Laurinda Lee-Retter with Kind Karma
Running a business

Laurinda Lee-Retter is Paying It Forward with Kind Karma's Handcrafted Jewellery

Name: Laurinda Lee-Retter

Location: Toronto, ON

Business: Kind Karma Company

What does your business offer? 

Kind Karma is a social enterprise that employs at-risk and homeless youth to handcraft fine jewelry.

What seasonal products are you introducing this holiday season?

We will be introducing a new “Frosted Collection” featuring bolder pieces with crystals for maximum sparkle this holiday season! We had also recently launched new pieces centred around symbols with special meaning for the fall.

Check out Kind Karma's Frosted Collection in the QuickBooks Holiday Gift Guide.

Kind Karma hand crafted jewellery

What are some of the challenges you face during the holiday season that you have overcome or are working to overcome?

As a seasonal business that does a large portion of our revenue over the final months of the year, the holiday season is always challenging. As much as we try to anticipate the rush by preparing products beforehand, nothing can quite alleviate the fact that we still have to package and send all the orders. In addition, with Canada Post often overwhelmed during this time of the year as well, we always get an influx of inquiries about delivery times. We have, however, learned to do what we can in advance of the season to prepare so we can devote most of our energy to getting orders fulfilled and helping customers who need it.

What do you think is the most important thing a business owner needs to do to prepare for the holiday season?

Aside from certain business tasks (such as making sure you have supply, stock, shipping materials etc.), I think taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do to prepare for the holiday season. It’s hard to be working long days if you’re not physically and mentally at your best so I think making sure you get ample rest, eat healthy foods and staying hydrated are all things you can do to make sure you’re ready to tackle the long hours and even longer days.

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Much like the rest of the year, QuickBooks is a lifesaver simply because it helps me easily and efficiently keep my finances in check.

How do you keep sane during the holiday season?

I’ve learned that working out is the key to managing my stress so I always schedule time during my day, especially during the holiday season, to make a trip to the gym or take a class. It’s the one hour where I won’t think about business, the tasks I still have to do or the stress of any obstacles and just focus on sweating it all out. I always leave feeling mentally recharged and ready to get back to it!

What advice can you offer to up-and-coming small business owners during the holiday season?

I would tell small business owners to make sure they prioritize self care! I think when things get busy and you’re just trying to check all the items off your to-do list, it’s easy to forego taking care of yourself in order to help your customers have the best experience with your business. I remember during my first holiday season, my days were a blur of work, eat and little sleep - I totally neglected to take care of myself and didn’t take the time to do even small things that I enjoyed. It lead to many breakdowns and I have since learned that even though things get busy, it’s important to still find time to take care of ourselves because we can’t pour from an empty cup. So even if it’s an hour a day, take time to do something you enjoy because it will only enhance your business and the relationship you have with it.

What holiday traditions do you and your family take part in?

I absolutely love Christmas so I try to do all the little things that make Christmas special. Every year, we watch a Christmas movie (most often Elf) and decorate a tree. Even though we have no children, my husband and I hang up our stockings (there’s an additional one for our pup!) and we fill them for each other over the month of December so we have little surprises to open on Christmas morning. It's a beautiful time and even though it’s super busy for me as a small business owner, I try to find little moments to enjoy traditions like these whenever I can.

How do you see QuickBooks helping you during the holiday rush?

Much like the rest of the year, QuickBooks is a lifesaver simply because it helps me easily and efficiently keep my finances in check. It makes paying my employees, keeping track of my expenses and managing sales simple which is key when you’re juggling a lot of things at once, especially during the holiday rush!

What is your favourite holiday song and why?

It may be a bit unconventional but my favourite thing to play during the holiday season is the Nutcracker ballet! As a classical musician, I grew up loving this ballet and even performed it during my first year at university. It always brings back happy memories so I play it every year during the holiday season as I’m baking cookies or decorating the tree!

How do you decompress after the holiday rush?

I take a vacation! Whether it’s a couple of days at a cabin or a longer vacation in another country, I always find it’s important to take time off and recharge after the rush of the holiday season. The change of scenery really helps me decompress and the time away helps me prepare to tackle the new year.

What are the next big plans you have for your business?

I think next year, we are focusing on more collaborations with other artists and businesses in the community so we can combine our efforts and collectively grow the impacts of our work. I think it will be fun to bring in fresh ideas and creativity to produce pieces that resonate with both our existing and new audiences.

To learn more about Kind Karma and support their business, visit their website or check them out on Instagram.

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