Kayla Gibbens - Über Cool Stuff
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Kayla Gibbens, I was born and raised in London, Ontario. After graduating from the Art Program at Beal S.S., I attended NSCAD University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where I attained my bachelor of Fine Art, and minor in Art History. I recently purchased Über Cool Stuff located in downtown London, my first time owning my own business.
Tell us about your business.
Über Cool Stuff has been in operation for over 5 years, and I was actually working as an employee of the business before purchasing it. Late in 2015, I was told the business was going up for sale and that a prospective buyer was coming in that next week. I took the chance and asked the purchasing price, and if the then current owner would allow me time to gather the funds in order to make an offer. Consequently, I contacted the Small Business Centre to discuss the viability of purchasing the business. With the support of the SBC which included great advice and acceptance into a grant program, I was able to take ownership June 2016.
The business employs 2 – 3 people (depending on season) beside myself and a bunch of volunteers for board game nights, Table Top Day, Free Comic Book Day and Family Board Game Day.
We are the “Unique Geek Boutique”, where you can shop for everyone in your family especially those hard to shop for people. We specialize in board games, but we have a wide range of goods including home and kitchen wares, office goods, vinyl collectables, cards, and art prints.
Was there something that drew (or pushed) you into being an entrepreneur?
I have always been interested in becoming an entrepreneur but could not decide on something I would like to do, or that seemed to click. Fortunately, after being an employee of the business, I stumbled into the opportunity to purchase Über Cool. Luckily, I realized it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to buy a business that which I understood the inner workings, truly loved, and was passionate about seeing it succeed.
What were some of the challenges you faced getting started and how did you overcome them?
I am still discovering and learning new aspects about the business every day.In the early days, getting all the distributors and contacts sorted and changed over was very hectic. It was a challenge because the business needed to be open and operational during this transition period. Now, I am working on refining some of the daily work to make it a bit easier in order to spend more time on research to learn more on how to grow and expand my business.
As a busy entrepreneur, what do you like to do when you take a break?
Believe it or not, when I have some free time I like to play games, be it board games or video games.
What advice would you give to someone starting a small business today?
You are going to encounter obstacles; you are going to be exhausted; and you will be forever learning, changing and evolving with your business along with several other issues that will blindside you.
Know your support network of people, friends, family, advisors, and councilors and do not be afraid to ask those people for help, assistance, and guidance.
Take time to yourself, and recoup your energy and clear your mind with whatever sustains you. This will allow you to stay strong in order to take on what comes next, and even if you stumble several times, to get back on track and try again.
What in the future for your business?
My plans are to expand in space and selection for the store. I take great pride in the unique diversity of goods Über Cool Stuff provides. I grin ear to ear with every gasp of excitement from people upon discovering something exciting and new to them.
Learn more about Über Cool Stuff at www.ubercoolstuff.com