

 

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Upon realizing that she cannot have a booth at Farmers’ Markets because vendors must hand-make the products, one of Fulton’s friends suggest maybe she should start something new for local business with online stores. This has sparked her curiosity and Fulton has started looking into the local opportunities that are available.

Fulton is looking forward to expanding her brand awareness in the Edmonton area and stays active on social media. You can get 15% off your first order when you use the code FIRST15.

Support local Young Entrepreneurs in Edmonton and check out what you can purchase from Bloom Boutique.

 

 

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ACE Agency Tours are off to a strong start

BEHIND-THE-SCENES TOURS

Students are getting behind-the-scenes tours some of Edmonton’s agencies from February 25–March 9 with the 2019 Advertising Club of Edmonton (ACE) Agency Tours. The kickoff tours on February 25 started at Top Draw and Bluetrain, with more tours scheduled at agencies such as Berlin Communications and ZGM, among others.

ACE is the organizer for the tours in and around Edmonton to “make a real difference” which is listed as one of their core values. Students are encouraged to take advantage for both networking and job opportunities like U of A student, Gaurav Batra, who plans to go to every tour to get a wide range of experiences.

At 3:00PM on February 25, students—including Batra—climbed the stairs to Bluetrain’s second floor office where they were warmly greeted by Bryan Smith, the founder and president of Bluetrain. I was offered snacks in the kitchen area and took a look around the small—but mighty—office of 10 in-house employees.

ENTREPRENEUR AND FOUNDER

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Bryan Smith. Photographed by Emily Vilcsak.

Smith took the students on a tour of Bluetrain by making  as a presentation discussing the core values, operations and typical work days of the employees at Bluetrain. Smith was the 2015 Sherwood Park Young Entrepreneurial Award winner who has overseen “10 years of annual growth for Bluetrain” as stated on the website.  A focus of Smith’s presentation was the importance of entrepreneurial vision in students in the city.

His remote work policy that he implemented allows the employees to work remotely for up to three days without managerial approval. Smith said, “It doesn’t matter if you’re working from home, at your cabin, or in Colombia or Brazil.” His view of remote work promotes the company’s value of balance between work and play.

Jodie Worobec, the Director of Projects and Accounts at Bluetrain, joined Smith during the presentation to speak to the students about the importance of organization and communication skills in the industry. She described her role as being the translator between the client and the digital marketing team.

A CLOSER LOOK

Julia Boyko, an attendee of the Bluetrain tour and NAIT marketing student, had attended the agency tour at Top Draw earlier in the day and hopes to visit more agencies during the variety of upcoming tours. She had heard about the ACE Agency Tours through one of her instructors and said, “I wanted to know what services each agency offers to it’s clients.” For Boyko, Bluetrain was up her alley with its focus on digital marketing.

Bluetrain offers clients a variety of services that are all data-driven. Its services include digital marketing strategy, online advertising, SEO, web analytics, content marketing, and social media. Smith and his team have worked with prominent local and international brands such as Epcor, Shaw, Fountain Tire, and ATB Financial, among many others. Smith said, “We don’t have trouble getting clients, but we don’t want to hurt the quality of our work by growing too fast.” Bluetrain works mostly with ongoing clients and maintains its slogan to do great things, with great people.

Batra is studying social media marketing through Continuing Education at U of A and agreed with Smith’s ideas in the presentation and Batra said, “A social media presence is a requirement these days.” Smith then discussed the work Bluetrain does with its clients in regards to social media. What sets Bluetrain apart is its strong focused on data-driven marketing to get clients the results they are looking for.

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Founder Bryan Smith and students Julia Boyko and Gaurav Batra. Photographed by Emily Vilcsak.

UP NEXT 

Students can visit several other agencies with the ACE Agency Tours until March 9 and register for the tours for only $2 at the Eventbrite page. ACE offers other incredible events throughout Edmonton year-round that are perfect for Young Entrepreneurs in Edmonton. The Agency Tours allow students to network with potential future employers and other students that are seeking work in the industry. Some of the agencies that are offering tours also have job postings online, many of which you can find on the ACE website. Bluetrain is now taking applications for a Digital Marketing Specialist.

Roundhouse: The Social Innovation Institute

Let’s sign in at the front desk!

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David Woodruff, Roundhouse member and founder of Datapunks, greets us at the sign-in desk.

 

Pick a spot and get to work!

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At Roundhouse, you can choose somewhere different to work everyday. Variety promotes creativity here!

Upstairs we go! It’s meeting time.

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Take a seat and say hello!

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Rain Bossert is ready to dive in to today’s meeting.

After the meeting, it’s time to work!

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Grab your laptop and take a seat!

 

What time is it? It’s lunchtime!

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Get a free coffee and eat your lunch. Let’s fuel up for the afternoon!

 

Before we get back to work…

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We’ll visit the putting green in the office!

 

Let’s stop by Emily’s desk.

