RQC Supply, formerly Ribbon Queen Canada, is your one stop shop for crafting supplies. Ribbon Queen Canada was born out of leftover supplies from an earlier crafting venture that Tammy Harris started in order to fulfill a need for reasonably priced, Canadian sourced baby accessories. When Harris decided to sell off her excess supplies to make a bit of extra money for a trip to Florida, she realized that selling craft supplies had the business potential for her and her husband Jason.
Tammy and her husband Jason took their new show on the road and did a lot of trade shows and expos in big cities. Coupling their sideline new business with their full-time professions of nurse and millwright took its toll. They decided that instead of travelling back and forth to shows, with all the accompanying trucking of product and set up and tear down, they would give e-commerce a try and set up their own website.
“It was one of those happy accidents,” says Jason. Tammy added, “With COVID, when Amazon shut down to only ship out necessary supplies, a lot of locals who had been shopping on Amazon couldn’t do that anymore. So, they were searching on Google and low and behold what comes up in Woodstock? Somebody right here in your own backyard. So, we’ve had a huge surge of just locals who are new to us.”
The increased business caused cramped quarters at home where they ran their business out of their basement. But, it has also allowed the Harrises to begin opening up a new shop at the old Dean Michaels Griddle House on Highway 59. The new space will give plenty of room for RQC Supply to expand and settle and will give the Harris family back their home! Tammy and Jason are hoping to have the store renovations done and ready for opening by end of October.
One of the biggest struggles for Tammy and Jason has been juggling life and a booming business. The nurse and millwright have three children, their regular jobs and the RQC Supply to take care of. They explain, “You’re always torn in so many different directions. Being new business owners really presents a lot of challenges.” Moving into the shop has helped them separate their RQC life from home life. “We were tripping over ourselves at home. We had boxes in our front room, boxes in our living room, boxes in our garage. It was just time.”
Agility is a must in the craft supply business. As the popularity of one product slides, another will gain favour. Originally, a ribbon supplier, RQC has shifted gears to cater to crafters’ current needs. Tammy explains, “We have masks in now because of COVID. People are personalizing masks. I have sanitizer holders to put on your key chains. People are personalizing them too.” Jason sums up the business, “We’re kind of like a ‘Do It Yourself’ promotional company. We sell you all the products you need to make something personalized. We just sell all the bits and pieces.”
E-commerce for them is everything – it’s where all their business is at right now. RQM Supply doesn’t currently have a storefront, but Tammy and Jason are working to turn the old restaurant into a warehouse and order fulfillment site and are in the midst of renovating to gain a retail area to showcase products to their customers.
In the future, the Harrises would like to see another store and possibly franchising of RQC Supply. They have a lot of customers reaching out right now to be that franchisee. Jason explains, “We were there 5 years ago where they are now, so we know you need that little extra help to get yourself moving. We had people that helped us, other business owners. Whenever we’ve had a problem or we’re trying to do something where we need professional help – The Small Business Centre, Community Futures Oxford, Rural Oxford EDC – they’ve always been willing to help.” They feel like they are part of a community, “a person not a number.” Tammy continues, “They know us by our face, and they know us by our name. It’s definitely a community environment and that’s why we wanted to stay in Oxford County.”
RQC Supply is a recipient of our Rural Oxford E-Business Grant. RQC Supply is using the grant to launch a new e-commerce website. To learn if you are eligible for the Rural Oxford E-Business Grant or to apply, click here, or email Crystal Van Roekel at email@example.com
To learn more about RQC Supply or to place an order, visit rqcsupply.com.