Alison Jackson opened Redefined Finds in February 2016. The business developed into one of Downtown Stouffville’s gems – and a genuine draw. However, Alison closed their doors in mid-January. Not permanently, thank goodness, but to up-their-game. The store is under renovation until mid-February.
“Originally, we started as a shop that sold painted furniture that we had purchased used and ‘Redefined’. I had been doing that out of my home and two antique malls for the couple of years before that, so it was time for my own shop,” said Alison.
“We also sold the Fusion Mineral Paint line and ran a few workshops on how to paint your furniture and give it new life. We had a few other products in store like hardware and some of my friends’ art on the wall. Over that first year we started to add more gift products as well as some products from local artisans,” said Alison. Redefined Finds was in the early stages of evolving, with customer-demand leading the way.
“Our customers seemed to be looking for the furniture plus a space to buy gifts and home decor. This is when we really started to notice a change and the workshops were really catching on, we knew we needed to grow this side of the business as much as possible. The desire for people to Do-It-Yourself became apparent,” she added. Alison was cognizant of her financials and space utilization – it was backwards: the most popular space was squeezed, such as the workshop space, while less frequented – the large retail space – wasn’t carrying its own weight. The third anniversary for Redefined Finds is definable by change.
Googling the term ‘flexible business model’ will return upwards of 74 million results. It is all the hype, and – all the advice. According to CNBC: “Businesses that are agile and can adapt quickly to market conditions are well positioned for success in a rapidly evolving landscape. A flexible business model helps you take advantage of today’s fast-paced world.” (16 May 2014). The Daily News (of Ceylon) stated: “For those companies that don’t embrace flexibility, changes in the business environment can mean significant setbacks. For those who actually resist change, they can spell disaster. When it comes right down to it, flexibility within a company is an attitude – a culture.” (29 Nov 2017).
Alison has been hosting approximately 20-24 workshops per month and attracts all age ranges attending. “We get people who want to learn new skills, and once they start painting their own furniture they are hooked,” she said. She reports that they also get people who want to enjoy a social afternoon or evening out with friends or family and do a project-based class by either herself or one of their guest teachers. The variety of workshops that they host now goes well beyond painting, “So we attract, mothers and daughters, friend groups, work parties, family gatherings and everything in between.”
Multi-faceted marketing has been a key to Redefined Find’s success. Alison is clearly visible on social media promoting their workshops on Instagram and Facebook, and through their website as well. They also rely on traditional means, such as word of mouth.
The store will be getting a complete facelift, including a newly renovated bathroom and front desk area. Being installed are shiplap walls, sliding barn doors, and enhanced lighting. “The biggest thing we have done,” says Alison, “is to move the workshop into the front right of the store so that we can double our workshop space and bring more people in to have creative fun.”
There will also be activity in the shop. While a workshop is going on, Redefined may be working on creating their own store products, or refinishing furniture for customers. The other half of the front will be reserved for retail, where there will be a focus on gift items from local artists and a select product line that they love, plus home decor and furniture available for purchase.
If you ask Alison what she is most excited about: “I am most excited about creating a social hub for the downtown core where people can come, be social and create at the same time. We will have DIY Thursday, which is a full day and evening that is open to drop in and pick an item that we have or bring an item in and paint it for your home. This is going to be such a fabulous addition, because now there will be a place to drop in anytime during the day, after work or after school, that you can spend one hour or a few, and go home with something unique.”
Alison says that the renovated store will have a true farmhouse chic look that will inspire everyone who walks in. Redefined Finds’ grand re-opening will be Thursday, February 21, from 6-8pm, everyone is invited.