Nestled in the heart of Vancouver’s Gastown is a new gift shop located in one of the many historic buildings that line the cobblestone streets. What was once a neighbourhood of warehouses is now a hive for design, tourism, and night life. Meadow Gifts + Apparel is a perfect fit! Check out today’s “Shop Local” featured seller interview to find out more about this little gem.
1) Tell us who you are.
We are Casey Myrfield and Sasha Freeman. Our shop is called Meadow Gifts and Apparel and we are located at 104 Water Street in Gastown. We carry cool handmade products ranging from clothing and gifts for men, women and babies to home wares and bath and body products. You can find us on FaceBook, Instagram and you can even shop online (www.shopmeadow.ca).
2) Why did you open Meadow Gifts + Apparel and how did you get started?
Sasha had been able to quit her day job a few years ago to work on her own business Track and Field Designs and Casey had just finished her degree (a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Conservation) and we were trying to think of ways to work and take care of our kids without having to put them in daycare. Between us we have three two year olds (Sasha has a daughter and Casey has twin boys). In May 2012 we decided to open a store. It has been a dream of ours since we were kids (we are sisters). We started writing a business plan and then applied for financing. We were incredibly fortunate to receive a start-up loan from Canadian Youth Business Foundation and everything fell into place. By chance we met Dianna of Sickelmores Flowers who was looking to rent space with a gift shop. We found a perfect space and completely renovated it which was a huge job seeing as the space used to be a shady cheque cashing place complete with a wall of bullet proof glass and floor to ceiling oak panelled walls. The rest is history – looking back we don’t know how we pulled it off in such a short amount of time – and we opened our doors on November 6, 2012.
3) What has been the best thing about opening and running Meadow Gifts + Apparel in Vancouver’s historic Gastown?
The building we are in was built in 1907 and has a 20 foot ceiling complete with the original tin ceiling tiles and exposed pipes. And we are in love with the gorgeous cobblestone sidewalks. It is a major tourist area but there is a real community feeling among the locals.
4) Besides running your shop, what else do you do?
Between the store and our families there isn’t time for much else right now! We switch days working at the shop so whoever isn’t working at the store is taking care of all three kids. We really look foward to sleeping by the end of the day.
5) Meadow Gifts + Apparel carries many handmade products. What does handmade mean to you and why is it important to your business?
We have been making things our whole lives so it seemed only natural to us. We know what kind of time and care goes into making something by hand so we have a great appreciation for anything that someone has taken the time to create. Most people create because they love it, so handmade items are usually infused with great care and pride unlike something mass produced in a factory.
6) Besides stocking handmade goods, what else makes Meadow Gifts + Apparel a unique shopping experience?
We share our space with a talented florist so our shop is always full of beautiful flowers and plants. We wanted to create a shop that was accessible and that we would want to shop at ourselves. We love it when people spend a lot of time looking at everthing in the shop…and then tell us how much they love it!
7) It must be a fun job to discover fresh products to fill your shelves. What do you look for in a product when you are considering adding it to your shop?
Luckily for us, we have had a great response to the products we have chosen for our shop. First and foremost we look for a quality product, it must also fit in with the aesthetic vision of the shop and have been produced in a way that hasn’t harmed any person, persons or the environment. Also, because we both work at the shop we get to know our customers and we take their suggestions and feedback very seriously.
8) How do you find local talent to feature in your shop?
We follow blogs, peruse Etsy, attend craft fairs and since we have both been doing the craft fair circuit for a while we know a lot of people who make really cool stuff.
9) Describe 3 of your favourite items currently in the shop.
Anything by The Stowe, her Mason Jar Travel mugs were our most popular item over the Christmas season and continue to be one of our shop favorites; Supayana‘s Fox dress is also a consistent favourite of ours and our customers and Oh Kuol‘s druzy and gemstone jewlery is impossible to resist.
10) Where would you like to be in 10 years?
Having at least one employee and another location!!! And finally having our online shop finished!
104 Water Street, Vancouver, BC, V6B 1B2, CANADA
Monday – Saturday 10:30am – 6pm
Sunday 12pm – 5pm