Meet Janet Qian, Co-owner/Operator of Golden Fox Home Decor!
What product/services does your business provide?
My husband, Scot Mo, and I run a small home decor store based in the Confederation Court Mall, in Charlottetown.
One of our featured items is a great variety of cushion covers. We try to promote the idea that people don’t have to throw away their cushions just because they are slightly worn. Put on a new cover, and they are brand new again! Plus you can change your cover from season to season.
Another popular item is our selection of uniquely designed ceramic planters. They all have drainage holes in them, so they are not only a lovely decor item but a sweet home for plant lovers.
Another big part of our business is balloon and party solutions. From a single “Happy Birthday” balloon to a garland of balloons for a wedding party, we offer a big collection of balloon products to serve different moments, big or small.
A new category we are introducing is various kinds of fairy lights. Indoor or outdoor, there is always something to lighten up your life :-)
How long have you owned your business?
Not long, only a bit over a year. My husband, me and our Golden Retriever boy moved to PEI in April 2018, and we like it here very much. We were both employees at multi-national companies, but had zero experience in running a retail business.
What inspired you to start your own business?
Since we moved here, I was trying to find a great selection of home décor items that were also affordable. Unfortunately, there were not many retail options so I thought - why not open one myself?
Have you experienced any unexpected surprises since starting your business?
To be honest, I find the business environment here is very friendly - especially to a small business like us. Even our customers are very friendly to a new business like us. Some even try to offer advice and feedback to help us grow, which we really appreciate.
How has COVID 19 affected your business? How has it changed the way you do business? What has it taught you?
This was the most unexpected part! We closed for two months during the lockdown. We still had to pay rent and other unavoidable fixed expenses, which was a devasting hit to a retail store that was not online yet. But any challenge will make people think creatively to try to survive. We noticed online business were booming during the pandemic like never before. That pushed us to think we should not only limit our business to local store and an online business might even become necessary for the post-pandemic time.
Now my husband and I are spending most of our time learning about running an online business. This challenge forced us not to stay in our comfort zone. I didn’t want to use the pandemic as an excuse to close my business, it is my baby.
What have your other challenges been? How did you overcome them?
About a month before the Mall told us it was reopening in late May, I was bored staying home all day so we tried running our business on Facebook. We started to offer delivery or touch-free pick-up and it helped on our sales. Now we are exploring other online options like Instagram, Shopify, and Amazon. As a new business person, we found it hard to figure out which one is more suitable for us, and we do not know which resource we should rely on to learn more relevant information. This is one important reason I joined the PEI Business Women’s Association. I am expecting to meet more talented people in this network that can help us build our online business.
What have your successes been?
As a new business person, I don’t think I have succeeded yet. I’m trying to give myself more time, especially with this very special pandemic situation.
But one thing I find rewarding is that as a person who have never lived in North America before, I have imported items that local people like and appreciate, which has helped us forge friendships with local communities, this is awesome!
How can people contact you?
They can visit us at the Main Level of the Confederation Court Mall in Charlottetown or message us at https://www.facebook.com/Goldenfoxhomedecorinc, where we usually respond within one hour.