'It’s been pretty hectic': Saskatoon woman’s basket business booming thanks to online pandemic shoppers
SASKATOON -- A Saskatoon woman’s online business based out of her home is catching the eye of people across the country.
Janet Foth is the owner of Prairie Knot Co., a textile company that designs and creates rope baskets and other home goods.
Foth's is one of many businesses that have taken off during the pandemic.
She says a store in Kamloops, B.C. reached out to her to create baskets wholesale, she sent her first shipment in April 2020.
Soon after other stores reached out to her and her business has been keeping busy. She currently supplies 32 stores with her creations across the country.
"I have probably made thousands (of baskets) already in the last year and a half I would say," Foth said. "It’s been pretty hectic some days that’s for sure."
On average, Foth is making 20 baskets a day and works up to 12 hours a day to keep up with the orders. She’s also had to order more sewing machines.
Foth even quit her nursing job to pursue her business full time.
Her daughter helped create her website, takes photos of the products for her Instagram account and does other bookwork for the business.
But she’s not planning on setting up a physical store anytime soon.
"I like the idea of being at home, starting my business when I want. Sometimes I sew until 10 at night."
What also makes Foth’s business unique is that she predominantly uses natural organic dyes to create unique colours for her baskets. She uses coffee, turmeric and avocado.
Foth says since the pandemic began, it seems many people have gotten into plants and her baskets give them a unique way to display them.
"I loved nursing but this gives me a thrill every day to come up with something new."
Foth isn't alone in leaning in to online sales. Eighty-five per cent of Saskatoon businesses are now selling online, according to payments company Square.
That’s the highest rate in Canada and far exceeding the national average of 61 per cent.
David Williams, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Saskatchewan says these results are part of two reasons: the COVID-19 pandemic and the remoteness of major retailers in the country.
“I think we’re in an area where certain things are hard to get but are easier now to get with e-commerce which means we buy more online,” Williams told CTV News.
Williams says we’ve seen a five-year jump within one year in terms of online sales and that it’s “critical” that businesses have an online presence in the era of social media.