Shop Local: Meadow Gifts + Apparel

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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Thank you Casey & Sasha for this great interview!  Be sure to check out their shop when you’re in Gastown!  Don’t forget to follow them on facebook, pinterest, & twitter!

104 Water Street, Vancouver, BC, V6B 1B2, CANADA

hi.meadow.boutique@gmail.com

Monday – Saturday 10:30am – 6pm

Sunday 12pm – 5pm

Shop Local: Much&Little of Vancouver

much&littleshopAmong the shops on popular Main Street is a lovely little shop that evokes old world charm mixed with modern elements.  Much&Little is filled with natural wood, soft textiles, and simple products for the everyday.  Find out more in today’s “Shop Local” featured seller interview.

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1) Tell us who you are. 

My name is Sarah Savoy and I’m the owner/operator of Much&Little, located in the heart of Mount Pleasant in Vancouver (2541 Main Street). We’re a lifestyle boutique that focuses on things that are timeless, simple and well made. Many of our things are handmade by independent designers or other small businesses. We’ve got housewares and homegoods, ladies clothing, gifts and personal accessories for men and women, even a few things for babies.

2) Why did you open Much & Little and how did you get started?

Much&Little opened in October 2011. Previously, I had been in a job that wasn’t rewarding for me, and my son was reaching an age where I felt I could really dive into something substantial. It was difficult finding the type of work that I really wanted to do, so after a lot of soul searching I decided to take the plunge and I started putting a business plan together. I don’t have a retail background so it’s definitely been a learning curve, but I learn a bit everyday, and try not to repeat my mistakes!

3) Besides running your shop, what else do you do?

I’ve got a husband, a young son, and a very energetic dog, so life outside the shop is full. I have wonderful staff that can work weekends so I have quality family time again! We love to get up the mountains to ski, or do a little sailing. Living in Vancouver, you have to make the most of what the city has to offer! Other than that, I love to cook and eat, so I’m always up for meeting friends and having a bite. Vancouver has so many great restaurants and watering holes, there’s always somewhere new to try.

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4) What has been the best thing about running Much & Little in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood?

I had my hopes set on being in this area, so when a space came up for lease I jumped on it. I love the community feel of the area and the fact that I’m surrounded by other independent shops and businesses. The residents of the area have been very supportive, and I love seeing our regular customers coming in just to say hello.

5) In three words, how would you describe your shop?

Warm, tactile, inviting.

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6) Each item in your shop is hand picked not only for aesthetics and function, but also for the story behind it. Can you elaborate on this?

I like to know the people or businesses I’m supporting when I source new products. The process behind a product is just as important as the item itself. If I can tell the story of a how a product came to be, then I think it really adds value to it. I prefer to support independent artists and designers if I can, not to say that we don’t have items that are produced in factories, but they have to make sense for us and fit into the overall mix.

7) Much & Little has a wide selection of hand crafted items.  What does handmade mean to you and your business?

To me handmade goods are those made in smaller runs with love and attention to detail. They’ve come right from the source and bear all the personal marks and sometimes imperfections of the maker; of course the skill has to be there and the overall aesthetic has to work as well. The Japanese concept of wabi-sabi really resonates with me.

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8) Who or what has influenced your shop’s design aesthetic?

I have an interior design degree and I find my taste hasn’t changed much over the years. I love texture and natural, organic elements. Wood. Ceramics. Natural textiles. Nothing too precious or perfect. I grew up in a home that could loosely be described as West Coast modern and I still have that sensibility in me. The homes of Charles and Ray Eames and Russel Wright are my dream homes.

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9) Describe 3 items currently in the shop.  One a splurge, one a steal, and one that is your favourite.

Splurge on a wool kilim rug, Duralex drinking glasses are a steal, and one of my favourite items is a Frost River canvas and leather weekend bag that I recently used for a business trip to LA.

10) Where would you like to be in 10 years? 

Who knows!  I hope Much&Little stands the test of time – maybe it will have expanded! But I will give the same advice to myself that I give to my son: that whatever I do, I should do with full energy and heart, otherwise it’s just not worth it.

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Thank you Sarah for this great interview!  Be sure to visit her shop if you happen to be in Vancouver!  You can follow Sarah of Much&Little on Twitter and Faceboook as well!  Don’t forget to comment, like, pin, tweet, or share this interview if you would like to see more great interviews.

Much&Little

2541 Main Street, Vancouver, BC, V5T 3E5
hello@muchandlittle.com
tel 604.709.9034

HOURS:

MONDAY to SATURDAY 11 am – 6 pm     

SUNDAY 12 pm – 5 pm

STATUTORY HOLIDAYS 12 pm – 5 pm

Featured Seller & Special Offer: Giddy Up & Grow of Alberta

Today’s interview features one of Babble’s top 50 Etsy Baby Shops of 2013!  Check out Giddy Up & Grow on the March 2013 cover issue of Canadian Family Magazine and don’t forget to visit her shop at giddyupandgrow.etsy.com or follow her on facebook, twitter, or her blog.

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1) Tell us a bit about yourself. 

My name is Robyn, and I live in Alberta, Canada. I am the sole creator of Giddy Up & Grow, a hand made hair accessory company.

2) Why did you start Giddy Up & Grow and how did you get started?

When my second child was born , a daughter, I started sewing tiny dresses and making matching hair accesories for her. I would get asked by other moms where I purchased her hair acessories, so i started an etsy shop selling my designs.

3) Besides your handmade business, what else do you do?

