Ucluelet Shopping Guide
I love the community feel of Ucluelet and I look forward to heading home everyday after working in Tofino for the day. It is a quieter town and to some may seem a little more sleepy and not as hip, but I love it's unique feel. With lots of places to venture off to around the town like the Wild Pacific Trail, Ucluelet has tons to offer, including it's unique and beautiful shops. As you have seen from my previous posts, Zoe's Bakery and Cafe is my go to stop for baked goods when I don't feel like making my own, the best bread in town or even a bite of lunch. There are some great and different spots to shop in town too.
Opening only last year, this newer shop to Ucluelet is a welcome and modern shop for a sometimes sleepy town. With a curated collection of quality goods and a selection of vintage finds, Gypsy Drifterhas a little something for everyone. Handcrafted artisan goods can also be found in the shop, from beautiful ceramics to dyed pillow cases and even unique oil blends for aromatherapy or the home. They also carry some great gifts for kids. When you walk into the space you feel a sense of calm, perhaps it's all the crystals on display and for sale or just the relaxed west coast feels. Pop in next time you're having a coffee or baked good at Zoe's Bakery, you'll be sure to find something for that unique friend of yours. Located at 272 Main Street in Ucluelet, BC. Check out their Instagram to see more of their handpicked pieces: @gypsydriftershop
The Den Studio:
Although The Den functions mostly as a creative space for artists and creatives to come together, create and collaborate, there is also some unique pieces to purchase. The Den has hand chosen a few Canadian products for sale as well as ready to buy art. However, if you don't see something you would like, you may also be able to commission a piece by a local artist. Located at 14-1645 Cedar Rd, Ucluelet, BC, this space was definitely needed in the small town of Ucluelet. It not only gives local artists a chance to work together and get inspired by one another, it is also a space for the community. The Den hosts numerous interesting workshops, a few that I have attended and help bring people together to explore their creative sides. Check out Instagram: @theden.studios and their website to see the workshops and goods they offer: https://www.theden-studios.com/
Pina is a little print and clothing shop located at 1768 Peninsula Rd in Ucluelet, BC. They have a sister shop in Tofino, which is smaller, but carries all the same products. They create and print original, west-coast inspired designs on sustainable clothing. Pina is a great place to grab a cozy sweatshirt or comfy tee for yourself or a loved one this holiday season. From sweater wearing sea lions to funky pineapples there's a print for everyone. The coolest part about their printing is if you don't like the tees or tops on offer you can bring your own clothing in to have it printed on. Definitely a local favourite and a must stop for any tourist, make sure you pick up some of your holiday gifts this season in either location! You can shop online too! Check out their website and Instagram to see more of their amazing pieces: https://www.pinastyles.com/ @pinastyles
Tofino Shopping Guide
When I first move to a new place my priority is to suss out the best places to eat and get coffee. The next thing I do is find my favourite shops. I'm a firm believer in shopping locally and supporting small businesses because I come from a family who has their own small business. Tofino is perfect for this, although the town itself is very small it has a wide range of unique shops where you can find wonderful gifts for yourself or for your friends and family. I often find myself on my lunch break walking to my favourite shops looking for a card or present to send someone for their birthday or just because. Who doesn't love getting mail? This holiday season I suggest you check out the small shops in your town, I know I will be. If you're in Tofino this weekend then you're in luck because it's Jingle into Christmas. An event that happens every year where Friday evening the shops stay open late offering sales and treats. Head down to finish off your Christmas list!
Merge is a creative space and boutique tucked away in the centre of Tofino, BC. They carry a number of handmade pieces and carry many different artisan brands. From greenery to ceramics, from cosmetics to children's toys, there is a little something for everyone. I love supporting local shops, especially at Christmas when the materiality of the holiday can really get away from you. If you have any creative people in your life, I would highly suggest shopping here. Check out their website: https://www.mergetofino.com/ to see what they carry and what they are all about. They are a little tucked away from the beaten path, look for the little pink building behind the bank CIBIC Bank, 305B Campbell Street, Tofino, BC. Be sure to check out their beautifully curated Instagram page as well: @merge.tofino
Caravan Beach Shop Tofino:
Caravan Beach Shop is one of a kind, especially in its tiny size. Built by friends and family, it quickly became a necessary stop for anyone visiting the wild west coast. The shop itself represents the owner's interpretation of the Pacific Northwest Coast. The wooden building feels warm and cozy, like a cabin. From clothing for hiking or surfing, to the perfect gift cards, scented candles and soaps and even dainty one of a kind jewelry. This little beach shop carries something you will want. Before the holidays be sure to pop in, you never know you might find something perfect for that outdoorsy loved one in your life! Check out their website: https://caravanbeachshop.com/ to see what awesome stuff they carry and be sure to check out their Instagram to get inspired for your next coastal adventure: @caravan_beach_shop Located on the main drag, you won't miss it, 346 Campbell Street, Tofino, BC.
