Are you currently in search of that perfect gift that’s both unique and meaningful? Are you also the kind of person who likes to shop local and support small business? If so, you sound awesome and we should be friends. But also, you need to check out Suetables.
Located right here in Toronto, Suetables is a working jewelry studio and retail shop specializing in unique and customizable sterling-silver, 10K gold and 14K gold-dipped jewelry. They design and create their own pieces, and showcase other likeminded brands and designers in their shop. Suetables also partners with charitable endeavors to help raise funds and awareness for important causes. Suetables’ offering goes beyond jewelry as well, with clothing, home décor items and other little treasures for your fashion or gifting needs. Whether you’re shopping for your home, yourself or a loved one, you’re sure to find something at Suetables that you won’t find anywhere else.
Suetables was founded by its namesake Sue Henderson, a Toronto native with an impressive resume including 10 years in television working with HGTV, The Food Network and National Geographic. Sue decided to leave the glam world of TV behind, turning instead to the glitz and glitter of the jewelry business. Sue’s passion for jewelry and design saw her launch her business first online, before expanding into not one but two brick and mortar locations (98 Mount Pleasant Road and 363 Roncesvalles Avenue). And the result? A beautiful suite of jewelry, amazing collaborations with other inspiring brands and, and a successful business that became Sue’s dream job.
We got the chance to chat with Sue about how she made her dream job a reality.
What is your official title? Do you have one?
Owner + designer
How did you get into your current line of work?
My business was born in 2005 out of pure desperation for something creative and meaningful. It came from a need for something to call my own. I had a burning desire to create something beautiful that was not made with Lego or that would wilt or leave a stain on the sofa. I was the only person hand stamping and offering customization in 2005. All the moms wanted one. I hosted a trunk show featuring a few flat pendants I could hand stamp on the spot. Over 100 women showed up in my kitchen that day. Sometimes the answer in life is right in front of you. It took Moore Park’s schoolyard moms to show me.
Did you go to school for your dream job?
No. I took a Communications degree at Queen’s University. It comes in handy and had really helped me build by business but I am still learning retail! I wish I also had a degree in design and retail management. I am learning on the job! Someone with a big retail career dropped by and said, “I love that you are breaking all the retail rules with your shop.” “Rules?” I asked…”There are rules?!” So, I hired her. To this day, she still consults occasionally on layout and shop design and helped us with the launch of the second location.
Is this a job you attained or did you create it for yourself?
I’ve always defined and re-defined my role at every company I worked for. Suetables was the ultimate in creating a job, space and place that I love. I am so grateful that people show up and continue to find us.
What was your first job ever?
I was the receptionist at a large ad agency. I had to greet people at reception and transfer hundreds of daily calls manually from the main board to individual phone lines. I memorized over 200 names and phone extensions and took great pride & joy in doing this politely and efficiently – with a smile regardless of how people treated me. This was probably a great job to prepare me for retail!
Before you created your dream job, what was the best job you had?
I was the Director of Communications at Alliance Atlantis. I had the privilege of working with amazing people launching channels like HGTV Canada, Food Network and National Geographic. I met so many inspiring people; I loved being surrounded by people going for their dreams.
What was your most hated job?
I once assisted a very prestigious film producer. I loved the company and the people but I am not a ‘magnet for details’. I had to book all of this executive’s flights and travel. Let’s just say it was a miracle he landed in the right countries on the right day! Although under my watch, he did end up on a economy flight to Vancouver once and he always traveled first class…luckily, I was not fired! This job certainly taught me to pay attention to detail.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
My job is my passion but I also love animals. I’d probably be rescuing and finding homes for dogs. I follow a ton of these companies and their social media feeds and stories bring tears to my eyes. There is so much work to be done and I admire what they do.
What achievement are you most proud of?
I spent 12 years carting my jewelry to every location imaginable – home trunk shows, ski shows, school shows and church basements. I said I would never have a shop. It would certainly be the death of any flexibility in my life. I would be a home basement business. I would be a traveling jewelry gypsy! However, two years ago, after a successful three-month pop up in an ice cream store in Rosedale, we finally made the big plunge and signed a lease for a retail store open 7 days a week. We opened the door to our new little jewelry shop with a mix of excitement and and terror. When we go for our dreams, fear often happens – fear of being not liked. Fear of failing, flopping, falling down… publicly. Fear of not measuring up. Fear that no one will care. Fear that everyone will care and you will completely suck. I know about fear. I can’t believe I did not do it sooner. I can’t believe it took me 12 years to open a shop. Sometimes in life, the answer is right in front of you. It took 12 years of lugging my stuff around, so many of you shopping in my basement to shop and an ice cream store to show me. We just opened the doors to our second location in High Park (Roncesvalles) last November.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to find their dream job but hasn’t yet?
Start. Just start. Whatever has you stuck right now, whatever place you are in that feels terrible and yuck…push outside your comfort zone and BEGIN. I’ve discovered that when we push outside our comfort zone (hello retail store!), magic happens.