Nikky Starrett is an Elite+ Mompreneur member based out of Oakville and Mississauga, in Ontario. She is the Founder of Pomp & Sass, a Canadian social enterprise offering an exclusive line of luxury woven towels. Specializing in customization, Nikky’s products are ethically made and environmentally friendly, and she donates a portion of profits back to charity. We’re excited to share Nikky’s Success Story!
What is your “WHY” behind your business/being an entrepreneur?
The birth of my daughter cured me from my disabling syndrome and gave me a second chance to live my best life. I’ve always wanted to be a successful entrepreneur and decided to go all in. With new parental responsibilities I needed to switch from freelance textile design to a more structured schedule. The choice to launch my own ethical brand of goods was a natural progression. I found a fantastic product and made it my own. The journey has been really rewarding and a dream come true.
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
My late father was an entrepreneur. He worked really hard for many years and what he built gave him freedoms only available to entrepreneurs. He was able to have a flexible schedule, travel, give back to his community and so much more. I want to continue in his footsteps. My logo is a pinecone, it reminds me of him and everything his journey, and mine, represents.
What’s the best part about owning your own business?
The best part of owning my own business has been the thrill of possibility. How far can I take this? How much good can this company do? How much better can we be, function and produce? I’ve also met a lot of incredible people.
What impact did other people/experiences have on you, and how did they help you get to where you are in your business today?
This question makes my heart feel full of joyfulness. I’ve been blessed with a lot of amazing people in my life. My family has been my foundation. My husband has been the most incredible support as I took a year to build the structure of the business. My mother loaned me the seed money to get started and my sister supported me through the events I needed to attend. My friends have been there to help me promote, proofread and even pack orders. I wouldn’t be this far without them. The incredibly supportive community at my co-working space in Mississauga called EDGE has been a dream. The mentors, other entrepreneurs and support staff have been my allies, cheerleaders and guides.
I’ve had the pleasure to be supported by an industry connection who first introduced me to woven towels. Oliver has been invaluable and continues to support my journey without asking for anything in return. He believes in me and what I’m doing. My manufacturer and I didn’t start off well but we have become friends. We now work well together and encourage each other. Through social isolation, we found friendship when I encouraged him to prioritize the safety of his staff over finishing my order. He saw who I am and we found the last piece of mutual respect we needed. The delay in my online shop launch may have set me back in the short term but my strong relationship with my manufacturer will last a lifetime. My wider online and in-town community has also been really supportive. Between Ben talking me up around town and my social media friends sending me recommendations, encouraging messages and links I’ve been inundated with encouragement.
What values do you believe in and live by, and how do they shine through when it comes to your role as a business owner?
Let your light shine. This is how I live my life and it’s influenced the core of my business. I reimagined a beautiful product by integrating my design style into it. This differentiated my products and value proposition. I now sell a unique line of towels and a service no one else offers. Allowing myself to shine through has made my company stand out and offer something no one else does. It has always been important to me to use my company to be a positive influence in the world. From day one I’ve been making sure I’m doing that in as many ways as possible. So far I’ve managed to produce a sustainable product, packaging and a set of corporate practices. We give to charity and have goals to expand our giving as the company grows. I also have plans built into our future goals so that as we grow, so will our giving and sustainability.
The only thing we hope to shrink is our footprint. Some of my values are shown through the companies advertising. I believe that we all should be represented by luxury products. As I develop lifestyle ads and photography for 2020 and 2021 I’m making sure to do so with an inclusive company of people. This will include people of different ages, ethnicities, races, genders and orientations. We should all be able to see ourselves in advertising. I couldn’t stand if my company wasn’t inclusive and welcoming to all. It’s the same with my freelancers, I make sure I hire qualified people from many backgrounds. Diversity makes everything better and my company is proof of that.
What are you most proud of when it comes to your business/being an entrepreneur?
I’m most proud of my resilience and tenacity. There have been so many setbacks and struggles. My virtues and ability to pivot, work through and look forward have served me well. I have a lot to be proud of.
What does the future look like for you and your business?
I certainly have a lot of work ahead of me and I’m eager to see us grow. The foundation I’ve set up in Pomp & Sass is lean, strong and forward thinking which will serve us well after our season of pandemic. We may not know what global changes will be but we will face them with kind, loving hearts. The future for Pomp & Sass is going to be inspired, prosperous and encouraging. Look forward to seeing Pomp & Sass on various online shopping platforms as soon as our borders open up for imported goods. We also offer custom towels for fundraisers, private brands, spa and accommodations. It’s going to be amazing.
Any tips for women thinking of starting a business?
I encourage you to not be an accidental entrepreneur. Make a strong, forward thinking and detailed plan before you dive in. In that plan, focus on the people, planet and community you are serving before the profit margins and personal gain. When we prioritize the people we serve, the product and brand are stronger. Surround yourself with support systems. Entrepreneurs are prone to mental health issues and we need people in our lives to help us through and keep going.