Refinery X Swish: A Story of Human Ambition

On September 15th our friends at Refinery Clothing Co. and Swish Flowers celebrated a new milestone: The Opening of their newest locations- TOGETHER, at Southgate Center. This incredible new space boasts all the amazing-ness we have come to expect from Swish and Refinery. Adorable Kids Clothing, stunning Women’s Fashion, incredible plants and florals, tons of fantastic gift options ( hello, wall of VOLUSPA!) and not to be forgotten- the Epic corner of Sugarfina!

But what Everyone wants to know is.. What inspired this collaboration between two of Edmonton’s leading boutiques? What makes the #bossladies of Swish and Refinery tick? We’ve got the inside scoop!

Sheryl, the owner of Swish is a mother of Two, Calla (6) and Rafi (5). Shez, as she is affectionately known, is insanely creative, always dreaming and LOVES to break the rules.. as long as they aren’t illegal ones! Currently binge watching Shameless, she has a strong dislike of boomerangs (sorry, Sheryl, you probably HATE our insta!) and is so organized she fractions her time down to days, hours and minutes. This chick knows how to get things DONE!

RCS: What was your primary motivation for starting your own business? How long have you had your businesses for?

Sheryl: My motivation was myself – I really wanted to see if I could make something like this happen without any previous business experience, wanting to see if a passion could really turn into something.  That was 14 years ago!

RCS: What is the best part about being an entrepreneur?

Sheryl: I think the idea of being and entrepreneur is a bit of a misnomer.  You work harder than you would have ever thought.  You embrace more than you ever thought you could handle.  You cry.  You laugh.  You love.  And maybe in between all that, you just might take that day off that people think is available to you anytime.  Best part though, you’re a role model for your children, teaching them if they dream it, they can build it.

RCS: What is the most challenging part about being an entrepreneur?

Sheryl: Relationships.  Sometimes your relationships with people are not based on what you think, and it’s really hard to understand all the fine lines. When people say ‘it’s business, not personal’, all that means is that it’s not personal to them.

RCS: Your other locations are all free standing stores. What prompted the move into a mall setting and why did you choose southgate?

Sheryl: For Swish, it was really a marketing move.  Having said that – Christy and I have always talked about joining forces one way or another – and this was just the perfect opportunity!

RCS: Red or white Wine?

Sheryl: Depends on who I’m with.

RCS: What’s your favorite thing to “splurge” on?

Sheryl: It’s never about me anymore – it’s all shifted on my children, I splurge on them anytime I get.  Before children?  Bags, of all sorts, but it’s funny how ‘things’ just don’t hold a place in my heart anymore.

Christy, the fashionista behind Refinery Clothing Co. is mommy to Scarlett (4) and Wyatt (2). Coxy (her nickname since.. forever!) is outrageously comical, ridiculously on point 24/7 and always tries to focus on the big picture. Currently bingeing on Ozark, she occasionally uses boomerangs and has broken a rule or two in her day.. but ALWAYS feels guilty afterward! There is no question that her ambition and kindness go hand in hand.

RCS: What was your primary motivation for starting your own business? How long have you had your businesses for?

Christy: I opened up Refinery so I could follow my passion, and work for myself. I grew up on the South side and growing up I always had a passion for style, and making people feel really good about themselves. I took those two loves and opened up my Boutique. Every single day I walk in my store and the first thing I think about is making people feel beautiful. Even if it’s just from a comment or a conversation we have. It’s not always about the clothes. It’s about personal connections and the love I have for every one of my clients.

RCS: What is the best part about being an entrepreneur ?

Christy: Loving what I do. I chose this path and I absolutely love my job. I don’t get excited for Friday, and I don’t loathe Sunday evening. You know you are doing what you are supposed to be doing when you are fortunate enough to live a life like that.

RCS: What is the most challenging part about being an entrepreneur?

Christy: Every day of being an entrepreneur is the most challenging, I didn’t buy an existing business.
I created Refinery from a thought, put it into action, and have been working on perfecting it for the past five years. It sucks at times. Every single day you are faced with new challenges. But, hark work and passion and reminding yourself why you are doing it keeps you going. There is no system, you find your way by putting in the time and the effort. Hard work is the most controllable aspect of business and it’s the only thing in my mind that helps make you successful.

RCS: Your other location is a free standing store. What prompted the move into a mall setting and why did you choose Southgate?

Christy: Mall shopping is a mystery to me!! Let’s find that out together! Why Southgate? Because it’s the best mall in the city!

RCS: Red or white Wine?

Christy: Red!

RCS: What’s your favorite thing to “splurge” on?

Christy: Jackets!! We live in Alberta, I tell my clients if you have one splurge item a year, it should be on a jacket.

When asked why they work so well together, Sheryl and Christy say that they are “all the right kinds of risky”, and they don’t take themselves too seriously, BUT are serious when they need to be! Beyond that, they REALLY know how to laugh and brush off the small stuff when the moment arises. Their mutual distaste of the misspelling of the word “you’re” , their shared love of rescuing animals, and agreement over the fact that “there is no such thing as balance” make them the perfect duo!

Most of all, their story is a story of human Ambition!




Your little ones will LOVE this adorable treat machine that takes special tokens!


And of course,  they are stocking the highly coveted Hello Kitty x Sugarfina Sweets!

Next time you are in Southgate be sure to venture over and check out this gorgeous new store and support these incredible local #bossbabes! They are located over by Sears and the Gap.

Leave a Comment