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Rainsford Company's Next Chapter (and a Look Back at How Far We've Come)

by Andrea Doxey March 18, 2022

Rainsford Company's Next Chapter (and a Look Back at How Far We've Come)

As we enter our 5th year of business at Rainsford Company, it feels like the appropriate time to pause and look back before we leap ahead into our biggest change yet later this month: the opening of our first brick-and-mortar studio in Toronto.

The day the sign went up on Rainsford's brand new studio space.

The day the sign went up on our brand new studio space was one of the most exciting — and humbling — yet in my entrepreneurial journey.

On Spirit  

When it comes to what I share with our Rainsford community, I don’t often deviate from my passion for home decor—but I believe the entrepreneurial journey is worth sharing. It’s safe to say: If I had known how challenging it would be to start and grow a small business, I’m not sure I would have had the guts to choose this path. Naivety was a key ingredient in getting us to this stage. I’m a bit embarrassed to say that things in the past generally came pretty easily to me; grades, jobs, accolades, etc. All of those things are lovely and great for your confidence as a young professional, but they do not toughen you up for the journey that is entrepreneurship and the resilience and patience it takes to endure the ride!

“In this ever-changing society, the most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart. They are real and sustainable. Their foundations are stronger because they are built with the strength of the human spirit, not an ad campaign. The companies that are lasting are those that are authentic.”

— Howard Shultz, Past CEO of Starbucks  

On Growing

Some of you may know that Rainsford Company was run out of my house for the first 3 years before we moved to our current studio space. With that came a great commute, flexible work hours, and little overhead.

But it wasn’t without its challenges. During the day, I would draft all of our social posts and emails, place product orders and respond to customers. Then, my husband, Steve, and I would have dinner together, and I would move on to packing any orders that came in throughout the evening. As the orders grew, so did the questions from the delivery drivers: “What is this stuff?”... “What’s the website name?”

Collage of images displaying what the early days of Rainsford's shipping and receiving looked like. Boxes on the front porch, skids of boxes in the driveway and transport trucks in front of the house.

What the early days of Rainsford's shipping and receiving looked like — Boxes on boxes on boxes!

In the beginning, running every part of the business was worth my personal time. It helped me learn the ins and outs of the customer journey, cash flow, and the importance of surrounding yourself with people that believe in you when you are spending WAY too much time alone with your thoughts. This solo effort was a lot— it’s clearly evident in the photo below of Steve and me packing orders the day I was booked for my induction, 10 days late with our daughter, Margot! I spent the next year taking care of our new baby (often bouncing her in the BabyBjorn) while I worked to grow the business to a point where I could afford the help I knew I needed.

Collage of images displaying the early days of packing up orders in the basement.

Our daugther Margot has been Rainsford Company's top employee since the birth.

On Team

Our first hire was a scary endeavor. It was the first real commitment we were making to someone else, and I wanted really badly for it to work out. Luckily, it did! Since then, we have hired two additional people and it truly feels like a team now. Providing employment to a group of hard-working and determined women that are committed to the Rainsford Company brand is a big part of what keeps me going. It feels like an exciting project we are all navigating together, and everyone is bringing their diverse skills to the table to make for a stronger customer experience—something I am truly proud of.

The team in front of the Rainsford Company sign at the new headquarters — From left to right: Nicole Langfield, Leighann Hill, myself, and Jen Masseau. We cannot wait to welcome you all in to shop and connect!

The team in front of the Rainsford Company sign at the new headquarters — From left to right: Nicole Langfield, Leighann Hill, myself, and Jen Masseau. We cannot wait to welcome you all in to shop and connect!

On Support

Steve has been my sounding board, my support, and my biggest cheerleader every step of the way. I’m not sure how any of it would really be possible without him as my North Star. Both of our parents have played huge roles in the success of our small business and their support is something for which I will forever be grateful.

Rainford Company's new studio in the raw — pre-renovations - on the day we got the keys.

Rainford Company's new studio in the raw — pre-renovations! — on the day we got the keys. Finally, room to breathe!

Earlier this year, my dad came to the rescue to take on the renovation of our warehouse space when I was shocked at the quotes we were receiving from local contractors. He said he couldn’t stand by and watch us overpay for something when he knew how hard we had worked to get to that stage.

Collage of images displaying the renovation process and product being moved into the space.

The renovations begin! Steve, my dad, and my mom all put in countless hours of work to help out with floor planning, construction, painting, and furniture assembly.

My mom has spent countless hours teaching me about retail, helping source unique products, and encouraging me to be myself on social media when I was filled with self-doubt. Truthfully, I call her every day and we always touch on Rainsford Company at least once in the conversation. I asked her recently whether she was ever annoyed that I called so much and she replied with, “Will you be annoyed if Margot wants to talk to you every day?” Enough said. If there was a bigger sentiment than “Thank you,” it would be applicable to my support system. I hope I make you proud in this next chapter.

1st Image: Andrea and her mom Anne packing boxes in the basement, Rainsford Company's first

My mom, Anne, and I packing boxes out of Rainsford Company's first "studio space" (a.k.a. the basement of Steve's and my first home; and, my dad, Don, and my mom by my side on my wedding day.

On the Future

The team and I have talked a lot about the future of retail being a blend of physical and digital experiences. As consumers, we all appreciate the convenience of shopping online, but miss the feeling of walking into a beautiful shop with a friendly face welcoming us. Our goal for opening our brick-and-mortar studio is to foster greater human connection with our customers both near and far. We’ll do this through things like virtual shopping, live events broadcast online, and more video. I believe we are out of the infant stage of our small business and are now firmly in the toddler stage. We are busy finding our niche and becoming more independent. We have a whole world of opportunity ahead of us.

Setting up the new studio space at 24 Newbridge Road, in Etobicoke.
Setting up the new studio space at 24 Newbridge Road, in Etobicoke.

Setting it all up in the newly renovated Rainsford Company Studio at 24 Newbridge Road, in Etobicoke.

To our dear customers: We can’t wait to welcome you into our next chapter. We hope you pop-in to say hi the next time you are in Toronto! You’ve made it all possible, and there’s still so much to come.

XO


After months of dreaming, scheming and an up-to-the-rafters renovation, the Rainsford Company Studio is ready for visitors!

To celebrate our upcoming retail opening, we’re popping up from Thursday, March 24th to Sunday, March 27th to welcome you into our new brick-and-mortar space.
(Regular weekday hours will begin in April.)

Drop by to check out the studio, shop the new Spring Collection, and get to know our just-launched line of exclusive, custom-upholstered furniture.



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