SALT Tofino, is a unique gift shop located in Tofino, BC. Located above the Whale Centre and next to the park, its location is in the centre of downtown Tofino, 411 Campbell Street. Whether you are visiting from afar and want to take home something to remember your trip by or need a gift for a friend, this is place to go. Check out their Instagram: @salttofino to see their great and fun merchandise. You won't be able to find some of the lines they carry anywhere else in Tofino. From Vancouver Candle Co. to Tofino Towel, SALT has some of the best gifts in town.
For Him: Christmas Gift Guide
Not to rush you but Christmas is coming, it's almost the beginning of December! Where has this year gone? I'm not one to get stressed at this time of year because quite honestly it is my favourite time of year! I love finding gifts for the special people in my life, whether it's something small for a girlfriend or something really special for my partner. I love the hunt and planning each gift out, but that's just me! If you are less organized or inspired this Christmas season to get something for that special guy in your life I've put together a little gift guide to make it a bit easier. There's something for everyone, so scroll down below to have a closer look.
Sneakers are everywhere at the moment. This goes for men's fashion too. Adidas has gone back in time and brought out some vintage looking shoes. This pair above, the Gazelle are a fan favourite. They come in numerous colours but I love this green suede shade with the black leather accents. This pair of sneakers are perfect for everything, you can dress them up or down, depending on your day.
I think it's fair to say that most people expect socks for Christmas. They're the type of present you rarely buy yourself so if you're stuck on a simple gift for a man in your life I say get him socks. Not the most exciting gift I know, but if you go for a fun, trendy pattern or Christmas ones they can be fun! This 3 pack from American Eagle is perfect, their socks are great and they've got loads to choose from.
Camp Brand Goods is a company out of the Canadian Rockies. If you're looking for a unique gift this year, why not support a Canadian brand like this one. Their aim is to deliver high quality fleece and casual wear that reflect their lifestyle of enjoying the outdoors. They have a wide variety of men's and women's tees and sweatshirts, all unique and comfy. If you have a guy in your life that likes to be comfy (who doesn't?) then you should definitely consider Camp Brand Goods for your gift!
This time of year can be difficult for shopping, especially when it comes to buying things online. I believe it's better to know where your purchases are coming from and made, that's why Province of Canada is such a great brand. A brand that is all about Canada, it represents the lifestyle and culture of Canada and is actually made in Canada. The brand is all about luxury and quality, while remaining true to it's Canadian roots of casual and cozy. This toque is a great gift for one of the men in your life, whether it be your partner, your best friend or your dad. That's what is so great about this brand, it works for everyone.
If you're unsure of what to get a guy in your life why not go for the easy and almost always welcome option, booze? Cowichan Gin is made with alcohol from BC fruit and aged over three years in stainless steel tanks to soften the finish. It features over twenty plants from the Cowichan Valley, you can't get much more local than that. Grab a bottle of this next time your at Merridale Cidery, even to keep as an extra gift just in case or as a gift to yourself!
We all know that this time of year means lots of food, drink and not much exercise. Everyone starts the new year off with lots of resolutions, so why not help someone out with this yoga mat? I find that this time of year on Vancouver Island can get especially dreary and to keep my energy levels up I have been going to yoga more and more. Even if the man you're planning on giving this to doesn't like yoga classes, he can use it at home for yoga, workouts or stretching.
I hope that this gift guide gave you some inspiration for both your own personal wishlist as well as those guys or girls you have left to buy for. I'm not going to remind you how many shopping days are left until Christmas because that's just plain mean. However, remember that this time of year is more than just gifts, remember to spend time with your loved ones too!
