1) What inspired you to open shop?
We (Prudie and RJ) first opened our hair studio in 2004 and always had the intention of turning the space into a retail store. We eventually reworked the existing space to include a full salon in the back and enough space in the front for the shop.
2) How do you choose what products to stock?
We bought stuff that we liked, thinking it was the best way to express who we were as a store. We both are always hunting for new brands, go to a lot of craft sales, and get cold-call offers from people wanting to sell here. We like to keep new stuff coming in, but there are some essential items we keep in stock all the time.
3) How much of your stock comes from local artisans, and why is it important to support them?
We stock as much local stuff as we can, especially when it comes to handmade items. It’s about 25% local, 50% Canadian, and 25% global. The Shop Local movement has created a new intimacy between shoppers and makers. When people walk in and see local brands that they recognize—like Justine Ma, Bang Bang Bijoux, Pura Botanicals, and Beton Brut—you can see a connection when they buy it. There are also a lot of creative people out there who can’t imagine an outlet for their products. When they come in and see a local artist prominently displayed in a shop, it’s encouraging.
4) What is surprising about downtown Edmonton?
That people make the trek downtown just to come to our store. We’re a stand-alone destination and a surprising number of people say they drove 30–40 minutes just for us. It makes us feel great, but also makes us hopeful that further development in the core will help close the gap between the destination shops.
5) Is there anything in particular that you feel people should know?
Shopping in local boutiques really does improve your city and your neighbourhood. Independent shop owners take a huge risk to do something they feel passionate about. And when we see someone buy anything, no matter how big or small or expensive it is, it feels like a win, because we liked the same thing.
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