I discovered Little Pink Door Boutique (LPD) 3 years ago when I was on my lunch break at Northwoods Village, in North Vancouver, BC. I noticed their mannequins outside their store and they were having a sale.
I went in planning on just trying on a white off-the-shoulder blouse that I found on one of their mannequins but about 15 minutes later I walked out with the aforementioned blouse, white Joseph Ribkoff capris with pom-poms, sandals with bling AND a matching bracelet! I was preparing for the following year’s Le Diner en Blanc (i had just attended the exclusive event).
I met Deb that day and had a great time chatting with her. I thought she was the Owner of LPD but she said no, that would be her best friend, Colette Bennett.
M: When did you open Little PInk Door Boutique?
C: I opened Little Pink Door on March 1st, 2016! So this month actually marks our 5th Year Anniversary! Usually we do a big birthday celebration with an in-store event with live music, appys, and wine.
In the past, we have seen up to 90 women in attendance at our event. This year with the pandemic we won’t be able to do that! However it’s a big milestone for us as it is not only our 5th Birthday but also it’s the 5th year in a row that we have won Favourite Boutique on the North Shore with Reader’s Choice!
We are planning a Facebook Live Event on Thursday, March 25th from 7-8pm. We will do a fashion show, have tons of giveaways, announce our donation to Sage Transition. Still working out the details but want to make this a fun, engaging and memorable event!
M: Did you always want to own a clothing boutique?
C: So, I’ve always LOVED clothes and the Fashion World! I remember spending all my allowance on Fashion Magazines and would go through them page by page. However, I really hated the experience of shopping: finding unique items, the service and the overall process.
Back in 2011, I started to turn my dream into a reality and developed a business plan to open up a clothing boutique. I already knew I would name it Little Pink Door! I’ve had the domain for more than a decade and back then used the website to showcase my photographs. I have a huge passion photographing doors. And of course, PINK is my favourite colour hence — Little Pink Door!
M: Where are you from? If you moved to Vancouver, why did you move here?
C: I was born and raised in North Vancouver and have lived here my entire life. I absolutely LOVE the North Shore and can’t think of a better place to live!
M: What was your inspiration for your business?
C: Well, my inspiration was to create a retail space that was completely unique to what was currently out there! My vision is to be a leading go to boutique destination for women by providing them with the perfect blend of product, customer focused experience in an in store environment that fosters friendship, trust and loyalty!
The inspiration for the store design was to make it feel like a beautiful dream walk-in closet filled with so many wonderful and beautiful things!
M: A little bird told me that you used to be in marketing. Did you enjoy your former career?
Yes, I was. And I still am! Marketing Little Pink Door is my passion! Back at LPD’s inception I developed the brand strategy, brand personality and logo. Today I look after all the marketing efforts including developing unique promotions, social media, and CRM (Customer Relationship Management).
M: What did you do prior to opening Little Pink Door?
C: Before opening Little Pink Door I worked in the Corporate world in Marketing for 25 years! I worked for some fabulous companies and some not so fabulous.
The one fabulous company I worked for was Starbucks for 10 years and was their Marketing Manager for Western Canada. It was at Starbucks where I learned and developed skills in brand marketing and understanding the importance of marketing an experience over simply a product or service.
It was the best education I have ever had and I believe what I learned from Howard Schultz (former CEO, Chairman and Founder of Starbucks) has helped define Little Pink Door and the success we’ve had to date.
M: Where did you study marketing or was it a profession you fell into? If you studied it, which institution did you attend?
C: Once I left high school I went to Emily Carr and wanted to become a professional Fashion Photographer. I finished the first year and got accepted into the photography program but couldn’t afford it!
From there I accepted an entry level position at a large company. They were willing to pay for my education part time so I decided that the most creative part of business was marketing so that’s what I decided to pursue. I went to BCIT (British Columbia Institute of Technology) and did the Marketing Communications program all part time in the evening. It took 5 years to complete! A fabulous program and school!
M: What would your advice to future owners with dreams of owning their own boutique be?
C: From an emotional standpoint – don’t let anyone talk you out of your dream. Surround yourself only with people that help feed your passion and are positive. Stay the course.
From a business perspective – develop a robust business plan that includes all aspects of your dream business. Include financial forecasts, SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis, competitive analysis, define your target market, and develop a marketing plan.
The business plan for LPD took me 2 years to develop and it became the foundation of my business. And I still do annual business plans that I share with my fabulous team of ladies who work with me so we are all aligned on where we are headed!
M: Do you have a philosophy in life or famous quote you would like to share with everyone?
“Dream more than others think practical. Expect more than others think possible. Care more than others think wise!” — Howard Schultz
M: Are there any milestones for Little Pink Door that you would like me to mention in the Business Feature?
C: As mentioned earlier, we are celebrating our 5th Year Anniversary with a live Facebook Event on Thursday, March 25th from 7-8pm! And we are also celebrating that we have won Reader’s Choice Awards for Favourite Local Boutique on the North Shore for the 5th year in a row!