Marissa McTasney is the Pink Work Boot Lady in her footwear circles and known in the business world as a woman with moxie. She is the Founder and President of Moxie Trades Ltd.Moxie Trades is now a multi-million dollar threat in the safety footwear industry and the most recognized brand of women’s safety footwear in Canada. Moxie Trades safety footwear can be found in over five hundred retail outlets across North America.
With the birth of her children, Carter and Frankie she wrote a book for them based on her philosophical hopes for their futures that included a powerful mantra.
Marissa decided to pursue her mantra and ditched her high heels in her corporate job for work boots in the trades’ industry. She returned to school to study the skilled trades. On the first day of the program, all twenty two women bought men’s work boots. This marked Marissa’s “aha moment.”
MM:There is no typical day in the life of Moxie Trades which is what I love more than anything. During the busy times, I’m part of the 5am club. There is a seasonality to it and so I have learned to take advantage of the down times to catch up on my health and my friends. My kids are eleven and thirteen and are both very active in their sports. I’m not sure my day ends… I dream of moxie..
RB: What do you do to preserve your health as you run your business? Do you have any rituals, for example?
MM:There is a seasonality to my priorities. I have a list of eight values that guide my life. My priorities change due to schedules and the seasonality in selling wholesale. My rituals include regular meetings with my spiritual coach; I find our time together as a reset and I find reiki to be very uplifting. I’m also very conscious of what my body and my gut tell me so if I need to sleep, I sleep, if I need to go for a walk, I go for a walk. I listen to the universe and whispers from God.
MM: There have been a few failures and resets to Moxie Trades and I know there will be more evolutions. When I started Moxie Trades and selling wholesale in 2007, I managed every aspect of the business from product development to marketing to sales to operations. When our inventory requirements became hard to finance, we switched our distribution model. Today, I work with TT Group who finance my inventory and manage the logistics. This model allows me to focus on what I am good at.
RB: What are some of the challenges you are facing or have faced this year?
MM: 2016 has been extra challenging. I am using this year to develop product for the US market. As a result of my investments into development and my goals for 2017, I have used this year to step back and look at my business from a high level. It’s been a planning year. I am beyond excited for Moxie Trades’ 10th Anniversary on March 27, 2017. We are planning a National Day of Moxie!
RB: Describe what innovation means in your business and how do you go about it.
MM: Innovation is such a tricky word. Many people call me the inventor of the pink work boot. I just made a work boot pink but I did innovate a revolution for discussion around women who wear work boots. The 180 degree statement has provided much debate and opportunities for women in non-traditional roles. In terms of my day-to-day, innovation is creating efficiencies in my business. I love software programs that allow me to make money when I’m sleeping or when I’m doing something else I love. These are my innovations!
RB: How do you balance being a “big dreamer” vs setting realistic goals for your business?
MM:I am most certainly a dreamer and it’s even been built into my mantra. Dream Big. Think The Impossible. Love Passionately. Give Generously. Without dreaming there are no boundaries to explore and exceed. In terms of business planning, I am incredibly diligent and organized. I have daily plans, weekly plans, monthly plans, quarterly plans and annual plans with 2-3 year plans on a vision board. Ideas without clear execution are only ideas. All my dreams are coming true and it’s a journey of learning, gratitude and appreciation.
RB: Who or what motivates you to keep going with your business? And Why?
MM: The women who buy my product! They email me about having moxie. I get to keep them safe on the outside and dare them to have moxie on the inside. In my position and network, I advocate for women in industries that are non-traditional, roles on boards and the entrepreneurial kind. I get to do good work. It is that simple.
RB: Has your definition of success changed since you have started your business? If so, how?
MM: My definition of success has certainly changed because now it is my definition of success; not the definition of others. I prioritize the values in my life and assign rules and mentors to them. This process has helped me structure my time efficiently and follow the success factors that really make me happy.
RB: What would you say is the most important skill required to run a business?
MM: More importantly than skills, I believe integrity as a core character trait is required. An entrepreneur can learn skills and rally the best people around them to help them achieve their goals.
RB: There are a lot of myths about entrepreneurs. Now that you have started and are successfully running your own business what would you say is the biggest myth? What have you learned most from it.
MM: Entrepreneurs do not make a lot of money. The majority of businesses in Canada are small business; these are unfairly known as Mom and Pop shops. These small businesses account for 97.9%+ of all businesses in Canada. These businesses also employ 70.5% of all employees. When you support one of these entrepreneurs, you are helping a community, you are funding kids to participate in sports, you are helping buy groceries and put a roof on a family’s home. You are making a huge impact on Canada.