CALYPSO BAY CLOTHING
Small Town Girl, and Fashion Entrepreneur, Shannyn Galloway's passion, spirit and love for what she does has made Calypso Bay Clothing the place to shop in downtown Prince Albert.
Shannyn Galloway grew up, the middle child on a farm 12 miles North East of Shellbrook. Much of her childhood was spent playing outside, looking after animals, and working on the farm. Like most little girls, Shannyn was horse crazy and got her first pony at the age of seven. By Nine she was involved in the 4-H light horse club.
"Growing up on the farm taught me a lot of invaluable lessons. We never really had curfews as teenagers, but if we decided we were going out on the weekend, we were being roused by 7:00 am the next morning to do some nasty manual labor for sure!"
Shannyn, being very stubborn and independent, left home at sixteen. She worked part-time to pay rent and continue high school to graduation.
"I was in a hurry to grow up for some reason, and wanted to do it on my own."
Married at twenty-one, Shannyn and her husband, left Prince Albert area, for the booming town of Fort McMurray, Alberta.
Here she had her first crack at business ownership, the Fort McMurray Sod Depot.
“I would take orders for sod, often doing the measuring and estimating the quantities needed, and then place orders through the sod producers in the Edmonton area. The semi loads of sod would then be trucked to Fort McMurray, where they would be delivered to the homeowners and contractors who had placed orders. The business was quite successful, and grew at a very rapid pace.”
Aaron and Madison, Shannyn’s children, were born during this time in Fort McMurray, and like most working moms, the balance of raising kids and running a business was extremely challenging.
“My husband at the time also ran a business, so we were both very immersed in our own work and seemed to have little time for anything else.”
In 2005, After ten years in the “rat race,” Shannyn and her family returned to Saskatchewan.
VG: You Opened Calypso Bay 10 years ago (super excited for you)! Where did the idea come from? And how did you make it happen? What was your vision?
The idea of opening a clothing store was marinating in my head long before it actually came to fruition. It was while I was still living in Fort McMurray and operating the sod business that I began to crave something that I was passionate about. Once we moved back to Saskatchewan, the possibility of this dream actually happening became a reality. I spent the better part of a year planning, researching, and learning what I could before opening Calypso Bay Clothing in September, 2007.
VG: Did you always have a sense for fashion?
I don’t know about having a sense for fashion, but I know that I’ve always loved clothing! Growing up on a farm, we didn’t really have a lot of nice clothes, or the opportunity to wear them. I satisfied my longing of beautiful things by dressing up my Barbies in their glamorous dresses over and over! I earned a little money by babysitting and working for the neighbors, and all I could think about when I got paid was going shopping for something new and pretty!
VG: Tell us about shopping for the store. How much fun is that? Is it overwhelming? How do you choose your designers? Are you loyal to certain designers or do you just wing it..lol?
It’s definitely overwhelming, as there are tons of great lines out there! It’s always fun to test out a new brand, and there’s usually something new each season showing up in the store to keep things fresh. At markets I’m always keeping my demographic in mind, which is mainly 30-60. Some brands I’m loyal to, as they just work well in the store and are known for quality and fit. Listening to the customers’ needs throughout the season keeps me constantly looking for pieces and styles that will meet those needs. Price is also an important factor. I think some people have the misconception that everything in the store is quite expensive, when in reality, the majority of the brands are mid-priced, and are also good quality.
VG: What inspires you to keep moving forward?
Hmmmmm. I guess when you have a really good day, or make a connection with a new customer, or hear positive feedback from a customer. Maybe it’s when someone comes in that’s never been there before and says how beautiful the store is and how much they like the product and service It’s a great feeling to help someone feel confident and beautiful about themselves by treating them well, listening to them and making that connection.
VG: What is it you love most about the store?
What do I love most about the store? I think the realization that it’s all mine, and that I did it. It gives me a huge sense of pride and accomplishment to realize that I created this business from scratch, and that I’m succeeding. It’s a pretty amazing feeling!
VG: How do you find your life/family/work balance?
I’m finding a much better balance now than say 5 years ago. My kids were younger and still in school, and I went through a divorce which is not easy of course. I was working 6 days a week, lots of times by myself so there was an incredible amount of stress. I went through a period of time when I seriously didn’t think I could do it, especially being on my own. I decided to stick with it and things are much more balanced today due to great staff and an incredibly supportive life partner.
VG: Do you ever feel uninspired or overwhelmed? How do you get yourself back on track?
Sure, there are days when I run out of gas! Keeping up with marketing ideas, paperwork, and the less glamorous side of owning a business can get heavy sometimes. When that feeling lasts more than a couple of days, I know it’s time to step back and maybe take a couple of days to refocus. A holiday helps me think about the business OUTSIDE of the business and allows me to think about what’s working, and what I maybe want to change. It’s hard to see that when you’re working in the business all the time. This is the beauty of vacations!
VG: What is your favorite place on earth? The place that makes your heart sing? Where you feel at Peace.
I would have to say my favorite place on earth is anywhere south. I love the feeling of the sun on my face, being warm, relaxed. I do love the summers here, but winter is a real struggle for me. There isn’t any one place in particular, just as long as it’s warm and sunny! I enjoy traveling to different countries, so maybe one day I will find that one special place, but who knows? There are so many beautiful things to see in this world.
VG: What does a typical day look like for you? Do you have rituals or things you do every day to keep you positive and moving forward?
I’m a pretty routine kind of girl! I try and get to yoga a couple times a week, and I find that really helps me stay positive and gives me a boost. Communicating with my partner, Gord definitely helps keep me positive as well. It’s good to have someone to bounce things off, just to keep things in perspective and work through the stuff that tends to accumulate.
VG: If you could share some words of advice/wisdom to other women thinking about chasing a passion, what you tell them?
Do your homework and be patient! Things don’t happen overnight. Be willing to learn, ask questions, find a mentor, and surround yourself with good people. There are pros and cons to having your own business, and you have to ask yourself what your reasons are for wanting this. If it’s truly your passion, then by all means explore it further! If you’re doing it to “get rich quick” or just for the title or glory, I would think pretty hard about that. It takes a lot of time, money and commitment, but in the end if it’s truly your passion, it won’t feel like work.
Thank You Shannyn For Sharing your Story