Women of the Week: Shauna Podruzny

“True success happens when you pave your own path, not by riding on the coat-tails of others.”

Many years before she would give me that advice, when she was 25, Shauna Podruzny was planning to go into environmental law. Armed with a degree in Environmental Spatial Analysis, it was the logical (and typical) next step. Her heart and passion, however, were not in it, so she decided to change paths and become a businesswoman.

It was a risk, given her youth and inexperience, but Shauna believes it was the smart thing to do.

“I was 25 years old and naïve about the business world, which looking back, completely helped me,” she says. “By not knowing what I was getting myself into, I was able to dive right in and start my own game plan from scratch. “

Frustrated by the lack of “high-quality, natural based” skin care, in 2004 Shauna started Blossom Bath & Body: “an upscale bath & body care boutique offering young independent brands that were not common in the Canadian marketplace.”

Over the years, the company evolved and in 2008 Shauna expanded the business into clothing, opening Blossom Lounge.

Now the owner of two storefronts—one in the Distillery District, the other in Unionville—Shauna’s decision to explore the world of entrepreneurship has proven to be a wise one. The secret to her success? Originality.

“I’ve never had the desire to sell what someone else has. When I think a line, whether it’s clothing or bath & body, has become too mainstream, it’s time to be taken off of Blossom Lounge’s shelves.”

This original streak extends to her advertising plans. She maintains a fantastic blog, Blossom Everyday, and uses it not to explicitly hype her products but to “sell a lifestyle.” Through pictures, Shauna shows the many personalities you can express using the Blossom Lounge line.

“I find that consumers don’t want products or services pushed at them, but when it’s softly presented, you have much better results,” she explains.

Incredibly smart in terms of the importance of social media in today’s world, Shauna uses these new programs to connect with her market in a way that print ads never could.

“There’s no excuse to not use these free tools, it should be fundamental in everyone’s work day,” she explains. “It gives you interaction in real-time with real people, and helps to build relationships with your consumers.  Not using these social media tools mean you lose valuable contact with potential customers.”

Customer interaction is very important to Shauna, and she is using what she has learned to expand her company yet again. Harper 76, her upcoming clothing label, is a collection aimed at women aged 20-40.

“Working directly with customers over the years has given me an advantage to know the classic styles everyone gravitates towards, season after season,” she says.

But Shauna’s life isn’t all about work. The mother of a 7-year-old son, Shauna admits balancing home and work life is “a daily struggle.” Yet she has found the way to manage the roles.

“I’m fortunate to make my own work hours so I make sure that when school is out for the day, my work is put on hold until he goes to bed. I think it’s important to show your kids that they come first, but to also show them the importance of great work ethic.”

It is clear that Shauna has a fantastic work ethic. This work ethic, and the path she created for herself, are the reasons why the Blossom Lounge brand will continue to grow in the upcoming seasons and Shauna Podruzny will continue to achieve true success.