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.
Today I would like to introduce you to Bianca from Bibelot & Token, a lovely shop in our directory. She sources gorgeous, stylish and well-made alternatives to the items used and loved every single day of our lives. Natural skincare from around the world, hand-made, small run jewelry, homewares and design elements not often found in Canada (where Bianca is from) or easily located in the U.S. She believes that “it’s not about buying more, but about buying better.”
Here, she kindly answers a our questions, and we hope you’ll enjoy discovering the woman behind the brand as much as we did!
Q: What inspired you to start your shop?
A: I wanted to figure out a way to re-jig and revamp my life in a way that would allow me to work, but not be bound by a 9-5. Before I had my daughter, I wrote copy and spent some time in graphic design firms around Toronto. When my daughter was off to school full-time, I wanted to work but be available for her as well. I had a good, long think on it, and decided to throw caution to the wind and combine my love of all things design — fashion (I’ve been writing my blog, A Wee Bit Skint, for roughly nine years now), textile, decor, jewelry, etc. — and open up a small, but well curated, online shop.
Thus, Bibelot & Token came to be.
Products from the fabulous brand Herbivore Botanicals
Q: What sets your shop aside from it’s competitors?
A: I’m not so aware or too concerned about the idea of competition, to be honest. I know it exists, of course, but I think there’s room for everyone! I love to see what other shops are doing, and enjoy rooting them on, particularly if they’re located close to home and run by other, creative and amazing women. Removed from that though, if there’s anything that sets me apart, (perhaps in life and in business), is that even though I enjoy a minimal/modern aesthetic, I’m not too far-gone into the monochrome that color doesn’t come into play. I firmly believe that a shot of day-glo never hurt anyone.
Also, I adore anything that has a sense of humour about itself. I love items that possess both form & function, but comes replete with a dash of humour, too.
Popular prints by Vontrueba
Q: Who or what influences your style? To what do you attribute your wonderful aesthetic?
A: Influence comes from everywhere. It’s from coming into your own, trial and error, from art and travel, and music. Social media and the virtual proximity that the internet provides can be such an enriching and gorgeous invitation to cultures, people, artists, and design movements; with ideas you aren’t so familiar with. If used with intent, the internet can be one of the most valuable tools in the way of inspiration, education, and can be wonderfully enriching. (Also, you know, shopping in your pyjamas doesn’t hurt.)
Bits and Bobs by HAY
Q: How do you find the pieces/products for your store?
A: I’ve spent a good long time on the internet. Professionally and personally, I’ve spent the majority of my adult-life working alongside the internet. Writing for local publications, but mostly personally, at A Wee Bit Skint, for the last decade or so, has treated me to a world of design that was once much harder to find and not so easily accessible.
Having said that, there are A LOT of things that aren’t available in Toronto, let alone Canada, and perhaps in the U.S. as well; that I think we would love to have access to. Down to the most everyday items we use, skincare, placemats, posters, and notebooks – when you use something that feels special to you, using those items suddenly doesn’t feel like a chore, it takes on a feeling of joy and pleasure.
So, when the opportunity to bring lines like Stop The Water While Using Me, HAY, Playtype, Herbivore Botanicals, OYOY Living Design, Louise Kragh Jewelry, and others, was suddenly an option – I took it and ran, and offered them proudly at Bibelot & Token.
Danish brand OYOY
Q: What are the biggest challenges you face with running your own store?
A: The biggest challenges one faces when running their own small business is forever the economics of it; boot-strapping a small business is hard work, and sometimes your confidence wavers. When the cost of cauliflower is suddenly $8 instead of $1.99, and you need to bring in new stock for the next season, you realize how climate, current affairs and political issues can, and will affect you in ways you never had to consider before. Considering also, that my current workspace is my kitchen counter, and my home-office has been overrun with boxes of supplies, you realize how understanding your family can be, and hope for a future that includes a small studio space!
Find your Cereal Magazine at Bibelot & Token!
Q: What do you love most about having your own store?
A: I know that buying something isn’t a cure for sadness, doesn’t make you a better person, and won’t cure whatever ails you; yet we all know the thrill of picking up something unexpected, a little something that you just love; something that brings you the smallest jolt of joy. And I think that’s fantastic – life is found in the smallest of details; so why shouldn’t those details include great design and a feeling of glee?
We’ve got routines, careers, children to raise, we’ve got passions and hobbies; then we wash our faces at night to go to bed and start it all over again six hours later. Wouldn’t it be lovely for all those little bits in between the busy-ness – for all those things we use, wear and decorate with, were beautifully made, gorgeous to look at, and a delight to use? I LOVE being able to bring that feeling, that little bit of wonderful to my customers.
Calendar by Snug.Studio
Q: What are you proud of?
A: I’m proud of how far the store has come since its start in late 2014; I feel like we’ve got a good thing going, and that people are starting to take notice. I’m thrilled with the response the store has received, and that my customers are some of the most delightful, most loyal around. As they are to me, I hope to be to them!
Q: Do you have any special projects in the pipeline or exciting future plans?
A: I would love for 2016 to be the year of our first collaboration, I’m not settled yet on the wheres/whos/whys, but figuring it out will be part of the fun. I’d also love to get ourselves mentioned in a national publication; (international exposure would be amazing, so let’s put that out into the universe, too)! I’m also thinking a pop-up shop might be a lot of fun! Of course, I’m in constant pursuit for what new gems we can find and bring to the shop.
Quitterie by Delfonics
Q: What are your favorite pieces/products at the moment?
A: Currently, I’m obsessed with Little Barn Apothecary’s Charcoal + Aloe Face Cleanser (2), (my skin wants to thank Joshua & Brad personally), I wear my Louise Kragh Pearl & Cord necklaces (1) daily, and my nights are best served with a cup of tea and a bit of colouring with The School of Life’s Colouring as Therapy (4) posters. Oh, and as I type this, I’m noticing my Stvdio Brooklyn Joan Cuff (3) is warped from constant wear – but I just can’t stop!
Visit Bibelot & Token today and discover their lovely assortment!