River Market’s newest stores are sisters! Baby Nook and Local Nook are a sweet pair of shops run by business partners and friends, Grace Chik & Grace Park.
We interviewed them about starting a new business during a pandemic.
What have you learned about owning your own business?
We have gained a new profound respect for small businesses everywhere. The amount of time, energy, money, commitment and soul that goes into a business is underestimated. The progress is slow, the return is often delayed and the level of commitment and service small businesses deliver is often above and beyond. It’s a humbling endeavour but one that feels authentic and connected to the real lives of people everywhere from our makers to our customers.
How did it feel when opened?
When we first opened Baby Nook it felt both unreal and stressful. Stressful because we didn’t have everything the way we wanted and we were still in the process of putting things together (and we still are making improvements), but we would have these random moments where we would look at each other in disbelief and say, “we actually have a store!”
Is there any particular moment or memory that stands out for you?
Park: The first time one of our employees worked for us, I had my phone set up to alert me every time we made a sale. I was playing with my kids at home when I’d hear a little “ding”. Almost every time I did a little happy dance or happy giggle. Eventually I had to turn the notification off but I remember those first moments of sales vividly.
What inspires you?
Chik: My daughter. Every product we decide to bring in goes through the lens of being a mom. I also want to take on challenges and try new things so that my daughter grows up to one day do the same.
What was the biggest challenge you were facing?
Our biggest challenge was and still is the fact that we aren’t physically at the shop as much as we would like to due to being moms to young children. Especially during these early stages of our business we want to be part of every moment, meet our customers and grow our business but we hope and look forward to the season when we get to be at the shop more often.
What would you say to someone considering opening their own store
For us the whole thing was never fully realized to us (and still isn’t) until we took a step. Once we took that first step which goes back a few years with our first online product, the next step became more visible and so on. Often that first step is the hardest and most risky but it’s also been a lot of fun. Even if we “fail” and things don’t work out the way we hope, we believe nothing ever goes to waste.
What do you think other people should know about Baby Nook/Local Nook?
Connect with us if you are a creative or an influencer or have a neat idea because we love to collaborate. Baby Nook was birthed out of our love for quality simple baby products that we can stand by with our own little ones. Local Nook birthed out of our desire to connect locals to creative and inspiring products from our very own backyard of British Columbia.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
We are really excited to be a part of the River Market community and we hope to stick around for a while and grow with all the locals in the area. We thank all those who have come by to support us and share with us words of encouragement. It’s meant the world to us during these difficult times with the pandemic. We appreciate you!