Victoria Shopping Guide
Growing up in Victoria was amazing. I've watched the city grow so much, especially over the past few years to include so many beautiful and one of a kind shops. As a creator myself, I realize how important it is to support the creative people or places in your life. This time of year can be very overwhelming, especially starting tomorrow, Black Friday, where everything is marked down (and who can resist a deal?) Well instead of sitting at home on your computer and ordering all your gifts online at a low cost, why not take a weekend to pick unique and truly perfect gifts for the people in your life. They don't have to cost a lot, but why not take the opportunity to walk into these small shops and see what amazing pieces they have. From unique indoor plants or flower arrangements at Rook & Rose, to hand crafted leather goods at Jovee Handcrafted, finally to beautiful jewelry and accessories at Little Gold, you are bound to find something for someone in your life. Go into these shops and meet the wonderful people behind them, you will not regret it, even if you choose not to buy anything. Shop locally this holiday season and support the creative people in Victoria.
Rook & Rose:
Rook & Rose is so much more than a flower shop. Located on Lower Johnson Street in Victoria, it carries much more than just flowers. The designers source wild flowers and plants, crafting beautiful and unique arrangements. They also offer apothecary, candles, crystals in a well curated boutique. Visit their website to view everything they offer this holiday season. If you are stuck on what to buy that unique person in your life, why not buy them a piece from Rook & Rose. They deliver across North America and also have a small pop-up shop in Tofino's Merge Collective. Every time I walk down Johnson Street I have to stop in at Rook & Rose where I stand in awe of their beautifully curated space with so many pieces on offer. My wishlist definitely has one of their indoor plants or one one of their perfectly dried boutiques to decorate my home. Check out their Instagram for some seriously awe inspiring flowers, plants, apothecary and accessories: @rookandrose
Designer Alexis Kastner's studio and shop are hidden in the eclectic Fan Tan Alley. A self-taught designer, Alexis makes some unique and absolutely beautiful bags and accessories. Victoria has become inspiration from Toronto born Alexis and you can see the surroundings of such a beautiful city within her pieces. Jovee Handcrafted is all made by hand and made solely by Alexis. This season I believe it is really important to shop locally and I do so as much as possible. Jovee Handcrafted is the perfect spot to pick something up for someone special in your life. If you don't see anything that grabs your eye in the boutique (I don't know if that's possible,) then send her an email requesting a custom piece. No two pieces are alike so whatever you end up getting, whether a gift for yourself or someone you love, it will be one of a kind. If you want to learn more about Jovee Handcrafted, check out the interview I did with Alexis on the blog.
A woman-owned business, Little Gold is a well curated shop with pieces you can't find just anywhere. My favourite jewelry shop in Victoria, I have asked for numerous pieces by emerging and independent designers they carry for gifts from my boyfriend, Dave, and I have loved everything he has bought me from Little Gold. This space holds a curated selection of jewelry, including their own house line, as well as home wares and accessories. The range of pieces lends itself to the unique designers both local and international that they carry. Even standing outside the shop puts a spring in my step. I am often browsing their beautiful online shop: https://www.littlegold.com/ and liking everything on their beautiful Instagram page: @shoplittlegold Next time you are in downtown Victoria be sure to stop into their shop at 104A-560 Johnson St, Victoria. I assure you, you will not leave the shop empty handed, especially if you need to get a loved one a special gift this holiday season.
For Her: Christmas Gift Guide
Can you believe it's already the middle of November? You know what that means, Winter Is Coming. That's inevitable, but it's Christmas that is going to sneak up on us way quicker than any of us thought. So I decided to make everyone's lives a little bit easier by putting together a little gift guide for the women in your life. Whether it's your mum, sister, best friend, girlfriend or wife you're shopping for. Make it easier on yourself by checking out this unique list of items and hopefully there will be something to inspire you! Check back next week for a series about my favourite places to shop on the West Coast, in Ucluelet, Tofino and my old home Victoria.
These booties are perfect for that fashionista in your life. Booties are everywhere this season and can be worn with everything. These block heel version from Zara are fun with their jacquard pattern and on trend, great for that stylish person in your life. Check out their website for more great winter picks, I have always loved Zara but I think they have really nailed it this season.
This piece is great for that special lady in your life. Yes it is even on my own personal wishlist. I have been a fan of Wolf Circus for some time now, almost always ordering something from their line for someone's Christmas present. Their pieces are such high quality at a great price point. Simple pendants are definitely on trend in the jewelry world at the moment and this one is both simple yet unique with the artistic touch of the female body in the pendant.
