2018 New Business of the Year Finalists

2018 New Business of the Year Finalists

< Back to Articles | Topics: Positive business environment | Published: January 1, 2018

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Who/What inspired you to open a new business?
Drug development is a complicated, highly regulated business that is a wonderful blend of pure science, statistics, public health policy and finance. Appili was formed as a collaboration between myself and an investment bank based in Toronto, to tackle the growing unmet medical needs in infectious disease. I am inspired by the opportunity to work with like-minded people who enjoy solving problems and pushing the boundaries of our knowledge.

Tell us one thing people may not know about your business?
The gender and cultural diversity of our team — our executive team is gender balanced and I am very fortunate to be joined by our Chief Financial Officer, Kimberly Stephens and Vice President of Drug Development, Jamie Doran — experts in their respective fields — as well as Sean McBride, Vice President of
Business Development. I believe the varied perspectives of our team members give us a major advantage. Our diversity provides fresh insights as we develop new treatments for infectious diseases.

Do you have any tips for people who are thinking about starting their own business?
Surround yourself with great talent. Running a business is hard and even with passion, innovation and drive, one person alone does not have the entire skill-set to run a successful business. It takes a team with many different talents, experiences and skills to bring ideas to fruition. While you may think you cannot afford to spend the time and resources to access the right individuals who are brilliant and uniquely talented, you cannot afford not to.


Why did you choose Halifax?
Our company chose Halifax as our place to do business because of the warm reception we received from the community after opening our first restaurant here. Halifax is a welcoming community that has only grown stronger in recent years. Doing business in Halifax and being part of the growth is very rewarding. It’s important for us to feel like we are part of something bigger than ourselves.

What is your proudest accomplishment?
The relationships we’ve built in Halifax. Being in the hospitality business it’s important to get to know people and make others feel welcomed. Halifax has made us feel welcomed and it’s a great feeling when you enter our dining room and see faces that have been supporting us since day one. These relationships with our vendors, suppliers, neighbours and guests are what we are most proud of so far.

How can we encourage youth to explore entrepreneurship as a possible future career?
Encouraging youth to explore entrepreneurship is so important to
our community. By giving our staff the opportunity to present ideas, fundraisers, menu changes and new job positions, we are giving them the opportunity to create their own projects. Our staff members are empowered by the ability to share ideas and implement them right here. It’s important to inspire youth to take on new projects in the workplace because they will be the ones to come up with the next great idea.


Tell us one thing people may not know about your business?
The one surprising thing many of our customers don’t know about our business is that the distillery is owned and operated by two ladies — and even more astonishing to people is that one of those ladies is our Master Distiller!

Where do you see your organization in 10 years?

Our vision is that within 10 years J.D. Shore rum is “the” rum — everyone will be drinking J.D. Shore rum and all the other rums are only a memory.

What is your proudest accomplishment?
Our proudest accomplishment is that Halifax Distilling Co. is the first rum distillery in downtown Halifax. Halifax Distilling Co. is the people’s distillery!

What has been the biggest challenge to being a new business?
Our biggest challenge has been money management — having the financial resources that allow the business to have enough product and enough staff to satisfy our customers’ requests in a timely manner.

Do you have any tips for people who are thinking about starting their own business?
We want to tell anyone starting their own business that they require tenacity — the strong ability to “keep on truckin’” when all the nay sayers say what you want to do can’t be done. Follow your dream. When you are following your dream, you keep your drive — no matter how dismal things may appear at times. Soon you will realize that even when you aren’t at work, you are living and breathing your dream — they are one in the same!


How did you get your start?
I had several small businesses grow- ing up, but in particular I began booking out Murphy’s on the Water’s boats for lifeguard summer cruises. I soon learned how to make a profit while creating a unique experience. I quickly expanded and then began a relationship with the Murphy family. I was fortunate enough to buy into their family business while mortgaging my home and my mother’s home (I love my mom who believed in me). I continued to buy more shares over time and eventually bought them out and merged with Dennis Campbell with Ambassatours. I worked with Dennis
as my partner for a few years and then sold my business to him in January, 2017. Next up was J Farwell Sailing Co.

What is one thing people may not know about your business?
It’s definitely the “wow” factor. Most of our guests leave the tour saying, “It was the highlight of our trip,” or
“I had no idea that this was available.” The hands-on sailing experience is thrilling and we’ve created products that reach a variety of different markets. We believe we are bringing one of Nova Scotia’s most beloved traditions to visitors and locals — giving them a taste of our beautiful province.

What has been the biggest challenge to being a new business?
Coming from a larger business of 500 employees to my new business of eight employees, I’ve been humbled to get back to the basics of starting from the ground up. I have an appreciation for all small businesses that take that leap and go for it. Like many businesses, we operate in a highly regulatory environment and experience setbacks and other operational issues. We adjust, solve problems and move forward.


What is one thing people may not know about your business?
The meaning of the name Sattva. Sattva is a Sanskrit word (the language of yoga and Ayurveda) used to describe a state of mind. The state of mind that feels light, clear, connected and content — an intangible experience of wholeness, balance and truth. We actually don’t talk about this much in our business, for most people it’s just a word, but it helps me and my staff come back to our intention on a regular basis.

Where do you see your organization in 10 years?
That’s a tricky one! It’s always good to have goals, but this is so far away, anything could happen by then. Right now we need a small addition to our existing shop. As well, there is opportunity for growth in e-commerce, especially connecting with the growing population of conscious consumers. Then there is another store. I don’t see another Sattva specifically, but a sister store with similar beliefs and different products. That should take about 10 years! I would also like to employ and mentor as many people as I can. I am learning what a big impact we can have on the lives of our staff members and the lack of retail or fashion careers available for those interested in staying in Halifax.

What is your proudest accomplishment?
An unsolicited nomination for this award is a pretty big deal. If I place, that would definitely become my answer to this question in the future. Another big one was the one-year mark of our store on Agricola Street. At the same time I hired a Boutique Co-ordinator, my full-time employee. This was a pretty proud moment. For me it was a measure of success — I felt like I was going to make it.

< Back to Articles | Topics: Positive business environment

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