#WesternWomenWednesday, Cait Bascom, Cattle Cait
It is a rare, but welcomed, treat to find so many expertly made mediums from one person! Add in a compelling online story, an eye for business, and ranching roots- you’ve found a winner with Cattle Cait’s!
1. Name. Age. Location.
Cait Bascom. Age 29. Eastend Saskatchewan Canada.
2. Cait, you seem to always be creating something and building new skill sets. How did this come about and how does it affect your business?
From an early age I would watch Mr. Dressup’s (HUGE Canadian icon) crafting segment on TV, and tackle it. I grew up on a ranch. Craft paper, googly eyes, and sparkles were few and far between. I’d improvise, cutting into nice blankets and clothing, sneaking out to the shop to use Dad’s John Deere green touch up paint and cutting my ponies tail to make a paint brush. I was born with a very strong will to create, it pushes me and my loved ones every day.
3. What do you attribute Cattle Cait's online growth and interaction to?
Honesty. Whether I’m on the kitchen floor in tears because another maker is copying my work or I’m jumping for joy when a pattern I designed worked, I share. You know, it never was meant to improve sales, I did it for me. I felt, if I’m going to survive making things alone in a basement, on a remote pasture surrounded by 100 sections of short grass prairie with no trees or creeks, away from family and friends… I need to be real, I need to share, laugh lots and cry.
4. Tell us about your "shop update" system, how that works for you, and any advice you might have for other creatives interested in that work flow for themselves?
My shop is 60% stock I make, design & sell and the other 40% is fulfilling custom orders. I find this ratio keeps me sane. It allows my voice to be heard and horizons to be broadened… “Do you think you could engrave the silver on that purse you’ve designed, Cait?” I think on it, save money, take a trip to Kansas to learn and I’ve got a new skill set, just because a customer thought I could. There’s power there.
When my ready made stock hits the website, I will announce a sale date and time beforehand, no holds, first come first served, easy peasy. It’s fair and creates demand. If you want it, you better buy it now.
5. How important do you find photography and styling to be for your bottom line?
I opened shop in 2012, and I’ve been taking and editing most of my own photos ever since. Actually you’ve probably noticed I’m in most of my product photos, out of necessity mainly, as I’m the only female form for miles haha. But as you were saying, it is important, I can’t expect someone to buy something from me I wouldn’t be comfortable wearing.
Tip that changed my life? I used to use the timer function and would set the camera on a fence post and run back and forth. I now have a clicker that hooks up to the flash and I can take photos with a little remote in my hand while posing. It’s made my life a whole lot easier.
6. At the Calgary Stampede this year, you were part of resurrecting a very cool tradition. Can you tell us a little about your experience and the history behind it?
I was asked, alongside my Mum and six other ladies to participate in the first sidesaddle race at the Calgary Stampede this past July. I was taught how to ride sidesaddle at the age of 4 by my Mum, Lee McLean, who instructs most sidesaddle riders north of the border. For me it’s not unusual, but the amount of press it received was. I’m still blown away by the positive response. It took amazing, honest horses, brave, gritty women and really supportive men. Did I mention my saddle was built in 1885?! It was re-rigged, but it did make you a little nervous on the ‘half mile of hell’, rounding the corner with over 40,000 people cheering… a lifelong memory for sure.
7. What kinds of activities and routines are imperative to your continued creativity and productiveness?
I’m not a routine person. The very thought of having breakfast at the same time every morning almost sends me into convulsions. The most important thing for me is realizing when I can’t pour from an empty cup. In those times (easier said than done) I need to stop the project I’m working on, back away, go outside, stick my hands into garden soil, ride a horse (last time I did this, he bucked me off and I had a long walk home but the idea was right) or go to town and just visit with people. Let new energy in, a recharge.
8. What do you listen to in the shop?
Lately, 60’s on 6, Sirius XM. Cousin Brucie alone is a HUGE inspiration. He’s been in the radio biz since 1959, and still going strong, that’s unbelievable. Also, when Nancy Sinatra starts telling me about her boots… it gets CRANKED! When I’m needing a change, it’s always back to Tom Petty, huge fan.
9. What advice do you have for the woman who would like to take her hobby to a business?
#1: You can take all the advice in the world, but you will learn the most from your failures, which sucks but you start getting used to it. #2: Listen to your gut, if something in your head is telling you, “I don’t think she’s going to like the green in her new belt.” Fix it… the very first thing out of her mouth will be, “Oh, I don’t like the green.” Trust yourself.
10. What is your favorite quote?
Like most of my generation, I think I have a new favourite every day. I heard one on JK Rowling’s ‘Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them’ yesterday, “Worrying means you suffer twice.” That hit home.
Cait can be found here -
Facebook - @CattleCait
Website - cattlecait.com
Instagram - cattlecait