Writer Melissa Schilz heads out to Dalhousie Street for an interview with Mika Lemm, the mastermind behind one of the city’s hot spots for second-hand shopping.
Searching for the perfect vintage shop can get tedious, especially if you’re new to the city. But look no more, the secret is out: Dalhousie Street is home to some of the most unique shops in Ottawa, including one special gem, Young Janes.
Owner Mika Lemm had her start in Manchester, U.K., back in 2006 when she opened her first shop, Chloe’s Closet (the psychology-student-turned-businesswoman says she worked in retail as a teenager and grew to love it). She then made her way to Ottawa and set up shop on Dalhousie in 2008. After a few years accumulating a whole lot of vintage stock in her small store — which became a haven for hipsters, vintage-lovers, girly-girls, and anyone who loves the hunt — she decided it was time for a change. She snagged the perfect space just a block away, closer to the epicenter of Dalhousie, which allowed the store to expand. It’s now garnering more traffic than ever.
The new store, an older two-storey structure with the beautifully detailed original ceilings still intact, is home to some of the best finds in Ottawa. From fur hats to recycled jewellery, the boutique is filled with hand-picked pieces that have been brought back to life by the young entrepreneur. Lemm brings a fresh twist to the vintage scene, taking inspiration from her travels in Europe. Her stock offers a polished and put-together look, and she wants each piece to be something special. A believer in the tried and true statement that “everything comes back,” a lot of Young Janes’ looks have a modern twist and compete with what’s hot on the runway this season. And now that she has more space, Lemm says she has even bigger plans for the store. Furniture is on Young Janes’ horizon, so some day in the future you’ll be able to deck out both your closet and your home with these unique vintage looks.
Young Janes is located at 223 Dalhousie St. in the Byward Market., 613-794-6452. www.youngjanes.blogspot.com