Tanya Burr is one of my favourite bloggers right now. I absolutely love her style and her makeup is amazing. I am not much of a makeup person but she is definitely an inspiration for whenever I am going out and want my look to really make a statement. Her book about all things Christmas recently came out and is the perfect present for any woman in your life. With baking and DIY ideas, there is something for everyone in it.
Backpacks are everywhere at the moment and such an easy way to carry all your needs instead of lugging around a large purse. When my cousin came over to my parents place in Victoria the other week she was sporting one and loved it, especially for cycling to work. I had a Lonchamp bag for years and loved it, it held everything. This is a great gift for that woman in your life who is always on the go but still wants to look fashionable!
A scarf is a great gift to give anyone, from your mum to your best friend, everyone appreciates a beautiful scarf. Aritizia carries some of the best scarves around, from blanket scarves to beautiful yet functional scarves like the one above. I love the metallic hearts that cover this one and the blush colour. It would be perfect to keep you both warm but always looking stylish.
What woman doesn't love a good throw pillow? If you have someone in your life that is difficult to buy for, especially when it comes to clothes, why not pick her up one of these fun pillows. Perfect to decorate both your couch or bed, or even to use as a cushion to sit on the floor. They come in so many fun coloured velvet, the fabric of the season!
I have to admit that my workout clothes are all Lululemon and I am always wanting more! If you have a lady in your life who is active these long sleeve tops are perfect for this time of year. The ombre effect is both stylish and flattering, or if you prefer a plain colour, it comes in numerous different shades to choose from.
Shopping local is so important and when you live in a small community like I do, it is so nice to support the local shops. Tofino Soap Co. has such a wonderful range of soaps and candles that it would be hard not to find something for someone on your Christmas list. Or just pick it up for yourself as a treat. I know I will be purchasing some of their gorgeous soaps for both the women and men in my life.
This time of year means cuddling up and getting cozy. This throw blanket from Anthropologie would be a great gift for someone living in a colder climate. It would be perfect for the back of a couch or on top of a bed, easy to reach for those cold evenings curled up in front of the fire.
I have to admit I ordered this Balm Dotcom Trio and I can't wait to try it. I promised myself I would only keep one and give the other two as gifts. Lip gloss is an easy present to give any of your girlfriends because who doesn't love a good lip colour? Glossier has boomed in popularity since they started their company. However, their line is minimalist which is great when it comes to makeup, because sometimes simple is more.
I hope this top 10 gift guide gave you some inspiration for both your own personal Christmas list as well as who you have left to buy for. I'm not going to remind you how many days until Christmas, because we all know it will be here way too quickly! Happy shopping!
Valentine's Gift Guide: For Him
One week until Valentine's Day and we can forget about the important men in our lives. Here's a little gift guide for that special guy in your life.
I got a S'well water bottle for Christmas and I can't begin to tell you how much I love it. This water bottle with its cute hearts is the perfect gift for that special someone for Valentine's Day. It keeps water cold for 24 hours or hot for 12 hours and comes in numerous styles, making a good fit for anyone in your life.
Who doesn't love cinnamon hearts at Valentine's Day? This toothpaste is imported from Florence, Italy, and comes in a variety of flavours. It isn't only a delicious minty, cinnamon flavour but the design is fashionable and something you would be happy to display on your bathroom counter.
For that man in your life who has a beard that they like to keep looking good. Made with pure natural oils to keep your beard smelling and looking fresh. Made at Victory Barber, here in Victoria, B.C. a great option for buying local.
What better way to say Happy Valentine's Day then with a fun pair of heart print briefs. Check out the V-Day shop on American Eagle's website for some more great ideas for Valentine's Day for that special guy or girl in your life.
Feel like really spoiling your man? A watch is a great gift, something they'll treasure forever. This simple style could be paired with any outfit, the brown leather strap with the royal blue face compliment each other perfectly. This brand is also available at Hudson Bay.
For that gentleman in your life who wants his moustache to look perfect from day to night. This wax has a classic medium hold and delicious scent of honey and mint. Made in shop at Victory Barber, Victoria, BC a great local gift to pick up for that important and stylish man in your life.
Valentine's Gift Guide: For Her
Valentine's Day is just around the corner! I put together a little gift guide for some ideas for the special lady in your life. Whether you're buying for a partner or for your best friend for 'Galentines Day,' there's a little something for everyone.
This candle has hints of fig, bergamot and anise and is my favourite candle in rotation at the moment. Even the box is perfect for Valentine's Day with its red decor. Each candle is handmade with premium soy wax and has a 60hr burn.
