Today's interview is with Regine and Katie, the lovely ladies behind Victoire, an adorable boutique in my hometown Ottawa. Victoire is exactly what Ottawa was missing while I lived there (was so tempted to say "during my youth" but that sounds decidedly grandpa-ish). Their beautifully curated shop caries a host of Canadian talent including previous interviewee Tara-Lynn! I'm enthralled to have had the opportunity to meet these two and to watch their business grow. I want to thank them for giving me a place to shop when visiting (their neighbour) my pops in Ottawa!
1. What was your first fashion-related creation?
In 2002 we participated in a Ladyfest craftsale selling glued on lyrics on cut-up sweatshirts, wallpaper and spray paint on 80's purses. It kind of makes us cringe now and was definitely 'crappy crafty' but we just soooo wanted to be a part of this craft sale/DIY movement that was bubbling up at the time.
Though we now sell beautifully made pieces by other much more talented people, this time in our lives got us into this part of the fashion industry that has nothing to do with capital F "fashion". It's about appreciating beautiful things and getting excited about things made by your neighbour, or your friends, or someone just like you. Being a part of a creative independent community as a consumer is just as fun and rewarding as producing things! So even though we spend a lot more time now selling and promoting the works of other designers and not as much time making our own things anymore, it's still really rewarding and we love being part of an independent economy of sorts.
2. What or who inspires you?
You do Hannah! Not only are you adorable and nice but we love your entrepreneurial spirit and your work ethic. (oh gosh :D)
We also love love love Oprah's wisdom, Dolly Parton's sense of humor, In God We Trust's perfection and inspiring merchandising, and Dace's longevity in the business.
Complexgeometries, Audrey Cantwell and Norwegian Wood inspire us to be more adventurous. Our feminine cutie-pie look comes more naturally but we admire the risks these designers encourage us to take. It ensure we live in a rock'n'roll tea party duality.
3. Biggest sartorial blunder?
Trying to be Electro-clash in the early 2000's in a small Canadian city. We were having fun but boy we must have looked silly. Stage get ups looked awesome on Le Tigre and Karen O but never quite worked in the school cafeteria.
We are thankful we took these fashion risks and played with different looks, but we wish there weren't any pictures!
4. What job/project would you consider "a dream come true"?
Though we love to sell new Canadian designers, we have an out of control passion for vintage dresses. We host 2 vintage dress parties a year but it is not enough to satiate our hording impulses. We would really like to start an etsy store this year. Any words of wisdom, and lessons learned from selling on etsy would be most welcomed.
We would also love to see Victoire beat the odds and stick around for a very long time. Doing what we do right now is a dream come true, and doing it for many years to come would make our hearts very happy.
5. Any advice to those wishing to follow in your footsteps?
Just do it! Ask anyone and everyone for their advice and never forget that it's a good thing to find people who can do things better than you. That way you can learn and improve. Every day you meet people who can teach you something. Don't be afraid to ask for help and advice, even people who may intimidate you. People like helping others!
Victoire's Online Shop
Visit them in Ottawa at:
246 Dalhousie St (closest intersection is St-Patrick)
1282 B Wellington Street (near Holland)
All photos courtesy of Victoire by Arden Wray.
In Review: Elvia / Nicole / Tara-Lynn / Kathryn / Alexandra / Kelsey