Lori Turk of April Ideas, Creator of SAFEGRATE™
Lori Turk is a RevolutionHer™ member based out of North Vancouver, BC and is the owner of April Ideas. Lori is the inventor of SAFEGRATE™, a stainless steel kitchen tool that helps to protect your fingers when you grate food, ensuring that meal preparation is safe for the whole family. We connected with Lori to learn about her business, and her love for invention.
What is your “WHY” behind your business/being an entrepreneur?
Since I can remember, I have always wanted to create a product from an “idea”, bring it to market and make a great amount of profit from it! It has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. I have considered this to be the ultimate business challenge.
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I couldn’t get any of the big companies to license my kitchen tool, so if I wanted to bring it to market I had to do it myself! I haven’t craved to be an entrepreneur and perhaps this was because I saw my parents make so many sacrifices in their lives owning their own businesses. My last manager was the worst I have ever had and it really turned me off the corporate structure I had been in for so long; I knew I was ready to test myself and be on my own. The idea of going back to the industry I had been in for my next job made me sick, so I had no choice but to make this work. At my age – it’s now or never.
What’s the best part about owning your own business?
I love that I have the freedom to go for walks with friends during the day and not feel guilty because I know I will be up late working. I like not having to answer to a “crummy” manager and that I have the freedom to make my own decisions and rise or fall on those decisions. I am so thrilled to have met so many talented and new people on this journey that I otherwise wouldn’t have if I had stayed in the corporate world. It has been such an eye-opening, humbling and enriching experience in so many ways.
Describe people and/or experiences that have been instrumental to you along your journey to entrepreneurship – what impact did they have on you, and how did they help you get to where you are in your business today?
I have consulted and had input and feedback from so many people on this journey: easily 60+. Everyone has provided something valuable to me when I have interacted with them and they wouldn’t necessarily know that they just dropped a “gem” of helpful information my way. My parents both had their own businesses and while there was good and bad that came with that – they were better off financially than their peers and I thought more advanced and modern because they had to keep up with the business world. Both of my parents were sales people and I have their “genes” and both have been instilling the value of customer service and networking to me without knowing it. My dad taught me how to do my first “sales call” when I was 18 but my mom taught me the basics at her clothing store when I was 15.
What values do you believe in and live by, and how do they shine through when it comes to your role as a business owner?
I believe in honesty, the “golden rule of treating others how you would like them to treat you” and loyalty. Some business owners who have helped me with services or products to get up and running will continue to get my business because they were so great and helpful. I want to provide very good customer service like them to my customers. Treating people well and honestly is always helpful as a sales person and brings authenticity to the process which creates loyalty. I am also silently “mentoring” my son on the development of this business and getting him involved in so many ways because there are many life skills to be gained by working in a business.
What are you most proud of when it comes to your business/being an entrepreneur?
I’m most proud that I have persevered when there were setbacks or I woke with butterflies in my stomach because I thought perhaps I wasn’t going to be successful or was taking on too much. I just kept on going.
What does the future look like for you and your business?
Right now it looks so promising because I have just started. I have so many plans to get into retailers and possibly a licensing/royalty deal with a US company and then I have about 4 expansion product ideas to piggy back off of my original SAFEGRATE.
Any tips for women thinking of starting a business?
I recommend they get their financial house in order before they start researching the idea and to have money coming in while they do that research. I also recommend they do good, thorough research before they get started to validate the feasibility of what they want to do from a profit perspective. People will say good and bad things about your business/service/product and while it is so important to listen to it all with an open mind, it is also important to listen to your gut feelings about moving forward in this direction.