When looking to support locally produced or sourced products it can be a bit of a daunting task. I can almost guarantee that if asked each one of you would LOVE to support more local businesses but cost and convenience would be factors that may lead you astray. This is something I know all too well as I made a commitment at the beginning of this year to support as much locally produced food products as I could.
With a constant eye for business opportunities and growth I decided to turn one of my rental properties into a Saskatchewan experience on the short term rental site - Airbnb. The rental market was taking a massive hit and I thought I would use this as an opportunity to change things up and test these new waters. I love marketing so I created a vision board - on that vision board I asked myself what would set me apart and tell a story. My Airbnb story would be exposing my guests to as much local goodness as I could. From the art on the walls to the soaps in the shower. Recommendations to locally owned restaurants and directions to our local farmer's market - complete with my fav things to do. Now a plan was in place but how to source all of this? Common grocery stores have few selections of Saskatchewan products and the convenience of trying to get to the farmers market just wasn't happening with a busy schedule. I knew where I had to go.....Sask Made Marketplace.
Everything was all there in one spot. It was perfect - I was able to decorate the walls with framed post cards from local photographers and artists. The coffee beans and teas that I provide complimentary to my guests are all local entrepreneurs. Even a collection of local cooking oils, jams, and an assortment of other treats are left for the guests to try.
Not only does Sask Made Marketplace have all the items that complete my local experience they are very knowledgeable about each of the companies they support. With freezers filled with local meats, perogies, and pizzas it truly is a one stop shop. The stores hours make it convenient to shop at and there is always something new being sampled. I'm a few months into this new venture and the guests adore these little local touches and I adore the convenience of going to one place. Match made in local heaven ;)
We sat down with Amanda from Sask Made and wanted to learn more about the business, their goals for 2018, and what we can expect to see at their booth in a few weeks at the Modern Woman Show. I see big things for this company! These women are certainly making a #supportlocal difference in our city.
Tell us about your business?
The SaskMade Marketplace is a Saskatchewan company partnered with local farmers, processors, and artisans to provide a wide range of unique, locally produced gourmet ingredients, grocery items, giftware, souvenirs, and gift baskets.
How did you get started?
The business was started as a medium to educate people about farm to fork and what it really means to support local. We wanted to become the local authority on food, which I think we have.
What inspires you?
Challenge and Change. I always want to be challenging myself and learning. Life is an opportunity to continuously grow and experience new things - I love that!
What is your idea of a Modern Woman?
A Modern Woman isn't afraid to be who she is or do what she loves, nor does she pass judgment on other women. We need to support each other and understand that we are all going to make different decisions and take different paths in life; none of them are wrong. If you want to be a career woman, be a career woman. If you want to be a stay at home mom, good for you. No judgement. "Whatever makes you happy" is my motto.
What tips can you give to aspiring women entrepreneurs?
Women are stronger when they support each other so get to know other women entrepreneurs in your area. Join local industry and women-in-business groups. In these organizations you will always find good advice and guidance when you need it. There are many people who have gone before you, so learn from them!
Also, never be afraid to ask questions or make mistakes. Two little pieces of advice we often give our friends and family but can sometimes forget to do for ourselves.
What is one piece of advice you would give yourself looking back?
It would be to trust yourself and do not hold back. If you want do something, do it now!
What is in the future for your business?
This year we are hoping to bring in some unique kitchenware, cookware and entertaining items to compliment our vast selection of gourmet groceries. But we are always on the lookout for new grocery products and gift ideas to change things up!
As for a 2-5 year goal, we'd like to have a second location or expand our current store and add a complimentary space, like a cafe or bistro.
Who is someone that you find is a role model for women in business?
A particular person doesn't come to mind, but I respect any women who are out there changing the world and breaking down barriers. For example women in science and technology or agriculture, which are largely male dominated industries. It's hard work and not everyone can do it.
Tell us about you – what makes you tick, what are your hobbies, where would we find you on a Wednesday night? A Friday night?
Well I have 2.5 year old twin girls, so Wednesday evenings would find me at home hanging out with my family or maybe squeezing in a quick workout once the kids have gone to bed.
Friday's are a bit more exciting; I'm usually cooking dinner with my husband with a glass of wine or having friends over for appetizers and drinks. I love cooking, eating and drinking so anything that involves those makes me a happy lady.
If you could have any super power what would it be?
I would have the same super power as Magneto from X-Men. The ability to control metal would be amazing!
What will you be showcasing at the Modern Woman Show?
We will be showcasing all the wonderful food items that our local farmers grow and produce for us. I want to focus on some of the great gourmet cooking ingredients like oils , vinegars, mustards and sauces that anyone can easily use to create an amazing meal at home.
We will also have two of our vendors sampling with us, one each day. So make sure you stop by for a few samples!
Sask Made Marketplace can be found online www.saskmade.ca and shopping made easy at 1621 8th Street East. Come visit their booth and start your local journey with Sask Made at the Modern Woman Show & Expo on April 14th & 15th at Prairieland Park.
To check out the little local airbnb and all the lovely companies we support visit our Instagram Page @stay_at_cas_hill