Born and raised in the Grande Prairie area, Cortney grew up with two sisters in a family who loved camping trips! After high school Cortney realized she didn't want to attend college - even though everything was in place for her to begin the following semester.
Cortney took an alternative route, jumping head first into the trucking industry, she began piloting wide loads and hotshotting. After a few years of that, her little girl Grace entered her life and Cortney became a single mother.
Fast forward to now, Cortney and Grace are enjoying farm life just outside of Grimshaw, Alberta.
Cortney began Double Barrel Western Boutique two and a half years ago as a online western style boutique. She had zero experience, and in her word, zero knowledge of what she was doing. Then instead of ordering items in wholesale as most boutiques do, she began making them! About half a year in and Double Barrel Western Boutique turned into Double Barrel Designs, where Cortney has her own line of graphic tops and accessories as well as doing custom work!
I hope you enjoy getting to know Cortney from Double Barrel Designs!
What made you decide to start your own business?
I was still in Grande Prairie when I started my business, I worked for parents at the time and things were slow. I wanted something that was mine. Running a business was so new to me, but I wanted to learn and take action! I thought about it for so long until I finally pulled the trigger. My parents are business owners and I very much look up to them and loved the idea of becoming an entrepreneur.
Do you have any memorable moments or struggles that helped you become the entrepreneur you are today?
So many struggles throughout my time of being an entrepreneur, from finances to knowing what customers want or need. I found that the custom work side of my business is 75% of my revenue! But I also love creating my own line of apparel, and meeting my customers which also has driven me to do some markets. I have found that getting out in the public eye through markets has grown my business immensely, especially once I moved to Grimshaw! I struggled a lot with being noticed online in the beginning and creating that customer base!
A big moment(s) is being recognized in public by people who follow me. I love the “oh I follow you on Instagram!” or “I met you last year at this market” it brings me so much happiness that customers will come right up to me and really inspires the entrepreneur side of me to keep going, to push through any hardships, there are people clapping for you, even if you do not see them.
If you can remember, how did you sell your first piece?
I sold my first piece of clothing to a girl in Grande Prairie that instantly followed me on Instagram when I started my page. The excitement I had to deliver her new shirt was something I will always remember!
Where do you find inspiration/what inspires you?
My little girl is a huge part of it. I want her to grow up seeing that her mom followed her heart and dream and that she can do the same when she is older. I want her to know she can achieve anything she puts her mind too!
Other businesses inspire me to work hard to get where I want to be. I love following along with business women and learning from them.
What is your creative process like?
Some ideas for my own line of clothes and accessories comes from seeing a design and wanting to make it my own, getting inspiration from others or seeing a word and thinking “how can I get this into a design”! I also buy designs from graphic designers that fit my style. I have a wonderful graphic design business (@treandanndesigns) that help me bring my ideas to life. They really help with custom designs that customers ask me to do for them!
What is your favourite product to make?
It is hard to choose, but I think anything that is a custom order, especially ones that have a meaning! Like Mother's or Father's day gifts, etc. personalization of orders makes me so happy to be making it.
What is your favourite part of your business?
Some may say making the items, but my favourite part is talking with customers, meeting new people and other business owners! I love supporting other small businesses and if I can somehow incorporate one into my own business, I love doing it!
Why do you do what you do?
It gives me passion and a sense of purpose for myself. I find it very hard working for others – I do that 3 days a week – and having my own business fulfills me. I love creating and I love making my customers happy with their products.
What is one tip you would like to share with other artists or entrepreneurs?
Do not be afraid to ask for help. Ask other businesses for advice when you need it.
Be yourself, do not try to change yourself to “fit in” and be passionate about your business!
Do you have any message you would like to share with other women in business or women who are thinking about starting their own business?
Just go for it. If it does not work out, try again, figure out why it did not work and adjust. If you really want it, you will make it happen. Do not give up when things get hard and use the hardships as lessons to become stronger!
Lean on others if you need.
A big thank you to Cortney for participating in our Women in Business Feature! Keep reading to find out where you can find Double Barrel Designs.
Photos by Alicia Ross Photo and Autumn Jade Studio
Facebook: Double Barrel Designs | Grimshaw AB | Facebook
Website: Double Barrel Design
Instagram: Cortney ♡︎ - Double Barrel (@double_barrel_designs) | Instagram