Balisi Part 2

    LIZ: A lot of the products that Balisi stocks are from Europe, they have“euro flair”, does Balisi carry local Canadian brands, and how important do you think it is to stock local products as well as international ones?

    DALE: The owners are Canadian themselves and they definitely offer Canadian brands. We carry hats from Ophelia out of Montreal, Phillip Sparks based out of Toronto. We try and bring in Canadian merchandise to really showcase the talents here in Canada.

    LIZ: What is the process of buying for the stores, do the buyers follow trends, do they stock what they like, or a bit of both?

    DALE: The buyers are Cory and Rehlee; they are the masters behind the brand. They are very up on the trends; most recently we had the current collection as an inspiration of the Gossip Girl scene, so that New York, Manhattan socialite, brought to Canadian fashion. Our clientele are looking for something that allows them to feel in touch with their younger side. Everything we offer has great shape, structure and clean lines for the customer, but also allows them to have that individuality to go along with it. We typically bring in one of each size of everything we have. So once an item is gone, it’s gone. Because we only have three stores in Toronto the odds of running into someone with the same outfit are slim so in essence we are a creating an original, unique one of a kind experience.

    LIZ: Who is the ideal Balisi client?

    DALE: I don’t think there is an ideal client for Balisi because we get any and everyone, we cater to everyone. I would say it’s the fashion hungry people that really want to feel special.

    LIZ: Balisi was first conceptualized as a footwear store, when did the accessories i.e.: handbags and jewellery become apart of the store’s vision?

    DALE: The handbags started on College Street and a lot of the clothing and accessories themselves started when we opened the Queen Street location. It’s been an ever evolving process of different things coming in. I think that people want to shop at one store get their entire outfit from head to toe and create their own unique style.

Balisi Interview Part 1

    Just before the Holidays I got to sit down with  store manager and in house stylist Dale Hodder of Balisi. Here is part 1 of the interview.

    LIZ: Why decide to work for Balisi, since you are an already established stylist for 15 years?

    DALE: There are a lot of opportunities out there, but Balisi being a growing company, I saw great opportunities. I met up with owner Rehlee during fashion week and as we talked I felt the connection and the vision of his company and the opportunities that came with it. This company has allowed me opportunities to grow consistently since I started.

    LIZ: What was the owners (Rehlee Balisi and Cory Kierstead) inspiration to open a footwear store in Toronto, and what sets Balisi apart from other shoe and accessories stores?

    DALE: They have seen a lot of retail stores that currently supply shoes, but there weren’t a lot of them with fashionable shoes, something that’s artistic, and something that is expressive. They saw an opportunity to feed into an energy that didn’t already exist outside of Balisi.

    LIZ: Balisi has 2 other already established locations one on College, one on Queen
    Street and now this new Danforth location, why was it important to open a new store on the Danforth?

    DALE: The major reason was that they already pinpointed the College crowd, the Queen Street crowd. Passing by the Danforth area they noticed that although there were a variety of things, there still wasn’t anywhere that was catering to the younger fresher clientele that was looking for a little bit more.

    LIZ: do you feel that the Danforth is a new emerging multi cultural location?

    DALE: Danforth definitely was a very traditionally Greek neighbourhood in the past but over the last few years that tradition has grown on a bigger avenue. There are all types of stores and restaurants now, I think the Danforth area was looking for a way to expand itself, and of course we saw the opportunity to become apart of something that is ever expanding.

Love is in the air...

    I just added some more great Valentine`s  inspired gift tags to my Etsy shop! Given the recent devastation in Haiti I wanted to help in some small way, so for every item sold a $1 will be donated to the Haiti relief effort.

    Here are just a few of my favourites:


    I was very inspired by these monogrammed pillows in the dwelling of Bryan Boone, that I decided to have a go at it... so here they are my initials where I sleep. I like how they turned out, and this little project just gave me so many more ideas! hmmmm....I hope I don't go crazy and go and do something like monogram my undies! If you want an in depth tutorial just email me, although trust me when I say it wasn't that hard, iron on transfer my friends...iron on transfers.

    my inspiration : Bryan Boone

Sneak Peek

    My sister's room is really coming along. Just a few more finishing touches and she will finally have her eclectic vibe room. Here it is so far:

    Stay tuned for the full reveal...

My funny Valentine

    I love "love", I love being in love, I think there is nothing that can beat it! So I hope you can all head over to my Etsy shop and have a look at some of the new greeting cards I just put up. Love is in the air.

And the winner is...

    First I want to thank everyone who entered...I got a lot of great recommendations about some great books! I am currently reading Conversations with God, (my sister told me I had to read it!) so far I am enjoying it a lot, but enough about moi, Without further adieu...the winner is:

    Just email me your mailing address and let me know which set of 3 you prefer and they will be on their way to you Marianna!

    Stay tuned everyone I have a great NEW giveaway just around the corner for you all!

The Paperie

    I just added some new bookmarks to my Etsy shop, I hope you can head over and check them out. If you still haven't entered my bookmarks giveaway do so here, contest closes on January 9th 2010.

Looky Looky: LIV Part 3

    LIZ: Given that today the general public is a lot more environmentally aware, how important do you think it is to stock eco friendly products?