These dainty stud earrings spell out X O in braille. This pair is handmade in sterling silver by Canadian designer, Elea Plastino. The designers jewelry is unique with each piece, as the braille message is for the wearer empowering the woman wearing them.
Because nothing says Valentine's Day quite like a sexy, red lingerie set. For Love and Lemons has been a favourite of mine for some time now, (even if this love affair is mostly over Instagram) and this pair is definitely something to long for. However, if this price point is a little high for you, check out La Senza for similar styles with a much lower price point.
If you're like me, I won't be wearing red on Valentine's Day, however, I love a red nail. This red nail polish with its metallic finish is the perfect colour for that Valentine's manicure. Butter London is my favourite nail polish brand, its products are not tested on animals and free from all those horrible chemicals found in other nail polish brands. They can be found at Hudson Bay and lots of little unique boutiques around Victoria.
What girl doesn't love a delicious treat on Valentine's Day? Do something different for that special someone and instead of the usual chocolate and candy, opt for macarons. Bon Macaron, located here in Victoria, BC, offer a wide range of flavours that are always changing. Check out to see what their seasonable flavour is for Valentine's Day this year.
A pink lip for Valentine's Day is fun and flirty and a change from the typical red lip. This lip gloss is so much more, rather a lipstick in a gloss form. It glides on soft, but lasts and has a semi-matte finish to it, making it closer to a lipstick rather than a gloss. I know I'll be wearing mine for the special day.
You really can't have Valentine's Day without a little chocolate. This box of chocolates is the perfect mix with an assortment of mini creams, truffles with some caramel and nut chocolates as well. You can get this special and delicious box of chocolates for your partner or a family member and they will definitely enjoy every bite!
West Coast Gift Guide: Honeysuckle Hill
Honeysuckle Hill launched in 2015 in Victoria, BC, by two very creative friends and neighbours, Kathleen and Brianna. Their love of home decorating and DIY projects helped their decision in starting their own business. Their aim is to create unique pieces that add colourful charm to your home. Check out their Instagram: @honeysucklehillhomedecor and Facebook page to order a piece for a last minute Christmas gift or even better, a gift for yourself.
How did Honeysuckle Hill begin?
Well, it really wasn't a pre-meditated dream for either of us. Both of us enjoy DIY projects as well home décor and we would often share ideas or our own creations with each other. We are next door neighbours and really enjoy what we call "blue chair days" (visiting on the front lawn in Adirondack chairs when we should be doing something productive instead) while our kids play outside. Several of our blue chair days involved casual discussions of "we should start a business.......", or "we could totally make something like that.....". Eventually our "we should"s became "Let's do it"! Besides, we can only do so many projects for our own homes before it starts to look ridiculous!
Were you always interested in starting a creative business?
Not at all. We've both been accused of being creative for years but didn't ever have plans to turn it into anything more than a hobby for our own benefit.
What did you both do before Honeysuckle Hill?
At the time Honeysuckle Hill was formed we were both living the life of busy moms. This little hobby business allows us to do some projects on the side while keeping up with the insanity of our busy family life.
What is your favourite piece you have ever made?
We don't really have a favourite to be honest. Definitely some pieces are closer to our heart than others, but overall our favourites are anything that turns out as we envisioned! And because we are both a bit fussy and pay close attention to detail, we won't settle to call it done if we don't love it.
How long does it take to work on different pieces?
Always longer than we think it will!! Especially for our pallet board signs since they are hand painted. We do a wide variety of projects so it really depends on the size.
What is a good Christmas present from Honeysuckle Hill?
Everything of course! Haha! We have a large selection of gifts ranging from inexpensive wall plaques to large pieces of furniture. Right now we have some beautiful decorative chalkboards with permanent designs that would make a lovely addition to anyone's Christmas décor.
Where do you find your inspiration?
We often hear ourselves saying "we could do that with our own little twist". We see things in stores, or on Pinterest, or even see the potential to repurpose or refinish some thrift stores finds!
Will you be attending any craft fairs leading up to Christmas? And where else can we find your pieces?
We were vendors at the Bayside Christmas Craft Fair that happened on Dec. 8th. All of our pieces are available for purchase and viewing on our Facebook and Instagram pages or by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
How did you come up with the name?
