Allow us to introduce you to the wonderful Trish Tacoma, owner of Smoking Lily. Trish is a downtown businesswoman who shared with us some sound advice on starting your business.

what is Smoking Lily?

Since 1996, we have cut, sewn, printed, designed, quality-checked, photographed, and shipped worldwide our clothing brand just a few blocks from our retail shop, in downtown Victoria.

Smoking Lily is a thoughtfully-made, local clothing brand with a mission to bring people happiness while being kind to the environment.

 

downtown is the place to be

We chose downtown because it’s our neighbourhood. Many of Smoking Lily staff live nearby so most are able to walk or bike to work every day. We were fortunate to find a studio in an amazing heritage building that is a joy to work in. Our retail shop in Chinatown is below the Buddhist temple in a beautiful and colourful section of downtown.

We are walking distance to many of our suppliers, coffee shops, restaurants, the library, grocery shops, and other amenities making for a great quality of life.

 

Balancing act

For my company, balance means listening to our consumers and satisfying their needs within a price point, while still making a profit and reducing the environmental impact.

Personally, balance means keeping my mind calm. I do this by getting out of the studio for long walks with my buddy Shelby—a rescue dog from Alabama. These walks clear my mind, do my body good, and keep me in a good mood.

 

Quit your job and hire a bookkeeper

The best advice I received when starting my business was one: quit your day job and two: hire a bookkeeper.

This might not work for everyone but for me, it was sound advice.  Within six months of starting Smoking Lily, I quit my job to focus on the company.  I was barely and I mean barely able to make ends meet but that was okay because I was happy. I loved what I was creating and put all my energy into making Smoking Lily succeed. At the time, bookkeeping was causing me so much stress. Hiring a pro was less expensive than I expected and left me the time and energy to focus on my strengths. You can’t be an expert at everything, hire people to do the jobs you struggle at so you succeed. 

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More from Smoking Lily

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Here at the DVBA, we are evolving in response to the needs of our members and our community. That’s why we are moving towards a more people-focused blog, like this one.
Know of any great community members or business owners we should profile in our online articles? Email becca@downtownvictoria.ca and let her know.

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