Sarah Dizon Sowinski, Founder of TheGroggyOwl
The Groggy Owl is an online jewelry boutique that runs on passion, creativity, and beautifully crafted designs. The boutique specializes in handmade jewellery, with unique designs that incorporate locally-sourced and up-cycled materials. Currently a one woman show, each piece is handcrafted by The Groggy Owl's owner and founder, Sarah Dizon Sowinski. Through her small business with a meaningful impact, Sarah creates custom pieces that remind us that jewelry is more than an accessory.
During high school, Sarah recalls creating pieces for various fundraisers and being encouraged by friends that she should sell her creations. Fast forward a few years, Sarah reclaimed her passion for creating jewelry in the summer of 2017 during time off from work. Sarah began to design and create handmade jewelry with a desire to get away from generic, mass-produced pieces.
She described her work starting out as a hobby that eventually became a small business as things fell into place. With this, The Groggy Owl began to take shape. Though she had no intention of starting a small business, the words of encouragement from friends, family, and coworkers, as well as her creativity, led her to opening up a boutique on Etsy in October of 2017.
Sarah is celebrating The Groggy Owl's one-year anniversary this month. With the values of embracing creative outlets and supporting small businesses, Sarah is constantly looking for ways to grow and expand her business and ideas.
We had the chance to catch up with Sarah and talk about her journey, mindset, and the importance of trial and error throughout the last year.
We asked, “What kind of mindset do you need to have when starting something?” Her response:
“There’s always going to be challenges. Be aware of the challenges and where you want to go with it, and decide if you can keep up with it. It’s okay if you aren't successful right away or if you aren’t successful at all, at least you gave it a shot. Obviously hard work is key, but don't forget to take care of your well-being. Your mental health matters more. Also, don't be afraid to reach out to others for help. It’s okay to not know everything. Doing collaborations with others is another great way to grow. As far as starting a small business specifically, really do your research on where to put your money first, instead of wasting money, time and effort. At least, this is the advice I wish I could give myself when I was starting out. [Laughs]. It’s all trial and error though, and you'll learn from it. Know that it’s going to be a lot of trial and error, and that it can be a good thing too.”
Intrigued by her creativity, we asked Sarah from where her creativity stems. She let us in on her process,
“I guess I've always been a ‘creative’ type, which I definitely get from my mom. She's amazing by the way - definitely my biggest support. I've loved to make things for as long as I can remember. I also draw and paint when I can. It all depends on what I’m making, or even the mood I'm in. Inspiration comes from literally everywhere. A lot of my orders are custom requests, which I love, because I get to bring other people's ideas to life. It makes the pieces more meaningful. Overall, I'm big on making jewellery that people can feel good about.”
She brings us in her world of creativity and the feats, failures and advice of starting and sustaining a small business.
She tells us, “You’re always going to kind of feel like you’re not there yet, and you may never feel like you know what you’re doing. And that's okay. Always try to improve, and don’t let that feeling of ‘not being good enough’ discourage you to quit. Just go for it. Even if you don’t quite have all the resources or whatever yet, you have something, and you can start small. Just go with what you have and eventually you’ll get there. You’re definitely going to fail, but don’t let that discourage you either. It often means that you have to change something. It also just means you're human. Expect failure and grow from it.”
Starting a small business can be daunting, but Sarah reminds us that whatever we choose to pursue, “It’s always significant, even if it doesn’t seem like it… If it matters to you, it matters. Whatever business you are doing, there’s always room for improvement and growth. You're always going to be learning. Don't stress over perfection, and don't feel like you have to know everything. Just go for it.”
To learn more about Sarah and The Groggy Owl, check out https://www.thegroggyowl.ca/ or @thegroggyowl & @sarahdizonsowinski on their social media platforms!
Written by: Amanda Monisha