IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Heidi and Nikki of Liz & Lottie

Meet Nikki and Heidi, the masterminds behind one of our favourite gift shops and the most entertaining Instagram account, Liz & Lottie.  Feeling uninspired in their finance jobs, they decided to turn their shopping addiction into a business. Named after their favourite female role models (their grandmothers), Nikki & Heidi have turned their passion into the successful business it is today.

1. There is nothing more entertaining than watching the two of you live on your Instagram stories.  Your friendship, interactions and conversations literally have us in stitches daily. It's not only a pleasure to watch your socials but to shop your unique and fun filled gifts and homewares. Where did the motivation come to create Liz & Lottie?
    We both have a background in finance, and one day found ourselves working for the same mortgage company. We quickly discovered that we shared the same work ethic, both loved tequila, and equally hated our jobs. The idea of opening a retail store came from one of our regular drunken bitch sessions. Once we made the leap, there was no turning back! Neither one of us had any retail experience but were both highly motivated to escape our unfulfilling careers.
    We chose the name Liz & Lottie after Nikki's Oma Liz and Heidi's Grandma Lottie.
    2. There's a special bond between you both being good friends & business partners. We'd love to know how you believe your co-founder would describe you?
    Heidi: I think Nikki would describe me as being quiet, having a dry sense of humour and being the only person, she knows who celebrates McHappy Day like it's birthday.
    Nikki: Heidi would probably say that I'm scattered, an over thinker, and funny.... but more weird funny! 

    3. We imagine it is a great deal of fun researching new products that fit with Liz & Lottie. Who does most of the shopping? What roles do you each play in the business and has your interest or role changed over the years?
    When you think about it, we are professional shoppers. Bringing in the best variety of fun, fashionable, giftable and unique items for our customers is our top priority. It's really the best job ever, and one that we've trained most of our lives for!
    We both do all of the buying, and call it a two-person democracy. If we both don't love it, we don't buy it. 
    We share most of the daily tasks (managing inventory, bookkeeping, shipping, receiving, website updates/maintenance, social media, customer communication, etc). Nikki enjoys being creative and Heidi would rather work with numbers, so it works out quite well! 

    4. We know everything in store is trialled and tested, usually evidenced in stories. Is there a product in store that you could not live without?
    We have carried hundreds of different products over the past 5 years, but the one we could confidently say we couldn't live without is the Collapsible Popcorn Popper. It is an eco friendly way to have microwave popcorn without using oil. All you do is add 5 Tbsp of popcorn kernels to the bowl and microwave for 2-4 minutes. And the bowl collapses when not in use. Easy peasy!
    Neither of us enjoy cooking, so popcorn is a go-to meal for both of us!
    And obviously, the Ritology Smooth Operator Razor! Although if I never had to shave again, I think I'd live. 

    5. Social media is often the highlight reel, as let’s be honest, it's not that exciting sharing stories of paperwork or tax time. What part of running your business would people find most surprising?
    People might be surprised to learn that there are just 2 of us doing everything. We have our hands in literally every aspect of the business. We do the buying, when the shipments come in we unpack and inspect each item, we add all of the products to our website (including photos, product descriptions, etc), we pack up all of the online customer orders and ship them out (sometimes hand deliver them), in each customer order we include a candy bag that we make ourselves, we manage daily/monthly bookkeeping, inventory, social media, answer emails and respond to messages, build custom gift baskets for a realtor partner, and deal with any additional things as they come up!

    6. 2020 has brought many challenges. Liz & Lottie initially started out as purely a brick & mortar shop however now you've made the pivot and are exclusively online. We'd love to hear what you've learned over the last few years, how you have managed, and what you are looking forward to.
    2020! Ugh! What a year! When we first opened the brick & mortar store in 2016, an online store wasn't even on our radar! We quickly learned that it was a very important component for our business. We busted our butts to create the e-commerce site and it was a much bigger task than we ever could have imagined! But so worth it in the end! By the time COVID hit we were able to adapt fairly seamlessly. Our customers were amazing and supported us through the transition to being an online only shop. 
    In the beginning, our customers were mostly local to Calgary, so we're looking forward to reaching new people and sharing our great products with a larger audience.

    7. As you know, we are self care advocates. I'm all for my hot bath, wine and a podcast. I even have your wine glass holder in my tub!  How do you take care of you? What are your favourite self care rituals?
    As you both know first hand, it's hard to carve out time for yourself when you own a business. We don't have business hours, so evenings and weekends turn into just another day at work. We both believe self care is essential to prevent burning out and with Nikki having a 1 year old at home, 
    our versions of self care look a bit different.
    Heidi: Drinking a very large glass of wine while wearing sweatpants and binge watching murder shows.
    Nikki: Leaving her husband and 1 year old at home to peacefully stroll through Costco. All. By. Herself.

    8. What is the craziest situation you’ve found yourself in in business, as friends or in store?
    OMG, we could write a book! Haha! One story that comes to mind is when we were working at our corporate jobs, the two of us went to a Mexican restaurant for lunch one day.  Pitchers of margaritas just happened to be on special. Two pitchers, a sombrero, and several shots later, we realized we had to go back to work. Our amazing server gave us the remaining margaritas to-go, so we walked back to the office drinking our delicious cocktails out of soup containers! I hope our old boss doesn't see this!

    You can shop or learn more about Liz & Lottie here: 
    Instagram: lizandlottieyyc

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