October is Small Business Month! This year, we are working with the amazing project, Talking Shop, to share great stories of local small businesses. Read Talking Shop's conversation with Stephanie, the owner of Open House, a shop inspired by sustainability and minimalist fashions.
Celebrating Small Business Month with Talking Shop
Talking Shop is a project to tell the stories of the local owners and entrepreneurs behind your favourite shopfronts, especially as we battle through these difficult times. On the Talking Shop blog, you can find conversations with local small business owners and leaders and news from the industry. The aim of Talking Shop is to create a community of #supportlocal advocates.
In June, Talking Shop posted the article, “In Conversation with Stephanie // Open House”. Stephanie, the owner of Open House on Johnson Street, talks about the joys and hardships of owning not one, but two businesses and about how important it is to support local right now. Scroll on for some excerpts from the article or read the whole thing on Talking Shop’s website!
What is Open House?
“Open House is a shop and studio, just tucked off lower Johnson Street in Victoria, Canada. We showcase a selection of independent and sustainable brands from Canada, the US and around the world. Our focus is on slow and sustainable fashion with a minimalist feel and neutral palette.” (Keep reading.)
Can you tell us about your background? Did you have any retail experience before opening Open House?
“I lived in Vancouver for about 12 years before moving to Vancouver Island to open the store. Although I have no formal retail experience, I have always been involved in the arts/fashion world in some form. I’ve worked as a costumer and stylist for film as well as independent artists, and as a vintage picker for a few years for local shops and independent buyers. About 10 years ago, I began my own sustainable knitwear label, Hendrik Lou. I still run the business along with Open House. My studio is just above the shop.” (Keep reading.)
Each season represents new styles, new trends, new products. How do you evaluate what is working and what isn’t? What guides you in your choices?
“I don’t worry too much about trends. Although I am aware of what is going on, it’s never been that important to me. I prefer to stick with a set theme or palette for the season. I try to choose timeless, well-made pieces in classic silhouettes, so they can be worn for multiple seasons and years. It’s about creating a wardrobe of pieces you love and bring you joy, buying less and investing in well-made products.” (Keep reading.)
How can customers support you right now?
Downtown Victoria’s favourite quote from Stephanie’s interview:
“Open House to me represents the feeling/idea of what I am trying to create … an open and welcoming space for the community to gather and connect with like-minded people, makers and objects.”