EP (10) Rena Rutkauskas: Changing the way women shop for clothes online with a unique stylist experience

Co-Founders of Smithery, Rena Rutkauskas and Mavis Huntley

Co-Founders of Smithery, Rena Rutkauskas and Mavis Huntley

If you're like all the women I know, then you've probably struggled at some point in your life to find clothes that suit your body type. 

Well good news, ladies. I think the struggle may be over. Introducing a new Canadian e-boutique known as Smithery, where the best go-to items are curated, styled and modelled on real women.

Co-founders, Rena Rutkauskas and Mavis Huntley met while working in advertising at a prominent firm in Toronto, before launching their online boutique to help women dress with confidence, just a little over a year ago.

The meaning behind their company's name:

What is a stylesmith? 
Back in the era of corsets, a smith referred to an expert in their craft. Like a blacksmith or a gunsmith. You can think of us as a modern day stylesmith taking the old school concept of dressing for your body shape into the new school world of online shopping. We help you identify your body shape and do the shopping for you by hunting down fresh brands with the best cuts to shamelessly flatter our bodies, our friends' bodies' and our friends' friends' bodies...

And as far as co-founders go, they are completely different when it comes to their body type and love for fashion. Rena is a self-proclaimed shopaholic - so starting an online clothing boutique may not have been the best decision - and Mavis hated shopping before starting Smithery. She could never find clothes that suited her body and was always left frustrated with the online experience.

They recognized that there was a gap in the online market in terms of how e-boutiques curated their clothes and sold to the average woman. In their eyes, these online stores weren't helping people make better choices. They were just offering them more choices.

This episode isn't just for women. Even men will learn something from these two driven entrepreneurs. From how to take an idea and put it into action, to working in a partnership and expanding a brand.

There's tons of advice and life lesson's to be learned in this one. 

Some Questions I asked:

  • How have things changed over the last year?
  • Why did you guys decide to start Smithery and how difficult was it to get it off the ground?
  • Where did the name Smithery come from (it's not obvious and there's a bigger story)
  • What would you say my body type is? How do you determine this? (find out if I was wrong about my own body type or not)
  • What's a Sip & Click party and how can people host them?
  • What's been the biggest challenge this past year?
  • When should you hire an expert to help you as a new business owner?
  • When's the best time to let things go that you don't enjoy doing?
  • How can outsourcing help your business?
  • And so much more!

What You'll Learn:

  • The difference between the five body types and how to find out which one you are
  • What a "shape finder" is
  • What the similarities are between the advertising world and the online fashion world & how that experience helped launch Smithery
  • What customers will receive with every purchase and how this trick will eliminate a lot of frustration
  • The secret to building a great partnership
  • Advice they wish they had when they started
  • Key steps to explore before launching an online store
  • Invaluable community connections to tap into (in Toronto) if you want to build a following
  • What their stipulations are to become a "stylesmith"  
  • How launching a business affected Rena's personal life and the lesson's she's learned along the way
  • And lots more!

Other Links:

Connect with Smithery




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Edited by: James Findlay