Recently I had the pleasure of connecting with Britt Buntain, the inspirational woman behind local handmade goods brand, Picot Collective.
Britt’s devotion to wellness is shown through the beautiful products she creates. Each is intended for comfort and care- which was something she needed after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. With health + nutrition being an important consideration in her life, she enjoys providing nourishing recipes on her website and even published a Community Cookbook last year (and a new one in the works!). All recipes were contributed by folks and business owners in the Victoria community and 100% of profits were donated to local organizations.
Incorporating self-care rituals that help us restore balance + calm the nervous system are more important than ever these days. Lighting my delicious Picot Collective Honey Tobacco candle and taking a bath in the Wildwood Bath Soak (that smells like you’re “hugging a handsome carpenter”) has been a great way for me decompress + unwind!
I hope you enjoy this Q&A with Britt where she shares part of her wellness journey, daily rituals, and her trials + tribulations as an entrepreneur (as well as a discount code for her website at the end!). You can also pop over to her blog to read my Q&A with Britt.
What is your favourite Picot Collective product right now?
Ooh… The bath soaks and candles get a lot of love in my house, but I’d say that the release of our second Community Cookbook is also up there!
Is there a story behind the name Picot? It was my grandmother’s family name. She passed away in November 2020 and it’s now a wonderful homage to her. She relished in a good, comforting meal, helping others, laughing, and surrounding her home with objects that held a lot of meaning to her.
Your collective started as a physical shop and has had a beautiful evolution over the years. Tell me about that journey, what were the challenges of taking the business completely online?
The hardest part was committing to the transition. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease shortly after opening my store and I found that the stress of running my business was driving significant adverse effects on my health. I decided to simplify my life and my business by just focusing on my own products that had gained a lot of love and were the highest selling products in my shop. It was a leap of faith, but I figured that if I could do well with them in my tiny corner of the world, then opening them up to wholesale would likely have some success. I’m lucky that my gamble paid off.
How do you find balance between growing your business and maintaining your personal wellness?
It’s a daily challenge and I’m not sure that I’ve mastered it yet, but I am proud of the boundaries that I have. I don’t typically check emails on weekends or after 4pm, I prioritize tasks and can easily identify what needs to be tended to ASAP or if it can be left for the next day. I’m not very motivated when working from home, so I head to the co-working space KWENCH to get daunting tasks done. I live next to a fairly expansive forest so I make sure to walk through there 4-5 times a week, and I have recently taken up baking and decorating cakes for my anxiety. I have to really limit how much wheat I have (because it aggravates my autoimmune disease) so I give most of my bakes to friends and neighbors.
Tell me about one of your daily rituals.
Every morning I take time for myself before opening up my computer. That can be anything from writing in my journal, going for a walk with my dog, Roger, or Facetiming my mom who lives in Calgary. I’m not a super consistent person, so I typically do whatever I feel like that day.
Where do you draw inspiration from? I find that I get the best ideas when I’m not directly working on the thing that needs inspiration. I find the best ideas come when I’m doing something with my hands (writing, baking, weaving, or pottery for example) or going for a walk through the woods behind my house. Visually, Pinterest is the one social source that I don’t feel the downward spiral and trap of comparison so I’ll head there if I’m looking for something specific.
Mistakes are inevitable when building a business. What is one mistake you’ve made and what did you learn from it?
Biggest mistake was not knowing enough about filing and paying GST and PST. One day I went into my bank account and saw that $8,000 had been withdrawn from the provincial government coming after what I’d owed them. I felt a lot of shame around money and am learning to have more humility around it. Over the years I’ve realized that it’s very common to struggle to learn about paying taxes as a self employed person!
What is your biggest strength as a leader and business owner?
I think my biggest strength is that I can acknowledge when something isn’t working or feeling right, and move on from it. I can discern between what to work through and what to leave behind. I trust myself and I’m honest about my approach.
How do you reset when you’re feeling completely overwhelmed?
I’m no stranger to taking a full day off away from emails and the demands of others when I need to. I have a bath, go for a run, bake or cook something, I get outside for a walk with my dog, and I meditate. Pre-pandemic, I loved boxing, so I’m looking forward to that again one day, as I find that it really helps me to move physical anxiety.
What is your vision for the future of Picot Collective? My vision for the future is actually up in the air right now. I’m open to selling the rights to my fragrance one day or bringing on an investment partner, and I’ve never said that publicly before! I’m so proud of what I’ve built over the last 6 years and I believe that it has the potential to keep growing, but I don’t have the resources to get it there on my own. I was 27 when I started this and it’s morphed into a very different model than how it began, so I’m starting to acknowledge how I’ve grown alongside the business and how my interests and needs have shifted. I’m not in a hurry to make another big change just yet, but I do consider it.
Some pies that I baked for our Community Cookbook. This recipe was submitted by someone else, but we loved the recipe and decided to bake it for the photos. Photographer: Danielle Lindenlaub @dlindenlaubphotography
Honey Tobacco candle and Wildwood bath soak. Photographer: Alex Geertz @alexgeertz
Me, laughing and eating pie. Photo: Danielle Lindenlaub @dlindenlaubphotography
Roger & The woods we walk through daily.
One of the crazy cakes I’ve baked for a friend