Five Minutes with Design Lover and Entrepreneur Michael Shaikin from The Modern Shop

, , , , , , , , , , , , By Catherine


Being an entrepreneur and small business owner, I love to hear success stories of talented people who started companies with the goal to make a difference and to bring something new to the market; people driven by a vision, a passion, a curiosity, and a determination; people with a mission. Michael Shaikin is one of them.

Michael is the owner of The Modern Shop which has two stores/showrooms in Ottawa, Canada. Not many Canada-based shops have such a great assortment of modern furniture, lighting, and accessories from top brands. It is a go-to place for a special gift or to finally splurge on that designer piece you’ve been eyeing for a while. And they’ve got loads of fabulous Scandinavian designs, which is why I personally like to visit The Modern Shop, obviously!

I was curious as to find out more about Michael, fellow design fan, and the story behind his shop, and he kindly agreed to answer my questions.


Q: What inspired you to start your shop?
A: In 2009 I noticed a serious lack of modern design shops in Canada. I also noticed not many shops worldwide would ship here, so I opened the shop in 2010.


Q: What sets your shop aside from its competitors?
A: We carry everything from $1 erasers to $50,000 lights. I wanted to bring everything modern to Canadians and not just focus on high-end exclusive products as many other shops do.


Q: Who or what influences your style? To what do you attribute your wonderful aesthetic?
A: I opened a mid-century modern vintage shop in 2002 in Ottawa and learned a lot about the history of modern design through building that business with my ex-partner who still runs it –


Photo: Pikcells


Q: How do you find the pieces/products for your store?
A: Trade shows mainly, sometimes designers or clients will tell me about a product they’ve seen and ask us to source it. I always love finding new up-and-coming brands that way.


Q: What are the biggest challenges you face in running your own store?
A: Shipping, logistics. The Canadian dollar.


Q: What do you love most about having your own store?
A: Freedom.


Photo: Pikcells


Q: What are you proud of?
A: Our new website is pretty incredible. We worked really hard with the folks at Up Later Than You & Shopify to create it.


Q: Do you have any special projects or exciting future plans?
A: At the moment no but our lease is up in a couple of years and plans are to open a larger store somewhere in Ottawa.


Q: Is style important in a home? If so, why?
A: Yes, of course. There’s nothing worse than going into a brand new home which costs millions to build and seeing IKEA lights hanging over their $50k kitchen island. Facepalm!


Photo: Pikcells


Q: What is your take on the current trend of “buying less, but better”? Do you find it important and if so, why?
A: Yes, it is very important. I think if you spend a little more on something you really want – you will love it forever. Spend less on something you aren’t really into, and you’ll just end up trading up in the end and spending the same if not more money.


Q: How does design benefits a lifestyle? Why is it important?
A: You just feel good waking up surrounded by beautiful things. I have a vintage George Nelson MAA chair at home and its one of the first things I see when I wake up. It always makes me smile.


Q: What is your all-time favorite design piece(s) and/or design piece(s) that is(are) on your wish list:
A: I collect Clairtone Stereos. Made in Canada. I have a G2 and a G3 right now and just recently sold my Project G. Those are magnificent machines.


Photo: Pikcells


Make sure to visit The Modern Shop for well-curated design, and don’t forget to bookmark this great shop!

Shipping from: Canada
Shipping to: North America
Brands: Wrong for Hay, Woud, Architectmade, Tom Dixon, Gubi, Frama, ferm LIVING, Muuto, Georg Jensen, Skultuna, HAY, Sagaform, Menu, and many, many more!


For more top online shopping destinations I recommend, check out the directory.





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