Far & Wide celebrating successful first year in Kamloops with 'birthday party' - InfoNews

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Far & Wide celebrating successful first year in Kamloops with 'birthday party'

Callie Duncan and Brianne Sheppard have seen success in their first year of business by featuring local makers at their shop, Far & Wide.
June 03, 2019 - 5:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - It's been a year since Callie Duncan and Brianne Sheppard decided to take the leap from teaching creative workshops to having a full-fledged shop and workspace with Far & Wide. Now they are ready to celebrate all their "birthday"  with some other Kamloops business owners.

“You could call it our anniversary, but we’re calling it a birthday because birthdays are more fun,” Duncan said.

Far & Wide opened at 4th and Victoria last year, as did some other businesses in the same building. The duo credit a strong sense of unity as one of the driving factors behind the success of Far & Wide.

“It’s about being part of that community and recognizing that it’s not the individual effort that we’re putting in, it’s everything around us," Duncan said.

“When we moved into this space last year, Freshslice Pizza was also preparing to open, as was Paper Unicorn. A couple of months after we moved in, in the fall, and The Wellness Centre upstairs also opened. So there's a bunch of new businesses in this building and we’re all coming up on that anniversary, so we're all celebrating,” Sheppard explains.

The birthday week celebrations will include sales, prizes, and giveaways. On Saturday, the businesses celebrating their shared anniversary will combine forces to put on a block party with grand prize draws and free Scoopz ice cream between 12-2.

“For our grand prize draws, we're asking that people stop into our store, to Freshslice, and to Paper Unicorn to get their card stamped. So it’s encouraging people to go around to check out these businesses they maybe haven’t before,” says Sheppard.

Some of the grand prizes include a night at the Delta hotel, dinner at the new Cordo restaurant, prizes from the store, a massage from The Wellness Centre, and some additional surprises.

The first year of business was a big learning process for the pair, who had no previous experience in running a store. They knew they wanted to celebrate Kamloops and the local creators, and they accredit that as a main factor for their success now.

“We want the store to provide an option to support local or shop products you might not find other places, but we also really want to focus on building that community, being part of it, being part of the downtown community, Duncan explains. “People here in Kamloops continue to pleasantly surprise us with how supportive and enthusiastic they are.”

Duncan and Sheppard met in high school, and each went on their own path afterward. Years later, they reconnected and decided to undertake an endeavour neither of them had really considered before.

Sheppard says she noticed how beautiful Duncan’s home was from an Instagram post, and that’s what rekindled their connection.

“I invited myself over for coffee, and we started talking about doing workshops and how there was some things missing in Kamloops that we didn’t have,” explains Sheppard. “The next time we talked, I had (rented) us a space and committed her to it.”

“Her exact words were, 'Well, I really want to do this, so I hope you do too’,” Duncan said, with a laugh.

The duo had never started their own business before, but quickly undertook the planning and preparation for their workshops. They taught macrame, fabric dying, weaving, terrarium building, and much more.

A studio space in Dallas was their headquarters for about a year and a half, until demand grew too large and they knew it was time to change it up.

“Sometimes you really just have to follow where life leads you. If you try and plan for everything, you’ll miss opportunities,” said Sheppard.

They were able to get their current location without any external funding, and claimed to learn quickly how to be frugal yet create a pleasing aesthetic. The duo decorated the store with things from their own home, DIY projects, and some plants. Sheppard claims that the plants were just initially for decoration, but when people kept trying to buy them, the pair decided to create a miniature jungle to meet the needs of shoppers.

“We’ve been laughing a little bit looking back at pictures of when we first opened, because the store looked so empty compared to now,” said Duncan.

Far & Wide has become a hub for locally made and Canadian made goods such as jewelry, skin care, home decor, cards, and much more. They now carry work from more than 25 local creators.

“We want to be a jumping off point for people,” Duncan said. “If someone’s been doing  farmer’s markets for a while and they want to start getting into stores, they may find it difficult, because lots of times stores want references.”

Creating success for themselves and sharing it with community creators is just the start for Far & Wide. They will continue to hold creative workshops whenever possible, and have recently decided to begin a book club. Sheppard jokes that she had set out four chairs for the first meeting of the book club, and didn’t have the additional 36 chairs needed when the attendance exceed expectations tenfold. She states the pair have been making leaps together, with no plans to slow down.

“We didn’t know that we’d be here this time last year, and I’m sure this time next year it'll surprise us,” said Duncan. “It’s been a great ride so far. We're excited, whatever the future holds.”


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