Hi, please introduce yourself and your business.
My name is Leanne Gruending and Byond started as a passion project probably back when I was 8 picking up “gems” from back alleys and stuffing them in my pockets. Since then I’ve always been drawn to crystals and since I have SUPER sensitive skin I could Never wear fast fashion jewelry With plated chains or brass- so I made my own. Finally in 2016 my sister encouraged - forced - me to attend my first sale. I truly didn’t think anyone would want my creations- but I sold out. From that day on I’ve been motivated to create purposeful pieces that not only make you look good- but feel good- from the hypoallergenic, heirloom quality metals (sterling silver and 14kt Goldfill) to the reiki infused crystals. My brand is all about giving fashion purpose.
At what point did you realize this is what you wanted to pursue and that the potential to make a living from it was there or was there a turning point or what made you want to switch this from a hobby to more of a business?
Byond is still a hobby for me- one that sees me working an extra 40hrs a week on top of the 50 I already work in my day job as a Principal. Each job activated a very different part of me and I wouldn’t be complete without both.
What brought you to selling your products with Handmade Saskatchewan?
I started off attending some shows and when the store opened up I thought it would
Be an incredible opportunity to service some of my Regina clients as I’m not able to get down there for shows anymore.
What do you attribute your success to?
What I create is a product of my authentic passion. Basically y’all are coming along for my creative ride- and I’m great evil everyday for that.
If you could speak face to face with yourself when you first started, what pearls of wisdom would you impart?
Have a plan. Start up cost A LOT. I’m the type of creative that needs to touch it to create it- so stockpiling materials was very expensive at the start. Also to understand creating is only about 40% of what I do with my time dedicated to Byond. Running the business is the other 60%. There’s a lot more admin work than I ever thought there might be.
What new products have you been working on?
Every season I create a new collection- this fall will be no different. I’m also working towards a self care box that will hopefully be released this fall, fingers crossed!
How has the pandemic affected your business?
My sales are down 75%. Since life is so busy for me I always depended upon in person sales for the majority of Byond income. With COVID I have realized I need to put more time and effort into my online presence and beating the algorithm. [chuckles]
Thank you for your time!