Technology: Peterborough woman’s business has $2 million in revenue a year — and it all started in a laundry room - - PressFrom - Canada
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Technology Peterborough woman’s business has $2 million in revenue a year — and it all started in a laundry room

19:45  01 october  2019
19:45  01 october  2019 Source:   thestar.com

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If you're thinking about starting a business , you likely already have an idea of what you want to sell, or at These questions can be answered in a well-written business plan. Investors can provide several million dollars or more to a fledgling company, with the expectation that the Crowdfunding has helped numerous companies in recent years , and there are dozens of reliable crowdfunding

a woman standing in front of a building: Funds to restore historic barns on her property overlooking Rice Lake helped spur entrepreneur Leslie Bradford-Scott to create her personal-care products company, Walton Wood Farm, five years ago.© Provided by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited Funds to restore historic barns on her property overlooking Rice Lake helped spur entrepreneur Leslie Bradford-Scott to create her personal-care products company, Walton Wood Farm, five years ago.

Entrepreneur Leslie Bradford-Scott describes her gruelling trek to the top as “uphill, with bare feet in mud, pouring rain, and a 50-pound sack on my back.”

That’s only slight hyperbole of how she got her fledgling business off the ground: driving around Ontario peddling 55-kilogram cases of bath salts.

Today, her five-year-old Peterborough-area company, Walton Wood Farm, makes over $2 million in annual revenue selling 80 different personal-care products for women, men and pets online and in 2,500 stores across North America.

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We walked into the laundry that next afternoon, and knew we had a diamond in the rough on our hands. We had a rough idea that a lender would give us terms in the range of 8.25% for 5 years So our initial investment would be the down payment (,750) plus the estimated start -up costs of

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Bradford-Scott, a high-school dropout with learning disabilities, has graduated from inexperienced industrialist to Peterborough County’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017. At age 54, she was also recently named to the “Fearless Over 50” list of women entrepreneurs on The Story Exchange website.

Her venture began unwittingly in her bathroom almost 20 years ago, when she was a stressed-out solo parent of two young girls.

“I would soak in the tub with music and candles and pretend I was somewhere else,” recalls Bradford-Scott.

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It all started as an after-school business for two high school boys. Now we're the largest franchised moving company in North America. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Peterborough is a proud member of the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and the Peterborough Home Builders Association.

Two years later, this Brooklyn-based company has created, and conquered, plenty of obstacles. What started as a flash of inspiration and a single Facebook ad grew into a million company in just two years — and that' s without any venture capital to seed the venture.

In 2014, those respites inspired a recipe for bath salts, using a pinch of humour, a heaping spoonful of creativity and mixed in a KitchenAid in her laundry room.

With quirky names like “Week From Hell” and “Winter’s a B*tch,” and labels printed with little stories, the gift items were infused with personal meaning, she explains.

While they spawned a range of popular specialty products made from natural and sustainable ingredients, problems with financing, manufacturing and marketing threatened to sink her start-up. Bradford-Scott was tempted to pull the plug but balked at watching “a lot of money” go down the drain.

From an initial personal investment of $5,000 — supplemented by $112,000 from grants and a competition prize — Bradford-Scott had accumulated a debtload of $250,000.

Quitting, she adds, would have meant the loss of jobs for half a dozen loyal, hard-working employees who live near her home-based business in Bailieboro, two hours northeast of Toronto.

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But Bradford-Scott had learned how to survive. As her family’s sole breadwinner in 2001, she sold cars in London, Ont., making $24,000 the first year.

To keep boredom at bay between customers at the dealership, she wrote screenplays “one Post-it note at a time.”

After working her way up to finance manager, taking home $130,000 a year, she yearned for a more satisfying career. She also met her future husband, Peter Scott, a farmer and small-plane pilot.

In 2013, the couple’s need for income and funds to restore historic barns on their dilapidated rural property overlooking Rice Lake got Bradford-Scott’s creative juices flowing, and Walton Wood Farm was born the following year.

While she learned about starting a business from books, podcasts and mentors, she discovered “thousands of details” firsthand.

Getting products into retailers’ hands by showing up at their shops was validating. “They would start reading the labels and chuckling, and say ‘These are really cute’,” she recalls.

Hand cream was an instant hit at Peterborough’s The Edison Espresso & Pastry Bar when owner Lindsay Brock put it on the counter for customers to try.

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The business currently has annualised revenues of million to million and Northcott expects it to bring in 0 million in the 2014 financial year . Aside from the casual staff it hires out, it has 50 full-time internal employees and offices in every state and territory.

Women Owned Business in the United States . More than 11.6 million firms are owned by women , employing nearly 9 million people, and generating .7 trillion in Women -owned firms (51% or more) account for 39% of all privately held firms and contribute 8% of employment and 4. 2 % of revenues .

“I started with one dozen but they went so fast I placed another order right away,” says Brock, who also carries lip balm and men’s items.

Customers “love the humour and quality of the products,” she adds.

Walton Wood’s founder still experiences growing pains.

“You’re always taking a lot of risk because the market changes, competitors come and go, customer preferences change … there’s no coasting,” she says, adding that money flows through your fingers like, well, bath water.

“I was just throwing it out there to see what would work,” says Bradford-Scott, citing early marketing campaigns on social media, podcasts, trade magazines and shows.

“You need about $550,000 in working capital at any given point,” she says.

Her products, manufactured in Ontario, Quebec and the U.S., are priced at “boutique level,” which translates to $15 for a lip-balm trio and $18 for hand and body lotion.

With $185,000 worth of restoration work completed by Cobourg-based Eli’s Construction, Bradford-Scott is ready to move her offices from the house to the barns.

Looking back, she adds: “It turns out that you can start a successful business on pure passion and self-training.”

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