Business Unboxed: Vincent & Jules
Get ready to add some pep to your entryway step!
Vincent & Jules was established in 2018 when Jocelyn Ducedre, a Windsor resident, trialed (and also error-ed) designing and creating doormats as gifts for her friends and family. Word spread and she quickly started making doormats for others as well.
Fun fact: the name “Vincent & Jules” is a nod to the Quentin Tarantino classic “Pulp Fiction.”
I had the opportunity to ask Jocelyn about her business and some of the challenges that she, along with many other small businesses, has faced due to COVID.
1) How would you describe your business in 200 words or less?
I hand paint coir doormats which are completely customizable! Custom doormat designs can be made just for you or you can choose from a curated selection — perfect for switching up season-to-season.
Each doormat is painted to perfection and is ready to be stepped on (with love, of course).
I have recently introduced personalized acrylic bookmarks to my shop. They make beautiful and timeless gifts for just about anyone (including yourself). Acrylic bookmarks pair well with journals and books of all shapes and sizes — and they make super cute office accessories too.
2) Who are your target clients?
My target clients are just about everyone! I think a one-of-a-kind doormat with a clever saying, a family name or a pretty design makes anyone smile. I’ve had the pleasure of creating items for so many people, from across both Canada and the U.S.
3) What do your clients say about your business?
I have a repeat client who begins all of her emails with: “Hello Doormat Queen,” and it makes me smile every time. A positive customer service experience is so important to me — and I strive for it every chance I get.
I receive so much love and support from my clients. Every positive review, email, text, Instagram message, comment, or share means the absolute world to me, and goes a long way!
4) What are your plans for business growth? New services and/or products that clients can look out for?
I plan to continue expanding both my doormat collections and my acrylic selection. You’ll definitely find me at more pop-ups and markets in 2022 as well. I participated in a handful last year and thoroughly enjoyed it! You can find more information like dates and times on my social media closer to the event dates.
Seasonally I have a curated collection of doormats in-store at ‘Aggregate’ on Ottawa St. in Windsor, and plan to keep working with the wonderful team there.
5) What trends are you noticing in your industry? Have there been any major shifts?
Things are changing constantly, and as someone who is creating items for people who want the new and the now— I’ve got to keep up. It’s exciting when a trend pops up and I am able to join in on the excitement.
I keep in touch with my customers via social media; I use polls/feedback boxes to see what they want to see from my business, their likes, dislikes and with that, I am able to gain solid insight on current trends and what my next steps are.
My goal is to keep creating and trying new things! In order to keep pace with the ever-changing social media world (which is my main form of advertising), I’ve got to stay on top of what people want. I’ve committed to producing more videos, behind the scenes and reels this year! Let’s see how it goes!
6) How has COVID affected your business and what have you done to COVID-proof your business?
COVID has affected everyone — both personally and professionally. For me, it’s been a challenge to stay positive and keep the creativity flowing when there is so much going on outside my four walls that I cannot stay ahead of. I quickly realized I needed a fresh mindset and have been focused on controlling my “controllables” while simply doing my best.
COVID has affected all of us in one way or another and although it’s impossible to COVID-proof anything, it is possible to focus on things that keep your mind and body healthy — with that, you’ll be able to find balance and prioritize accordingly.
7) How have supply chain issues affected your business?
These truly are unprecedented times— and although we’ve all said it and heard it multiple times; the cliché rings true.
As a small business owner operating during a global pandemic, I’ve personally felt the pressure with not receiving products on time, in order to complete orders on my end, and feeling helpless when I ship orders out to customers.
Shipping delays due to an overwhelmed system, new safety standards and staff shortages are a few of the many obstacles that affect the overall process.
Communicating effectively and being transparent with customers while not overselling (selling an item without physically having it, with the hope your stock will arrive) has helped me to keep a handle on the situation.
Although placing orders earlier than I normally would or using an express shipping method, I still had to turn down sales because items were lost in transit, sold out or extremely delayed.
We’ve all had to shift the way we do things, our mindset and our expectations, it’s the ‘new normal’, if you will. From my experience, regardless of the issues I’ve faced as a small business, people have been kind and understanding. Adapting and adjusting, to the best of my ability, to the way things are now is the only way to move forward when there is so much unknown. I’m going to keep my head up and power forward!
8) What are your most popular items and/or gifts?
Custom doormats featuring family names are by far my most popular. I offer design proofs based on what you’d like your doormat to say before moving forward with the order — that way you can really see what your doormat will look like once fully realized.
Personalized acrylic bookmarks have proven to be a favorite as well! I’ve noticed clients usually purchase one (or five) as gifts, and one for themselves.
9) What advice would you give to others who might be considering starting a business?
Just do it! Move past the self-doubt, the fear, the hesitation, and whatever else is holding you back and just go for it. The phrase “starting a business” may sound a bit intimidating, so try to think of it as growing your passion. Start by creating a plan to help you to achieve your goals and don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
It may sound cliché but: have fun! I speak from personal experience when I say channeling your creativity and passions into something you’ve built and grown is extremely rewarding.
10) How can customers reach you?
You can always catch me via email as well: firstname.lastname@example.org
~ Contact Vincent & Jules ~
Vincent & Jules
Photos provided by Vincent & Jules