I am a wife and mom to 2 kids, a son and a daughter. They keep me busy with all their activities!

4) Giddy Up & Grow uses many different materials and colours; often in one design. Where do you get your inspiration for your designs and do you start with an idea or the materials themselves?

My inspiration comes from many aesthetics. I love home decor, textiles, fashion and art. I try to stay current with trends but add my own twist or a vintage element to keep the design special.

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5) Giddy Up & Grow has a celebrity following that includes Kourtney Kardashian, Jessica Simpson, and Tina Fey. How did you find out about your popularity with these celebs?

An agency had contated me, and asked if I wanted to participate in a baby gift basket that was being sent to a couple of these celebrities. But most of the time, you have to search the tabloids to find pictures of celebrity children wearing your deisgns! It’s a lot of word-of-mouth in the celebrity circle.

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6) With over 3000 Etsy sales, it is clear that you have a successful business formula. What business advice do you have for new Etsy sellers?

Be prepared to spend some serious time at your craft to perfect it, and find exactly what sells and what customers want. The first year of any new business, is the hardest. If you can get through that first year, and you still love what you are doing, then you have a winner!!

7) Being that you are a full time mom and run an online business, how do you balance your work life and home life so well?

My husband is a big help. I am usually awake early in the morning, before the kids, so I can answer emails and do the administratives. Then the rest of the day is focused on the kids. I then stay up late working on designs.

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8) Branding & packaging seem to be an important part of any business when it comes to standing out. What are some personal touches you add to your products, packaging, branding and shipping that seem to work for your business?

Before I had kids, I had a career in advertising. I worked at Venture Communications, alongside Arlene Dickinson (the only female judge on the T.V. show Dragons Den). Packaging and branding was huge in my career. I think for, in my business, is adding a personal touch to every package. I want the buyer to feel special, and know they are appreciated. I usually add a little “thank you” note, and a tiny bow hair clip into each package.

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9) What item in your shop is your top seller or is your favourite design?

Gosh, there have been so many favorites, but right now I am loving the Aztec bows. I am obsessed with Aztec prints, geometric shapes and woodland elements. I think my biggest sellers have been the woodland animals (Fox, Owl, and Bunny Headbands), or the little studded bow hair clips. Any of these designs make great baby shower gifts!

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10) Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I would love to be collaborating with high-end fashion houses that offer children’s lines. For example, I would love to work with Stella McCartney to design accessories for her children’s collections! One can dream!!

Thank you Robyn for letting us into your world of handmade goodness!  As a thank you to all the readers here, Robyn is offering a limited time discount at Giddy Up & Grow!  Just enter coupon code CURIOUSNOOK at checkout for 15% off your whole purchase!  Offer valid until March 18, 2013 (11:59pm, Pacific Time)

Featured Seller: Supayana of Montreal!

Our first featured seller interview of 2013 starts with a talented designer based out of Montreal who has over 11 thousand followers on Etsy.  Please visit her wonderful etsy shop or check out her general website for more information. 

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1) Tell us a bit about yourself.

Name: Yana Gorbulsky
Location: Montreal, Quebec
What you sell: women’s and baby clothing
Shop: supayana.etsy.com

2) Why did you start your business and how did you get started?

I started selling my designs on eBay when I was in University. I majored in Speech Pathology so fashion was more of a side project to help me pay for school.

3) Besides your handmade business, what else do you do? 

I do it full-time so I don’t have another job. For fun, I like to ride my bike, do yoga, and cross country skiing. I love plants and gardening. I also love animals. Last summer, I volunteered at a chimpanzee sanctuary and made a vegetable garden on the property for the animals. That was a great way to combine my interests!

supayana24) Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?

I usually design backwards, meaning I find my fabrics first and then I design my collection around the fabrics.

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5) What materials and handmade processes do you love the most or are experimenting with?
I know it’s pretty boring, but my favorite fabric is a nice woven cotton with a great print. Its what I love to wear the most. As for handmade processes, I don’t really do much other than sew. I do enjoy crocheting, but only for fun.

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6) How important is marketing for your small business and what has been most effective for you?

Luckily, I find that most of the time, blogs and magazines find me. I’m very busy working on new designs or fulfilling orders to really market myself. I do use Facebook and instagram and I find those are really easy ways to market yourself without really trying. I think my advice for a new business owner is to spend less time marketing and more time making an awesome product. Word of mouth is by far the best marketing! Make something that people will tell their friends about.

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7) What is one thing about running a small business that you wish you had known about before you got started?

Well, it started kind of organically so I didn’t really have any expectations. I guess I would tell anyone that they have to be very good at time management and money management. (Both time and money can be extremely tight if you don’t plan well!)

8) What are some personal touches you add to your products, packaging, branding and shipping that seem to work for your business?

I don’t have anything too special. I have nice woven labels for all of my garments, along with matching hang tags. I wrap up my orders in kraft tissue paper and seal it with a branded sticker.

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9) What item in your shop is your top seller or is your favourite design?

Top sellers are always changing for me. For a while it was my sleeve neck shirts, then it was shirts and dresses with the digitally printed animal “scarves”. Now I would say my top sellers are my digitally printed leggings.

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10) Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Hopefully by then I would do less sewing and more designing. I would love to buy a teeny house on a farm not far from the city and grow tons of vegetables. Maybe I would have a barn where I could work out of in the summer. It’s nice to dream isn’t it?

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Thank you Yana for sharing your shop, designs, and business savvy!  If you liked this post, please comment or share this with your friends!