Drop. Nautical Handbags was one of the 5 companies that presented at the 2nd annual Otters’ Den event held recently in Brockville. The Otters’ Den is a pitch contest similar to Shark Tank or Dragons’ Den held in Brockville to help entrepreneurs tap into investment and mentorship opportunities to take their business to the next level. Their pitch received a huge amount of support and positive feedback by both the “otters” and the audience members, and I’m pretty sure people were placing orders on their way out of the event.
Throughout their presentation, it was clear that these entrepreneurs embodied the “river spirit” that Brockville residents are known for, and their company captures what it is like to live and work in Brockville with access to a beautiful waterfront, river, and islands. After their presentation, we definitely wanted to hear more about their plans to grow the company.
Drop. Nautical Handbags uses marine grade materials to make tote bags and wristlets. The outside is made from marine vinyl (what would be used for boat seats) and the inside is made from outdoor canvas (what would be used for boat tops). The material ensures that the bags are water resistant, sun proof, and durable. The tote bags are designed with pockets on the inside of all panels for convenient storage. The wristlets are made with card pockets and compartments for cash so that it can be used as a wallet, but also has enough room to carry essentials such as keys, phone, and much more!
1. Tell us a bit about how your business came to be and the path you took to get where you are today:
Drop. Nautical Handbags was created in November 2017. The idea for the business was generated by Sandra Nandoo and Lynda Joanisse- teachers at St. Lawrence Academy. Sandra’s husband Ian Nandoo is the owner and operator of Deluxe Auto Glass and Trim, a family-run business that has been serving the 1000 Islands area for over 40 years. Ian is specially trained and skilled in marine and automotive upholstery. Sandra and Lynda encouraged him to use his talents to begin creating nautical handbags out of marine grade materials. The durability and timeless style of the handbags made them instantly popular with customers.
2. How would you describe your team?
Our team members are creative, innovative, and hard-working. We all have the same vision – to create quality products that make people happy.
3. What makes Brockville the ideal location for your business?
“Our nautical handbags are inspired by life in the 1000 Islands. The boating population in Brockville is the perfect place to showcase our products."
- Sandra Nandoo
4. Is there anything you would like to highlight about your business?
We were thrilled with the response following our presentation at the Otters’ Den. We are encouraged by the excitement of our local business and community members and look forward to working with many of them to build a bright future for drop. Nautical Handbags.
5. What is the biggest challenge you have overcome in your business?
Our biggest challenge has been finding ways to make our production more efficient. Our goal is to purchase new machinery and potentially hire new staff to meet the demand for orders.
6. What is next for your company?
We hope to launch our website soon and reach coast lines across Canada and the United States to provide customers with new and innovative products.
7. What do you like to do when you are not at work?
We like to spend time with our children, friends, and extended family. We especially enjoy boating as a family on the St. Lawrence River in the summer.
8. What is your favourite part about living and working in Brockville?
“The community of Brockville is full of friendly faces and support for one another. Brockvillians have pride for their city and appreciate local businesses."
- Sandra Nandoo
9. What would you say is the “best kept secret” about Brockville?
Brockville’s best kept-secret is the new ideas for development in the downtown area, which are sure to make it as popular to take a stroll through; much like the experience of Merrickville, Perth, or Rockport. Scenic views alongside specialty shopping opportunities that are popping up everywhere in Brockville’s downtown make it the perfect place to shop and spend the day.
10. What would you tell other people who are considering setting up their business in Brockville?
Brockville has so many opportunities and representatives who are willing to support small businesses. There are people who are ready and available to help you get your business off the ground!
11. What advice would you give to other would-be entrepreneurs?
There is a lot of information out there so don’t be afraid to ask. Networking is a great way to reach out to people who can be a wealth of knowledge. Try and be present for as many events as possible to promote yourself and meet these key people who are just waiting to help.
Find Drop. Nautical Handbags:
Their producsts are currently avaialble locally at Alan Brown Clothier's in downtown Brockville, and LUXE Boutiques in Prescott.
Click here to contact the Economic Development Office at the City of Brockville
or call 613-342-8772 x4440 for more information.
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