Meet MomShifter: Michelle Germain

Featured / From Reva / Uncategorized / September 15, 2013
Michelle GermainName: Michelle Germain
Role: Founder and Fashion Fanatic of Shopgirls Gallery Boutique
City: Toronto
Children:Stellarose 61/2, Zara 3
 
 My MomShift Moment:
“I had been working for big chain fashion and home retailers for over 10 years in various Marketing roles but had always dreamed of having my own boutique.  With only 2 weeks remaining on my maternity leave, I signed a 5yr lease for a space in an up-and-coming, formerly less than desirable area of the city.  I couldn’t imagine going back to the corporate life, with it’s long hours, cubicle walls and same sh@# different day kind of work life!I also wanted to have a flexible work schedule where I could spend more time with my daughter, time that would be far more limited if I stayed in my corporate role.  I wanted to create a boutique that showcased only Canadian talent, but I also wanted to give these artists some marketing support.  So many independent designers don’t have the time or money to promote the wonderful work that they do and since that was my background, I couldn’t help but jump at the chance to sing their praises whenever I could.”

It Wasn’t Always Easy:
“I believe that most entrepreneurs share this philosophy when it comes to starting up a business.  “My business is different than the other ones out there.  It won’t take me 5 years (like everyone says it will) and EVERYONE will LOVE what I am doing and I will be successful straight away because I am so passionate and believe wholeheartedly in what I am doing.”  I think that if we didn’t believe this, we would not embark on this crazy crazy journey.  Getting through those first few years of uncertainty and learning as I went were some of the hardest years I’ve endured but also some of the most enlightening.  As a wife and especially as a mom, you feel like you owe it to your family to succeed, that the sacrifices they have endured will be all worthwhile one day.  I believe this strong family commitment is what has kept me motivated through those tough times.  Of course, having a husband who is your number one fan certainly doesn’t hurt!”
Making It Work: 
“Do NOT try to do it all!  I repeat, Do NOT try to do it all!  In fact, it’s quite impossible and while it’s important to keep costs down, your own sanity and well being is more important.  I try to focus on the things I am good at and farm out the rest.  I just don’t have the time/energy/desire to start learning how to upload excel spreadsheets to my new POS system while staying on top of Pinterest/Instragram/Facebook etc… while planning my 3 year old’s themed birthday party.  Not gonna do it!  A sane momtrepreneur is a much happier, healthier person both in business and at home. “
What’s Next: 

“I would love to see more Shopgirls boutiques in various cities in Canada – I don’t have a timeline yet for opening more shops but at the same time, I feel like it will happen soon enough.  I have also recently launched a new campaign entitled “Shop Your Shape, not your size” where we help women dress according to their shape, focusing on all of the good “bits” rather than spending time on things we don’t like about our bodies.  Myself and several clients/staff were photographed in our skivvies to help demonstrate how to dress for your body.  It was a humbling experience but also a liberating one.  Less than 2% of the female population is “model size” and I wanted to provide fashionable and local options for the rest of us real women.
On a less grand scale (but close to my heart)  is a simpler goal, where I will have the ability to end my work day at 4pm, pick up my girls at the bus stop at 4:30 and make dinner with them.  I haven’t been able to do this since I started my shop,  but am working towards it for 2014.  I am looking forward to spending this quality time with them.”
Also:
“There is something to be said about loving what you do and having the ability to pick and chose the wonderful people who will join you on this journey.  I feel truly blessed !  What I especially love about Parkdale  is that I am surrounded by independent business owners, we all share in our successes and help each other out when we can.”
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1 Comment

on September 17, 2013

Michelle,
Inspiring story, with my 2 year old at home and me being in my corporate role I identify 100% with how you described time spent, and pursuing your passion.
I’ll keep you posted on my next phase, hopefully coming soon.
Best of luck!



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