By: Zach Geldert
Walking into the quaint store snugly nestled on the Peakeâ€™s Quay waterfront one already feels the warm and inviting uniqueness of My Little Stash. Throughout the interview people came into the shop and everyone commented on how lovely of a store it was with one lady exclaiming â€œI love your store!â€. My Little Stash is a one-of-a-kind store owned and operated by island entrepreneur Danielle Woikin. I had the opportunity to sit down with her recently for the inaugural article in a brand new series on local business called Cadre Business Insider.
Danielle opened My Little Stash in Spring 2014. She said that ever since high school economics and business had intrigued her. A graduate of Holland Collegeâ€™s retail management and business programs (two separate diplomas that Danielle earned at the same time), she saw owning her own business as the only career path that she could take. My Little Stash is the fruition of her hard work and perseverance that has carved its way into the competitive retail market at Peakeâ€™s Quay.
While it is still a relatively young company in Charlottetown, My Little Stash has achieved notoriety because of Danielleâ€™s unique business approach. Every piece of clothing in the store is in limited quantity (6) and the jewelry is often one of a kind. This almost guarantees that you will have a unique piece of clothing that can add flare to your individual style. Moreover, the styles that you can find at My Little Stash are â€œa year ahead of the trendâ€ according to Danielle. She cited the fringe/tassel trend that was all the rage a year after she had it in her store as an example. As the trend hit the mainstream stores, Danielle had to explain to the customers that she had had the style last year and that they were no longer available. The clothes and jewelry at My Little Stash are not only trend setting, they also offer â€œfeel goodâ€ value.
For example, Danielle sources American-made styles all the way from California that are intentionally picked to be flattering to all body types and tend to be more flow fitting. She says â€œwhen someone is comfortable in their clothes, that is when they look their bestâ€¦rather than trying to squeeze into a tight-fitting dressâ€. In my opinion the best part about My Little Stash is the emphasis that is placed on showcasing local artisans. All jewelry, artwork, and woodwork are from island artists including the lovely handcrafted bench that we sat on for the interview in front of the store (that was made by her father). Finally, for those people who donâ€™t consider themselves â€˜fashion savvyâ€™, Danielle is a great help in finding the perfect piece for you or someone else!
Once I had an understanding of what the business was all about I asked Danielle where she saw her business progressing to. Excitedly, she told me about her plans to begin work this winter on her very own clothing line. While careful not to give away too many secrets Danielle explained how she was looking for unique fabrics that were comfortable and flattering. Along with her plans to begin producing her own clothes, she also says that she is looking to expand to a second, bigger location that offers her the ability to stay open later on into the year for the Christmas season and room for another dressing room. Stay tuned to her Instagram account, @_mylittlestash_, for the latest updates and trends!
Lastly, I delved into the challenges and rewards of owning your own business. The first thing that she said was â€œdonâ€™t think itâ€™s all sunshineâ€¦ itâ€™s not all this and a bag of chipsâ€. Rather, it is a lot of stress and hard work, risk, time, and energy. Despite all of this she says that it is â€œ100 times worth it in the long-runâ€. One piece of advice that she has to offer young entrepreneurs is to make sure that you have a strong support network of friends and family who can help you through the toughest times of running your business. Danielle cites her husband as a major support in pushing her to continue her journey to opening a small business even in times when she thought of giving up.
Iâ€™d like to thank Danielle for taking the time out of her busy day and store to sit down with me and discuss her business. In return for spotlighting her business in the Cadre, she has agreed to offer UPEI students 10% off everything for the week of September 16 â€“ September 23. So if youâ€™re looking for some unique fashion, stop in with your student ID and show support for local business! When you support local business everyone wins!