The Park and Buzz story
I would say I have been an entrepreneur from a very young age. I have had root beer float stands ( you know, to differentiate from all the lemonade stands ), painted and sold clay pots and then my first pieces of jewellery were made at age 10 or so ,and were seed bead necklaces. I priced them at $5.00 and sent them with my great aunt to a craft show. They sold, but because she knocked the price down to $0.50. Needless to say I wasn’t thrilled. My other great aunt had a florist shop in Fisher Branch, MB and she sold my necklaces there for a much better price.
Overall, I think I was inspired by my grandparents who raised me. They had a commercial size greenhouse in their backyard in Regina, and sold plants out of their yard in the summer. She hired a friend to help in spring when doing seed starting and then transplanting. It was a way she could stay home with us and still run a business.
I would say it really started when I was working on set as a professional actress which I had done since I was 12. I had just finished “Just Friends” (a movie featuring Ryan Reynolds, Amy Smart and Anna Faris) and then the hit TV series, Corner Gas. The work was great but I didn’t really see my kids who were all really young at the time. I went to work before they were up and came home when they were fast asleep. I thought, in 20 years, what is going to matter? The money or the time I missed out with my kids? I chose family. So being home I started painting and selling my artwork online as well as art shows. It was at one of my art shows that I brought my jewellery I had been working on. That night, I almost completely sold out. This is when I knew I may have something here. So I made more, approached a store, and they enthusiastically said yes. From there, through word of mouth my brand has doubled year over year with no signs of stopping.
The Design Process & Inspiration
How I design has changed drastically over the years. I used to do all one-of-a-kind stuff. Super unique and very different but very time consuming at the same time. So I wasn’t able to scale my business as easily. We mostly day in day out try to keep the Radiance Collection stocked, which is our best seller. However, what I like most is being able to sit down and design a completely new piece. I really like my spike items that can be easily thrown over your daily outfit. I like practical items that can be worn casually and dressed up, so I tend to have my line geared towards that. I want someone who may be in a rush to get out the door to throw my pieces on and feel polished. I want to make looking polished really easy and simple, especially in an age where things are so busy. If I can help add that extra boost of confidence to someone in their day, or put a smile on their face, that is fantastic.
The meaning behind the name Park and Buzz
The name Park and Buzz come from the combination of my husband’s last name Park, and my nickname in high school “Buzz” (due to my last name Bzdel). I was thinking of a name that would incorporate family, which is important to me yet conveying quality with a fun and approachable vibe.
Tell us about your experience coaching other entrepreneurs. How did this come about? What advice would you give to those starting out?
Coaching and helping other entrepreneurs came fairly organically. My name and brand is fairly established in Saskatchewan, so people who have seen my company grow from the start are seriously asking how? How is she doing what she is doing? Having a business is also one thing, but scaling and growing is another. That is where so many businesses get stuck. Between hobby and expanding and growing. When it is something so personal and is “your baby” so to speak, business owners struggle in the next step which is hiring, training and delegating.
The thing is with doing everything, you do nothing well. I learned that the hard way. You burn out. There is only so long you can maintain that. I remember being so nervous and scared to hire my first person and then the relief after I finally followed through. It was like, why didn’t I do that sooner? I help others over some of those hurdles. They need to hear that it will be ok and that extra push that someone went through the same thing, and they can see for themselves the result of it.
I also love marketing and thinking outside the box with strategies not everyone always thinks about, and coaching people to start thinking that way as well. I think business is all about risks and learning. On the other side of fear and risk is reward. There is always something to learn even when you fail. Eventually I want to focus on more coaching and speaking engagements.
We love that you give back! What drew you to donate and hold various charities and fundraisers? How has your contribution made a difference so far?
Giving back is one of the main reasons I have this company. It is most definitely the main reason why I haven’t quit. I wanted to have a company that I had the freedom to be able to give whenever and to whomever.
The heart of our giving is currently 32 orphan kids and young adults in Kenya. Since we have come along we have helped get rid of the kids lice ridden mattresses, purchased new clothes and uniforms, count on daily meals as well as getting an education. One year around Christmas time the roof off their home was completely ripped off due to storms, so we stepped in to help there as well. There are young adults that are just transitioning out of the orphanage and need to learn a trade or get an education to be able to sustain themselves, so we are putting kids through university and trade school. That is really exciting.
Aside from giving abroad, we also give back locally to different charities and organizations. They are too numerous to name, but they range from school and team fundraising to fundraising for dire medical needs. As a team we have teared up a time or two over some of the requests that come in. Knowing that we get to play a part in helping those stories become success stories is truly humbling. The thing that seems just like a daily job to us is someone else’s answer to prayer for funds coming in and helping. One of my favourite stories was of a lady that emailed me wanting to arrange to buy a pair of Radiance earrings to help bring her spirits up and make her feel pretty after she was to shave her head due to cancer treatments. I teared up then and I am tearing up now. Anyways, she couldn’t decide on a colour. She wanted the silver or the rose gold. So I got her mailing address and the next day mailed her both without charging her at all. I just felt it was what I needed to do. She emailed, overwhelmed and thankful for the gesture. The day she got them was they day she had shaved her head and it was helped her through the day.
What can we expect in the future for Park and Buzz?
We recently just had our product in the official Grammy Swag bags given to all the celebrities that night. We got the final list of everyone who actually took one of these home and the list of names is jawdropping! So that was pretty amazing! We also just announced our inclusion in the Everybody Wins Swag bags that are gifted to all the Oscar nominees. Other doors are being opened because of all the publicity we have gotten and lots of fun stuff to come!