When people ask us how we came up with our name we always looks at each other and laugh! It was a VERY long and frustrating process of realizing that most names are already taken. We went through literally hundreds of ideas before settling on Honeysuckle hill. In the end we just thought it sounded pretty and we both liked it.
Where do you see Honeysuckle Hill's future going?
Well both of our hubbies would love to see us get a storefront so that all of our 'finds' can have a home that is not in our garage, living room or even sometimes our kitchen table!!
All the photos were provided by Honeysuckle Hill
West Coast Gift Guide: The Popcorn Bar
Sarita Fichtner, co-owner of the Popcorn Bar, joins me for the blog's first segment of the West Coast Gift Guide. This idea was thought of when I was talking to friends about Christmas presents and how they would prefer to shop locally. Here is an interview about Sarita and The Popcorn Bar, check their website and Instagram out for cute gift ideas for that special someone who loves to eat: http://thepopcornbar.ca/ @the.popcorn.bar
What is your favourite flavour you've ever made?
That's tough...but I think I am going to go with Nirvana, the Indian Spice Blend! Once we started experimenting with spices, we became so excited about the taste of it - it's PACKED with flavour and definitely unique in the popcorn realm. It has bit of a bite (which I love), but the level of spice can be tailored to the individual.
How did The Popcorn Bar begin?
For at least ten years I hadn't been comfortable on the career path I was on - nothing ever felt right and I had a strong instinctive, gut feeling that I could do something out of the ordinary. As much as I wanted to be happy with what I was doing, it was almost as though my heart and mind wouldn't let me. It really started to affect me, so last February I started reading some motivational books and they really struck me. I then started an Instagram account of popcorn and would pull inspiration and post just for my own pleasure - I don't even think I told anyone about it until months later. Through this account, I won a branding contest. I didn't end up using the prize, but I got recognition from the win on social media. A well established toddler's boutique on Etsy shortly contacted me for an order of 30 bags that were to be sent out to well known bloggers and clients, in honour of their shop's 2nd anniversary. Since then, we have received a lot of positive attention and feedback!
Was it always a dream of yours to start a company like this?
Yes and no. I have a few dream jobs and owning a popcorn shop was always one of them, however I never actually visualized myself getting up and starting something from scratch!
What is your favourite flavour for a Christmas present?
That's easy - our gingerbread caramel! I don't even have a sweet tooth and can't get enough of it.
Where can we buy your popcorn?
Right now you can place orders via email or our website.
How do you find inspiration for new flavours?
We look everywhere for inspiration. Any food or flavour that is a hit, we always ask ourselves if it would work as a popcorn flavour. We look at seasons, traditional recipes, baking and sweets, different experiences and cultures, and dig into our own imaginations.
Do you enjoy cooking?
Yes, I love it! My parents do as well which helps as my mom produces a lot of our popcorn. Depending on what flavour we are making, it can be a lot of work - something people may not expect with popcorn! But my parents are amazing cooks which has made me realize that cooking is a skill I want to continue to develop.
What is your favourite restaurant in Vancouver?
I am a huge sushi addict and I'm going to have to say Bene Sushi in West Vancouver. I cannot describe how mouth watering their menu is!
What did you do before The Popcorn Bar?
What didn't I do? I obtained a diploma in fashion design, a degree from UBC, worked in offices, retail and child care, but all I ever wanted was something steady that I felt passionate about!
What are your future goals with the company?
Personally, my own passions (aside from loving popcorn itself) and talents have really come through since I started The Popcorn Bar. I want to continue to develop those and naturally bring passion to the workplace, wherever that might be. This business has opened so many doors for me and I just want to embrace the opportunities that I never would have thought would come my way! As for the company, we would love to get into the craft beer markets, open an online shopping cart and continue to collaborate with big names in creative industries.
The rest of the images were provided by Sarita Fichtner, The Popcorn Bar @the.popcorn.bar. Thank you to Sarita for being a part of the blog and telling her story of The Popcorn Bar, go check our their website and order those last minute edible Christmas presents!
West Coast Gift Guide: Zaleska
Zaleska isn't just another jewelry brand, it is so much more. Designers Sylvia and Danielle carefully source gemstones from around the world considering both trend and wearability but most importantly consider the energy within the crystal in each piece. Designed and manufactured in Vancouver, B.C. Zaleska is a unique line of jewelry. Whether you are looking for a custom piece or a piece that will make you feel confident and beautiful, consider Zaleska next time you're purchasing a gift for yourself or a friend! Check out their website at: http://www.zaleska.ca/ and Instagram: @zaleskajewelry
Did you always dream of designing jewelry?
