A special blog post contribution by Freak Lunchbox Co-Owner Jeremy Smith.
“Freak Lunchbox is a candy and novelty store founded in early 2001 on Barrington Street in Halifax by Erin Schwanz and Jeremy Smith. Freak Lunchbox searches the world to find the weirdest, newest and hippest candy and pop culture items on the market. For eighteen years Freak Lunchbox has been embraced and loved by locals and visitors alike. The company has focused on consistent and slow but passionate growth. The company now holds five retail locations.”
When did you start with CEED and what services did you avail of?
“We began with CEED late 2000 / early 2001 in need of a small business loan. Fresh out of school (Ontario College of Art / University of Toronto) we had little equity but a lot of passion. I was working as a commercial sign and mural painter in Toronto before re-locating to Halifax and there was a lack of need for the specialized services in this area. So opening a shop was the way to go – out of pure necessity.”
What makes your venture special/unique?[and/or] What’s a new exciting development?
“The original location especially was a labour of love. We were and are very hands on. The design and interior of the shop is all by hand and still is in our new locations. All of the signs are hand-painted and the design reflects the passion behind the type of product mix and environment that our 24-year-old selves love to work in. We still strive to keep that youthful attitude and inspiration towards the business and everything we do.”
What has surprised you most so far regarding your experience as an entrepreneur?
“Having worked as an entrepreneur in the sign and mural contracting business, I had a few tough lessons before stepping into Freak Lunchbox. I think it was good training ground for keeping everything extremely tight and knowing how to prepare for the unexpected. In hindsight, the surprise was the instant recognition from the public that we were doing something different from the get-go and how extremely passionate we were about making that work… despite being financially quite trim in those early days.”
What advice would you give to an entrepreneur just starting out?
“I would say trust your gut: you’ll know if it is the right move. As the slogan goes… ‘Just do it’.”