“In all honesty, I think the whole entrepreneurial spirit thing started in high school.”
Shanda Jerrett laughs as she thinks back to the days when she was labeled a troublemaker for thinking outside the box in school. The owner of Vancouver’s GumDrops Wet Weather Boutique, and the GumDrops e-commerce site says she was driven to start a business because of her desire to go above the standard and to question the norm. Emphasizing that she doesn’t do well with mediocrity, Shanda equates entrepreneurship to creativity.
“I think the entrepreneurial spirit is like dance or art, you’re kind of that rogue entity that is on the outside of what society says you should be.”
Shanda’s journey to GumDrops began with a cute pair of rain boots. Upon her arrival from sunny Australia to rainy Vancouver, she was faced w
ith the problem of trying to stay dry and stylish at the same time. The constant attention and requests for a similar pair of boots were the genesis for her idea of a wet weather boutique, and online shopping experience for those in need of chic rain gear outside of Vancouver.
Looking back, Shanda gets emotional when she considers how much success she has achieved in such a short amount of time. “I wanted to make people smile,” she says, her voice catching. “For sure, the
success and the impact I’ve had on Vancouverites has been phenomenal. We’ve been in about five circumstances where weather and popularity have been against us, and we’ve completely sold out of boots. People are just battering down the door, asking us when we are getting deliveries in.”
The success of GumDrops is made all the more special as Canada moves into the recovery phase of the economic crisis. Shanda calls entrepreneurship vital in helping Canada’s economy grow and flourish, urging future entrepreneurs to be aware of the economic situation, to keep their “head down, bum up” as they work at and grow their business.
“I think the great thing about being an entrepreneur is the flexibility. If something does or doesn’t happen, you can pivot on a dime and change direction, where large corporations don’t have the ability to do that. One of my friends told me ‘A large corporation is like a tanker. They take so long to turn around. A small entrepreneur is like a tugboat. It can just whip around and be flexible.’”