Fiona Horgan on Launching The Art and Science of Retail to Empower Unique Retailers
Hello Fiona! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business:
The Art and Science of Retail helps unique retailers blend the artistry of retail with the hard numbers to gain control of their business and make more profitable sales, by working smarter not harder. We help them turn their passion for product into the thriving businesses that form the backbone of our communities, add flavor to our lives and inspiration to our souls.
So Fiona, what excites you about being an Entreprenista League member?
The ability to connect, share, and support women led product based businesses
It can be intimidating to turn an idea into a reality – what made you take the leap to start your own business?
I am a lifelong passionate retailer, leading and developing the buying teams for some of Canada’s most iconic retailers. Throughout my career I have always been inspired by the creative and unique independent retailers that I would encounter through my travels. In 2020, I traded a corporate role for an entrepreneurial one and founded the Art and Science of Retail, an online educational platform for independent retailers – I am able to combine my extensive retail knowledge and love of coaching to help independent retailers turn their passion for product into the thriving businesses that form the backbone of our communities, add flavor to our lives and inspiration to our souls. I am passionate about the independent retail community, and want to help contribute to the success of creative product based entrepreneurs.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I grew up in retail — starting as a store associate and moving my way up through the buying roles to VP of Merchandise and for some of Canada’s leading retailers. I have a broad background across a range of categories from fashion, footwear, lingerie, home decor and tea! As a member of the executive team, I was responsible for driving sales, marketing product, developing, sourcing and negotiating product, ensuring systems were in place to facilitate the smooth flow of product from design concept to merchandising on the sales floor.
Fiona, did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I always knew that I had a love for business — it was only after many years in corporate life, getting frustrated with the often slow pace of internal change, that I decided to leverage my skills and delve into the world of entrepreneurship — and its been amazing — I have probably learnt more in the last two years than in the last 10!
Marketing a new business is crucial to raise brand awareness! What was your initial marketing strategy?
Initially I was going to drive business organically through Instagram and Facebook — but I was not consistent in posting and had to get over the fear of putting myself out there.
Entreprenistas are resilient. What is the biggest challenge you have encountered along the way?
Initially I was going to launch a course — but as I dug into the world of course creation, I realized it was so much more than just building a course — it was about building a business brand, understanding and learning the tech components, learning to embrace and determine how to leverage social media organically and through paid….and learning how to find my ideal client to connect with them — so my biggest challenge has been recognizing that this is so much bigger than a course, it’s a business with a product focus, system requirement and marketing components.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
Being exposed and comfortable around new tech — I would not have been exposed to as much had I stayed in the corporate world — I have had to learn a lot of new things — Canva, social media posting, website design, learning management systems — its been slower than I would have liked, but I am much further ahead in my journey today that I was yesterday!
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
Absolutely! You are going to spend the time no matter what…so choose where you want to spend it …. up front setting yourself up to succeed, or on the backend fixing problems. Sometimes you need to slow down to speed up.
What’s a piece of advice you can share that you wish you’d known when you first started your Entreprenista journey?
Being crystal clear on your customer and you messaging — it drives all of your actions, from the product you create to how you market it.
Fiona, you have lots to celebrate! What have you achieved recently that you’d like to celebrate with our community?
I’ve resourced and partnered with a company that provides excellent inventory management tools for small retailers.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
The launch of the Retailers Growth Hub membership — an affordable in depth membership for independent retailers to master their inventory, their financials, and their marketing to drive profitable sales.