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Emily Armstrong is the the Intern here at Roundhouse.

You can change the world with good ideas.

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Grab your laptop and get to work!

Amor and Anika are here to help!

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Amor Provins works as the Senior Manager and Anika Gee is the Community Lead at Roundhouse.

Did you know? StudentsEat works at Roundhouse.

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Your phone is dead? No problem. Hop on!

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You can charge your laptop or phone and stay active! Just plug in and start biking.

Support local entrepreneurs at Roundhouse!

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Purchase a variety of items from young entrepreneurs in Edmonton!
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Here are a few of the items you can buy.

Want to learn more about Roundhouse? Talk to Yentle!

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Yentle Ng is always happy to help and answer any questions you have!

Roundhouse is the MacEwan University Social Innovation Institute. They support local entrepreneurs with their coworking space, workshops and events. Learn more at https://roundhouse.net/

About

Young Entrepreneurs in Edmonton was started in early 2019 with the vision of featuring creatives, side hustlers, students, and of course…young entrepreneurs in Edmonton. What sets us apart? We’re fresh, we’re hungry to learn and grow, and most importantly we believe in collaboration over competition. It’s created by young entrepreneurs for young entrepreneurs in Edmonton.

So, who’s behind it all?

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That’s me, Emily Vilcsak! I’m a 20-year-old, third year Communications student at MacEwan University. I stepped into the entrepreneurial game in 2013, when I founded my youth empowerment program called Mission I’mPossible. Since then I’ve spoken to dozens of schools, groups, and at conferences, like We Day Alberta in 2015. In 2017, I was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee Medal. I’m passionate about making positives ripples in the lives of young people in our city in hopes of growing the next generation of Young Entrepreneurs in Edmonton.

What makes this unique?

Whether you’re a long-time Edmontonian, new to the city, or a young entrepreneur yourself, this is a place to connect. You’ll learn some insider entrepreneurial tips from local people who have tried and failed, and how they found success. Unlike other organizations in the cities, I do not require entrepreneurs to pay an annual or ongoing fee to become a member. In my mind, I want to encourage free and open collaboration, and I don’t want a fee to inhibit that goal. This website offers a personal and collaborative community to highlight the ripples you’re making in our city and you’ll be connected to the right people through blog posts. If you’re an 18-30 year-old Edmontonian that is working on a side project or business, I want to hear about it. I’m looking to promote the incredible work of young people in our city and to have a space for people to share their stories along their entrepreneurial journey.

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This photo was taken by local Edmonton photographer, Ian Keefe.

Let’s create a collaborative space.

Other organizations in Edmonton require members to prove that their company has a grossed more than $1 million a year. Wait a second. $1 million a year. The more I looked into it, I found that the average age of entrepreneurs in the organization was 44 years old. That is when I noticed a huge disconnect between growth and success in our city. There are plenty of entrepreneur-focused groups for people that have had financial success, but what about the rest of us? I have a large amount of respect for these successful entrepreneurs and I’m sure many of us would like to be in their shoes. The reality of the matter is, we’re not 44. Some of us are students or working to pay off student loans. Maybe all you have is an idea for a business you’d like to start but you’re not really sure how to get it off the ground. Maybe your side project is just starting to be profitable and you want to share it with the rest of the city. That’s where Young Entrepreneurs in Edmonton comes in. From resources to features, you will be inspired and challenged by the content you find on this page. One of the challenges facing young entrepreneurs is the struggle to create brand awareness during a time when social media is over-saturated with paid ads and influencers that have already grown a social media presence. My vision is to create a space for Young Entrepreneurs in Edmonton where they can grow their audience of local and like-minded people to hit their niche market without paying for ads.

Why is this important?

In a quickly changing and evolving city we have new developments and new challenges every single day. There are young, forward-thinking entrepreneurs that are looking at these problems and they are developing solutions to help community members. I want to grow the awareness of all the incredible projects that have been developed. When I said it’s a platform created by and for young entrepreneurs here in Edmonton I wasn’t kidding. Do you see the header image of this website? That photo was taken by the incredible Alexandra Marcu, a current MacEwan student and photographer! Check out her Instagram @alexandra.marcu. You can read about her experience on the blog next week!

Collaboration over competition

What does “collaboration over competition” mean? It is the tagline at the core of Young Entrepreneurs in Edmonton for a very important reason. In our busy and fast-paced society, it is so easy to put our heads down and feel the stress of a constant grind. However, when we fall into these patterns we miss the opportunities and connections that are knocking on the door. Instead of encouraging each other, we end up competing. Young Entrepreneurs in Edmonton focuses on the reality that another person’s success is not your failure. Through collaboration we can learn, grow and ask questions, all while building a professional network. Young Entrepreneurs in Edmonton creates a collaborative environment to encourage the work of young people in our city.

Would you like to be featured on the blog? Contact me for an interview.

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This photo was taken by local Edmonton photographer, Alexandra Marcu.