Meet Andy Meakin, a Man on a Mission to Bring More Scandinavian and Japanese Design to North America

, , , , , , By Catherine Lazure-Guinard

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 to bring something new to the market; people driven by a vision, a passion, a curiosity, and a determination; people with a mission. Andy Meakin is one of them.

Earlier this year, he founded The Fjord Store, a well-designed shop with carefully-curated furniture, lighting and home accessories from Scandinavia and Japan. The assortment includes selected goods from brands not easily found in North America, such as Ditte Fischer, Hagedornhagen, Nomess Copenhagen, Skagerak, and more. There is something for everyone’s taste.

Also, the Fjord Store is a proud member of “Be Original Americas”, a non-profit organisation that helps protect the history of design and the future of innovation.

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

 

Q: Tell us a little about yourself :
A: I’m originally from Northern England and moved to Squamish, BC about 13 years ago for a life by the mountains and the ocean. Howe Sound, North America’s southernmost fjord is pretty much right outside our back door. We’re lucky to live in such a beautiful place, and with all the amenities of Vancouver less than a one-hour drive away. In early 2017, after a career working in the television and interactive arts industries, I decided to go it alone and open The Fjord Store.

 

 

Q: What inspired you to start your shop? 
A: For a long time – almost 20 years – I worked in production, mostly helping to realize other people’s ideas. The Fjord Store is a creative outlet for my personal interest in product design from the Nordic countries and Japan. I’ve always been drawn to well-designed, minimal objects that fulfill a purpose. Beautiful, and pragmatic – it’s a great combination. Also, I wanted to introduce new designers’ work to this part of the world. The larger Danish brands in particular, have created lots of interest in Nordic design here but getting hold of anything different can be tough. There’s definitely room, and a thirst for more choice.

 

Q: What sets The Fjord Store aside from its competitors?
A: Our selection. We’ve partnered with brands and designers that are new to Canada and in some cases, also to the United States. Paper Collective, Hagedornhagen and Studio Arhoj are just a few. And there’s more to come – we love searching for new products. On the website, as well as by brand and product type, customers can also shop by price point. We have items to suit all budgets. I hope our customers agree that we’re strong on service, too. By nature, shopping online is a remote experience but it doesn’t have to be impersonal.

 

 

Q: Who or what influences your style? To what do you attribute your wonderful aesthetic?
A: We’re not interested in trends, just timeless and authentic design. The Nordic designers do it so well – the credit is all theirs. They make it easy to put attractive product collections together. We’re really happy to be able to provide an outlet for their work. Living by the ocean with the Coast Mountains on three sides is certainly an influence, too. When we started sketching out The Fjord Store aesthetic, we looked to our immediate surroundings for reference. Architecture, fashion and music also play a role – they’re all intertwined in The Fjord Store style.

 

Q: How do you find the pieces/products for your store?
A: We keep a close eye on the Nordic design press, stylists’ blogs as well as the usual social media channels. Designers also approach us from time-to-time. And with family and friends back in Europe, it’s easy to combine a visit with a short hop to Scandinavia for a trade show or research trip.

 

 

Q: What are the biggest challenges you face with running your own store?
A: Marketing. Cutting through the massive amount of content online to generate awareness of The Fjord Store is time-consuming. But I think we’re getting there. Educating potential customers to the long-term value of investing in high-quality, authentic design can also be challenging. The Fjord Store supports BeOriginal Americas, a non-profit organisation that helps protect the history of design and the future of innovation. It’s doing important work, for sure.

 

Q: What do you love most about having your own store?  
A: When customers find us and are excited to be able to purchase items that they’ve read about or perhaps seen overseas but didn’t know were available in North America. I’ve received some great emails. I also really enjoy the hunt for and finding new product. There’s so much talent out there. Like most business owners, being able to do my own thing – within reason, of course – is very satisfying, too.

 

 

Q: What are you proud of? 
A: We launched at the end of April 2017 so we’re a young store that’s still gaining traction. So far, the response from both consumers and the trade has been great. I’m proud that we’ve created a small business that has lots of scope for growth, and that we can support the design community while providing our customers with new, beautiful products for their homes.

 

Q: Do you have any special projects in the pipeline or exciting future plans?
A: We have a local pop-up store booked for later this Fall – I’m looking forward to meeting customers face-to-face. We’re also scouting opportunities to open pop-ups in Vancouver with a view to one day launching a permanent location. In the meantime, you can expect the web store to expand with more products from an ever-growing number of designers and brands. A blog is also planned so we can tell our design partners’ stories better as well as provide an insight into what makes The Fjord Store tick.

 

 

Q: What are your favorite pieces/products at the moment?
A: That’s a tough one as everything on the site is hand picked by us. There’s nothing I wouldn’t have in my own home. But as we’re transitioning into the colder months and the days are getting shorter here in Canada, I’ll grab the Islandskap Throw designed by Snøhetta for Røros Tweed. The Idhane Candle Holder from Nedre Foss will take its place on the coffee table this winter. And no doubt there’ll be lots of steamy hot chocolate served in Ditte Fischer’s Latte Mugs soon. Bring on the snow!

 

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

Shipping from: Canada
Shipping to: North America
Brands: Atelier CPH, Ditte Fischer, GOM, Hagerdornhagen, Hakuhodo Sumitani Saburo, Kinto, Lightyears, Nedre Foss, Nendo, Nomess, Normann Copenhagen, Paper Collective, Prince Kogyu/FD style, Reiko Kaneko, RIG-TIG, Roros Tweed, Saito wood, Skagerak, Stelton, Studio Arhoj, Tadahiro Baba

 

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

 

 

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