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Lemons to lemonade feature #23: Stacey Corbett

Thursday, December 11, 2008
Stacey Corbett, mother of twins, and owner of One Tiny Suitcase, is confident that she can survive this recession if she thinks creatively and continues to look for new opportunities.

One Tiny Suitcase, established in 2006, is a baby equipment rental company serving the Calgary and Banff areas in Canada. The business is very centered on travellers coming to the area on vacation, for business, and to visit family.

Due to the increases in airline fuel surcharges and the economic downturn, this mom entrepreneur has started to see a change in her business. At first she looked at this as a threat, but then she decided to look at ways to make 'lemonade from lemons'. Here is her story...

How has this economy affected you, your business and your family?
The economy in the city where I started my business (Calgary, Alberta) has been in such a boom that it was a great time to start a business in 2006. Since then, I have seen the core of my business (rentals for travelers) change. I have less American customers and some of my Canadian and International visitors are much more price conscious. It has presented some new challenges but I have found new ways to adapt.

How are you making lemonade from lemons?
With high airline fuel surcharges and extra baggage fees, people are travelling less and less. My business wouldn’t have survived if I had relied on this type of customer alone. I found other rental items that I could add to my business to appeal to local moms. My city is in the midst of a baby boom - breast pump and fetal Doppler rentals are two items that I added to my inventory to cater to these new and expectant moms. It has been great to service local moms while increasing the range of my business.

I will also try to use my inventory of travel rental items differently (high chairs are being rented to hotels for events and weddings).

Any encouraging words you would like to offer mom entrepreneurs?
Moms are good at adapting and changing. We do it every day with our kids. I think my business is a reflection of how I parent my children. If I am doing something that is not getting the results I want from my kids, I try something different. I was never big on routines and strict rules. With my twins, I had to be ready for whatever the day threw at me!

I would encourage mom entrepreneurs to be persistent and not to get upset when something doesn’t work, just try again.

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