Hustle & Go - N-Product

Hustle & Go

It's been almost a year since I left my full-time job to dive head first into this little entreprise of ours. In my past life, meetings were an essential way of doing business. Meetings to pitch clients. Meetings to receive our design briefs. Meetings to brief the team. Meetings to check and measure the projects status. Then of course, all the other little meetings sandwiched in between. You get the drift.

Now meetings are still an important part of doing business—emails, phone calls and carrier pigeons just don't cut it sometimes—they're just not a daily occurence and they're certainly not scheduled back to back to back to back. 

Then Thursday, October 11 happened. I usually try to use 1 or 2 days a week to have meetings, and with that there's usually only 2 max. I find that they really cut into the day and I lose momentum to my design and or production process. 

This day can either be viewed as a master stroke or the dumbest thing a small business owner can try to pull off. I had 6 meetings at 6 different locations with 8 different people plus a surprise canine appearance.

Here we go...

8 am (Global N-Product HQ): Rise and shine.

9:00 am (Nepean): Dropped our son at his grandparents/caregivers. Had breakfast with jr. He had oatmeal, I had toast.

10:00 am (Chinatown): Met up with Matt, a photographer, a videographer and general getting-shit-doner for a local creative agency. Matt has been an early supporter of ours. I was delivering some goods that Matt had recently bought. We try to personally deliver to all local customers as a part of our White Tuxedo Local Delivery Service™. We're a small local company that wouldn't be around without the support of our local community. It was also a good opportunity to hang out with him and enjoy some tasty tea.

11:00 am (Westboro): Met with Mike and (another) Matt to talk about a possible future collaboration. Mike had discovered Matt and his na Coille Studio via a web search that resulted in some sexy cutting boards that Matt makes and that I had a very small hand in. Matt and I are friends, former colleagues at a design agency in Ottawa and collaborators on a bunch of past and upcoming projects.

Mike designs and produces really high-end custom furniture that has a altruistic angle. It was a first time meeting between the 3 of us. It was great to meet someone else in town that is making physical products with a global client base. Mike thinks big. No doubt, his name will start popping up more in Ottawa and the world in general.

12:00 pm: Thought about grabbing a sandwich to eat on the way to the next one. Didn't.

12:15 pm (Westboro): Dropped into Viens avec moi to chat with Chris and got a surprise greeting at the door by his dog, Nathaniel (Nate) James. A photogenic set for sure. We were to chat about throwing some of our product onto their walls and shelves. The founders of VAM, Sophie and Renee, have carved out a really unique fashion destination in Ottawa. They have a great visual aesthetic for their boutique, they also have just been featured in Herd Magazine's inaugural issue. 

VAM will be the first spot in Ottawa that will have our goods. We're in shops in Toronto, Vancouver, NYC, London and Seattle, but it's always good to get some local love.

Side note: The ladies of VAM are also the brains and muscles behind one of Ottawa's hottest modeling agencies, MIM.

1:00 pm (Downtown): Headed deep into the heart of darkness, downtown Ottawa during lunch time. I had inertia on my side. I had a chat scheduled with Sharif and Alex. I had met Sharif via Creative Mornings Ottawa, of which he is a co-organizer. We spoke about custom art pieces based on our Urbanwood line. This project will involve protected bird species and a recognized region as a pilot project in the Ottawa-Gatineau area, all cumulating to a potential gala of some sort. I am really excited about this project, I've got a bit-of-a-thing for birds.

2:30 pm (The Glebe): Almost the home stretch, I made my way towards Slaysh, a cool boutique that for 5 years, has been huge supporter of the local arts & music scene. I was meeting with Sarah to talk about a possible collaboration of some sort. What started out as us possibly stocking their shelves in some way turned into an amazing offer from Sarah to have a little pop-up install in their space PLUS taking a window display for a three week run. We jumped at this opportunity, now we have to put our heads together to come up with a unique display that stays true to our brand while meshing well with their interior. This is a first for us, but we're really keen to do this in our home town. We'll just add to the litany of firsts that we have done in the past 2 years. We think we can think of something pretty special for Slaysh.

Slaysh was also featured in issue #1 of Herd Mag. The folks at Herd have an eye for talented, hard working people.

3:10 pm (Bank Street): Crash back into my car. Took a breather. This could have been what marathoners call "the wall". Made a mental note to stretch and stock those gross power gel thingies if there's a next time.

3:30 pm (Westboro—Again): After the great meeting with Sarah, I headed back towards Westboro to do another delivery. Ariane bought a tee during our first appearance at Urban Craft. She was helping with the David's Tea stand. She had run up to us when the event ended and bought the tee as a gift for her dad. Nothing like making a sale while you're packing up. We got an email from her later that weekend, asking if we she get another tee. Her boyfriend had claimed ownership of the previous tee. We were more than happy to help her out. I am huge tea drinker, but up to that point, I have not tried anything at David's Tea. Ariane was nice to enough to buy me a tea. I had the 'Oh Canada' flavour, a lively tea with a maple syrup kick. Nice!

4:00 pm (Nepean): Picked up Jr and headed home.

Days like these are pretty rare. Sure I missed lunch, but what I gained from meeting and interacting with customers and collaborators all day gave me some added energy and motivation. A lot of what we do harkens back to the past and the way things were done. Obviously, we get a lot done with technology and the web, but there's something magical when a smile, a solid handshake and a straight look in the eyes are your business tools for the day.

Dominic Coballe
Dominic Coballe


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