Shop local and talk local with The Olfactory Shop + Lilac and Clover!

Entrepreneurs and YYC small business owners Jess, from Lilac and Clover, and Micki, owner of The Olfactory Shop talk biz and how they build their businesses collaboratively with the community.

Photographer Sydney Butters was on site snapping photos of Jess and Micki at Oak + Tonic in Southcentre Mall, while Analog Coffee fuelled the team's inspiration. 

Jess: Shopping local and Canadian made has always been huge for me. And these days, it’s become so, so easy to do! With so many amazing Calgarian companies starting up all the time, it’s not hard to find quality products and services right in your own backyard. For me, opening a business in Calgary has been an amazing way to meet other entrepreneurs, like Micki, and support other local businesses. Plus, dreaming up awesome collaborations, like this one with Micki, Connor, Sydney, Wil, and Analog, are such a blast and benefit the entire community, too!

Micki: I started The Olfactory Shop in 2015 selling essential oils to friends and family. I was itching for something entrepreneurial to do outside of volunteering and working. While I was whipping up natural sunscreen one day, my partner said “why don’t you start selling what you make?” and I remember hopping on my laptop that day and researching how to get a logo made. Since then, I’ve grown to sell in retail shops, at markets and ramped up my online business. Nowadays, it’s my full-time baby.

Jess: I’ve also just transitioned into running Lilac and Clover full time! It all started as just a little side hustle when I was working full time in my career. I wanted something more creative, and hands-on, and liked the idea of becoming my own boss one day, though I never really pictured when or how that could happen. I was always big into making my own skincare products from scratch, with real, healthy ingredients. I had also just learned about minimalism and was ‘Konmarie’-ing my whole house at the time ha-ha. I loved the idea of providing simple, natural skincare products that could multitask and do the job of 4 or 5 different stores bought products.

Micki: Running The Olfactory Shop is rewarding beyond anything. It lets me take care of my health, push myself further than I thought possible (and continues to each day) and learn lessons by the hour it seems! But one thing it doesn’t give me is a team. So I’ve really had to build my own community up and get over any fear of asking questions. That’s how I met Jess.


Micki: Knowing that I need community, I joined a number of Facebook groups for entrepreneurs. There is one in particular that I feel safe to ask absolutely any question and know I will be gifted a diverse sea of thoughtful answers. One day I asked if someone would proofread a newsletter I was about to send out to my customers. Jess kindly volunteered and through this, we became biz besties.

Jess: I remember that day! We exchanged email drafts and shared thoughts and ideas. It was amazing to have someone as a sounding board! As a ‘solopreneur’ myself, it was nice to have another like-minded entrepreneur, doing the same type of work, to chat with. We finally met in person at Analog in Southcenter to talk email lists, and again to brainstorm increasing our website traffic, and the rest is history. One of my favourite projects to date has been our Root Beer Soda soap collab!  




Micki: We found a shared set of values around the environment, our bodies and how we dream of impacting the world. We have been able to learn so much from one another and work on the best collaborations. I mean, naturally scented root beer soap? These are the dreamy things that happen when we put our passions together. It’s really so true that together we rise. Jess lifts me and pushes me the same as any business partner would. She is my sister in business and I can’t wait to see how each of our companies continue to grow with our communities.

Next time you're at Southcentre Mall, be sure to stop by Oak + Tonic, say hello and take a peek at some delicious smelling and fabulous feeling products from our friends at The Olfactory Shop and Lilac and Clover - we promise, you WON'T regret it! 

And while you're at it, might well shop Canadian, pop into Below the Belt and treat yo' self to something special from our proudly made in Canada collection! ;)