I’ve always had a knack for design, but jewelry was not the initial goal. I was taught how to make a wire-wrapped ring at a bead store in downtown Victoria one weekend years ago, and everything evolved from then on. My journey as a designer has been incredible thus far, and jewelry now has my full attention!
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in moments and crystals, mostly. A lot of what I design revolves around a specific mineral specimen, whether it be a cut, shape, and/or colour. I’m also extremely inspired by my travels and memories. I always want to make pieces that feel good to wear and I love researching trends.
Do you have a favourite designer?
There are no favourites, just current obsessions. Mania Mania for all things RINGS, Stella McCartney for her values, the Spell sisters for their bohemian vibes, and Tony Duquette for his opulence.
What is your favourite piece in your collection at the moment?
I love the Moonstone Rêve Necklace! It should be back in stock by next week.
What piece is the perfect Christmas gift?
I truly believe that if you buy something for someone, it should be as special and unique as they are to you. There are some really beautiful pieces in the current collection, but I must say that you really couldn’t go wrong with a Crystal Ball Necklace.
How did you get your start in jewelry design? Did you go to school for it?
I didn’t! I graduated from UVic with degrees in Fine Arts and Education.
Where can we find your pieces for sale?
Do you have a favourite item of clothing in your closet?
I just bought an embroidered Johnny Ask velvet jacket!
What did you do before starting Zaleska?
My best friend Danielle Noel invited me to join her brand, Zaleska, about 5 years ago. Before that, I was extremely dedicated to my studies and painted quite a bit. Since joining our creative forces, we’ve been working alongside each other and having a really great time designing both art and jewelry pieces.
Why did you decide on the name Zaleska? What is the reason behind it?
Zaleska is actually the name of Dracula’s daughter. No reason - we just loved it!
Photo Credit: All images were from zaleska.ca
West Coast Gift Guide: Loper & Haas
Levi Gogolinski is the founder, designer and maker of Loper & Haas and joins me for an interview for my West Coast Gift Guide. Each of Loper & Haas' pieces is handmade from start to finish in Vancouver, B.C. Levi founded Loper & Haas in 2011 and the company continues to grow, while maintaining a craftsmanship that is truly unique and beautiful. I chose to work with Levi because I believe that at this time of year with all the purchasing of gifts from large shopping malls or big companies, you should consider buying locally and supporting the small businesses that put so much consideration into each piece they produce. Check out Loper & Haas' website: http://www.loperandhaas.com/ and Instragram: @loperandhaas for more.
How did you start working in the leather industry? Were you trained in an arts or design background?
I do have a BFA in visual art (painting) but I had done some sewing in grade school. I'm mostly self-taught as far as the actual leather working goes, with a few short tutorials from the previous owner of the leather supply I source most of my leather from.
Do you have a team that works with you or do you manufacture your > pieces on your own?
At this time, I create each piece myself. During the design process, my boyfriend will often import my finalized pattern into CAD to ensure it is symmetrical, and also so that the pattern is backed up in case I lose or damage my original copy.
Was it always your dream to design?
Yes! I always wanted to do something art or design related where I can be my own boss and have creative freedom.
Do you design pieces for men as well as women?
I create pieces for both men and women, and I do custom orders as well.
Are you looking to expand and carry your pieces in both Vancouver and Victoria? Where else can we find your collection?
I am definitely looking to expand! In addition to my own website and Etsy shop, my pieces can be found in: Fort and Co (Fort Langley), Studio126 (Vancouver), and online at www.scoutmob.com.
What is your personal favourite piece?
That's such a tough question! My favourite piece is probably the Petite Messenger, or possibly the XL envelope clutch.
Where do you find inspiration?
Often my inspiration comes from the leather I use. If I'm not working on a specific order, I love to pick up a hide from the leather store and experiment. As well, many pieces are designed for a purpose initially, for example the XL envelope is actually designed as an iPad case.
Are there any designers that inspire you?
There are so many! I love browsing Etsy and the Internet and seeing what's out there. I recently discovered Charlie Borrow (out of England) and absolutely love his work.
What is the reason behind the name 'Loper and Haas'
I grew up on a farm in southern Alberta and Loper and Haas were my two horses.
Image credit: All the images were from the designer, Levi Gogolinski.