Just east of Calgary’s downtown core is a trendy little district called Inglewood. It’s a community that’s brimming with unique and one-of-a-kind shops and shopping experiences. One such business is Espy – an affordable designer boutique owned by Megan Szanik, a passionate, forward-thinking entrepreneur who is providing a retail environment that gives men and women a place to see themselves in a completely new light. The Espy experience is about teaching clientele to love their bodies with the discerning advice and caring approach of highly trained in-house clothing stylists. The Espy staff will help you create a wonderful and lasting wardrobe, but it is the confidence you walk out with that tells the real story behind the Espy experience.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Megan recently to probe a little deeper into her business (which began as a designer discount concept in 2009); her guiding philosophies; and what Espy is about. It’s a story filled with risk-taking, gutsiness, hard-work and a whole lot of passion – elements successful entrepreneurs possess – yet Megan has the self-awareness to tell her story in a way that inspires and causes you to really listen to what she has to say. What we will share with you are some of the take-aways we captured that you can use to keep your entrepreneurial spirit strong and resilient.
HAVE A REAL PASSION FOR WHAT YOU ARE DOING
Megan is passionate about making a difference in people’s lives – whatever their shape, height or size. She channels this passion and energy into helping her clients feel special and sees Espy as a place for people to let go of faulty personal judgments and heal from the inside out … and she just happens to sell clothes.
FAILURE CAN GIVE CLARITY AND PURPOSE
You will fail at a number of things you do as an entrepreneur, whether it is a marketing initiative, a buying decision, or your entire business goes down the tube. Megan has had several business failures over the span of her career; however she doesn’t define herself as a failure. Everything she has experienced has given her greater clarity and purpose. The experiences that didn’t go as well as she thought, have been foundational in helping her continue to take risks and stay focused on her core purpose. “There is always something important to learn,” Megan says. “Learn it and move on.”
TAKE THE KIND OF RISKS THAT REQUIRE YOU TO BE DIFFERENT
Espy has shown their uniqueness through creative fundraising/crowdfunding events in support of Prostrate Cancer (#nakedespy) and the Special Olympics (#bikiniespy). Megan’s approach is to stop seeing barriers to making things happen, and just start.
Megan says: “Start with the idea of helping someone. Start asking others to partner and work with you. Start with the decision makers. Start connecting face-to-face with people in your community. Start a gutsy movement or two and people will get behind you because people love being a part of something exciting and meaningful.”
VALIDATE AND TRUST YOURSELF
Espy is now getting national coverage through media, which Megan is thrilled about, yet this is not how she validates herself and her business mission. Megan ‘trusts her gut’. She keeps herself grounded with meditation, exercise, and girlfriends who help her keep her thinking and ideas elevated. Because external conditions are forever changing, sometimes fleeting, Megan stays focused on her core values, and it’s building a lasting business.
It is said that money follows passion. Megan Szanik certainly proves this. Go to www.espyexperience.com to discover more about this defining retail business.
Big thanks to Megan for sharing her story and insights into “what it takes” to be a successful small business. What about you? Do you have a story or something to share? Leave a comment on the blog or Facebook Page, or send us a Tweet!