Tidal Salt started on a warm summer day when a husband tried to make a unique gift for his wife. After finishing a small batch of sea salt made from a nearby beach, it just made sense that this gift should be shared with the world.
Tidal Salt harvests fleur de sel and flavoured sea salts directly from Nova Scotia’s rugged coastline so that you can have a little piece of Nova Scotia on your dinner table.
We spoke with Owner Colin Duggan about how the business started, and what he has learned along the way.
What inspired you to start your business? Throughout my life I've had an almost comedic ability to surround myself with people who have had no problem taking the best of me while at the same time making sure I felt that I didn't belong or that I wasn't good enough. It took me a good number of years to learn that really vital lesson that we are a product of not only the people we have around us, but also of our own willingness to trust in our instincts. That led me to Lawerencetown Beach two summers ago and my first little batch of sea salt. I tinkered with my salt making "hobby" for a few months and it felt really good. It was then that I realized that I was hearing a lot of people around me picking away at my little idea, that I wouldn't follow through, that it was a waste of time or that it wouldn't work out. Before that point in my life, I would have listened to them and let those voices ruin a perfectly good thing. However, those voices didn't match up with the feeling that had that I was doing something important for myself and my family.
I took that conflict between positive and negative and used it to motivate me into this entrepreneurial life - and things will never be the same again!
What were you like when you were 4 years old? I've never had a good memory of my childhood, it's really a blur to me. What I do know is that I was always a kid whose enthusiasm and willingness to trust others led me to feel a little left out; but it also fueled a sense of earnest, intense curiosity that stays with me to this day. I definitely know that I was absolutely in love with dinosaurs, although it wasn't until I saw Jurassic Park a few years later that it turned into a full on obsession. I remember a visit from Mr. Dressup to my preschool and that I was really jazzed that I taught myself how to scoot my chair into the lunch table with just my feet and without someone helping me push it in.
What do you know now, that you wish you knew when you started your business? I really wish I knew when to take the time and plan out a decision and when to simply take action. Getting a small business off the ground is almost entirely about action over deliberation, at least in the beginning. A new business needs a foundation before you can really start to build anything, and there's rarely a foundation that you can "plan" into existence.
The small business entrepreneur needs to decide that it's time to act, roll up their sleeves and start getting things done. Part of that is accepting that mistakes will be made, but they are stepping stones that, if you take the time to learn from them, only make the business stronger. I've literally been knee deep in Bay of Fundy mud flats in a failed attempt to collect saltwater, it was thoroughly discouraging but ultimately led me to take the time to learn what the business needed me to learn and that knowledge led me to find my favorite salt harvesting spots that I still use today! My business needed me to act, learn from my action and use that knowledge to be better.