    JOANNA: We’ve tried various things, we’ve always had organic towels and sheets available, we have an organic babies clothing line. They are not always my best sellers, but I like to have them there on offer, but I think that at this point in time I am not sure how on board the consumer really is. I know there’s a core of people who are hard core organic and maybe we just don’t get them yet. Mass population wise, we did a huge organic launch last year of robes, towels and sheeting, if it sold it was because consumers liked the look of it, the eco friendly aspect was not always a selling feature.

    But don’t forget that Au lit where we launched all this, everything is European cotton, made in Canada, our cotton product is as environmentally sound as one that has been called organic. Our mill in Italy has been on that wagon for 20 years, so it’s like you’re really pulling hairs. I think people care more when it comes to things like their children’s toys and clothes, we carry an organic kid’s clothing line, I have a five month old so I like that it’s organic and made in Toronto.

    LIZ: What sort of business experience and or lesson have you learned from watching and working with your mother?

    JOANNA: Well everything, I started working for her when I was 13. Here in Toronto it was how to make a bed, that whole Au lit look was all my mom, selling, product knowledge, the buying. The only thing I would say that is mine and I’ve have to do on my own is the clothing. I think with buying its safe to say you have an instinct for it or not, and my mom definitely does and I think it’s fair to say that I do as well. So I think I get it from her. I admire her vision, she’s never been afraid to try anything. She’s so fearless.

    LIZ: What can customers expect to see in the future from LIV? Any new product lines, trends?

    JOANNA: For spring we are turning the entire back half of the store into a huge loungewear department, with a the pj vibe but some sexier. Expanding on loungewear and the basics in a range of prices and styles. The styles coming for spring, I am calling it sexy and sloppy, because everything is loose, off the shoulder, we have the jegging, and it’s denim but is as comfortable as a legging. Brand new bedding line, love seats that are slip covered in the fabrics that match the bedding. Everything in bedding is natural linen washed look, it’s tying in sexy sloppy. Casual luxury, everything is high end and quality, but washed and a little ruffled.

    LIZ: What would you say is the difference from Montréal to Toronto as far as consumers are concerned?

    JOANNA: Don’t forget my neighbourhood is North Toronto, I’m sure on Queen Street they are probably more like a Montréal shopper, but I think in Montréal they are a little more adventurous, a little more individual. In Toronto the trends are gangbusters, a lot of that is because of the designer and they have set styles, what’s amazing about that is that if you connect with Toronto consumers, you can really have amazing collections, it can be amazing we never had that in Montréal where people would go crazy for one particular style and it would be a blazing hit. Whereas in Toronto you have that potential they are very discerning. Montréal-ers are a little more quirky, but this is just my experience in North Toronto. Montréal-ers are much more willing to put their money in social activities, they love to go out, eat out. Torontonians are nesters, they love their homes, and they love putting their heart into their homes.

Looky Looky: LIV Part 2

    LIZ: How important is creating a unique shopping experience for your customers through engaging all of their senses?

    JOANNA: We had Au Lit for a few years, and we knew if we were going to open a second store it would be not just a linen store, we didn’t need to do the same thing twice. If we were going to do it, it would be the sort of store we had been seeing in Europe for years which did show a full lifestyle. One of our favourite stores is in Paris and it’s actually a house, and you go through it every room has things for sale, they don’t have clothing but they have loungewear. A store like LIV had been on our horizon for many years, so we knew if we were going to do this, the space had to be big, had to have the right vibe and this store with the wood floors and the high ceilings, it was just the perfect location and the perfect timing. But in terms of the layout we change the layout all the time, you can come back next season and it won’t have the same layout. We always change it to be exciting and current, and it will always be a fusion of clothing and home décor everywhere.

    LIZ: Do you feel that there is anything lacking in retail shops these days?

    JOANNA: Yes! For me it’s always about the experience, I just feel like in this day and age, not just because of the recession but also just because of the level retail has taken in Europe and New York and in LA. I don’t know if you are familiar with ABC carpets for instance in New York, but it’s one of the most astonishing retail spaces I’ve ever been to, maybe for me in the world... it’s my favourite, and the level of not just merchandising, product, but everything the whole experience is of such high calibre that for me it just doesn’t really cut it anymore to go into a generic store, be treated with indifference.

    One of the biggest things for us was of course we wanted to create a beautiful space, but I so want everyone to have an experience. So for me I want the bathroom to be beautiful, my change rooms are stunning and they are quirky. My staff knows that the most important thing is the warmth and the vibe and the welcoming, and bending over backwards. There are so many stores in this city where the service is mediocre at best. You either feel like you’re being attacked or ignored and somewhere in the middle you have a great experience and beyond that for me I want LIV to be a store that you come in and feel good about yourself. We offer clients a latte or an espresso, when I say multisensory it’s not that you just walk in and say “pretty store” it’s that someone greets you, it smells nice, for me it’s that experience but that also the product is amazing. You have to have phenomenal products but that backed up with the experience, and I think you have something pretty amazing and that’s been the goal.

    LIZ: What era are you heavily influenced by in home décor and in fashion?

    JOANNA: Home décor, it’s hard to say era, but I would have to say influence would definitely be more country, and I think the Swedish influence has been huge on both Californian and French style so when we are buying from France and California, which are two key places we buy from, even though they come from France or California, it’s very Swedish, everything grey, all Swedish, the distressed, for me the influence is less an era. However I have to say I adore art deco, the 20’s.

    For clothing it’s whatever’s hot, right now the 80’s are huge, and the leggings.

    stay tuned for part 3...

A GIVEAWAY for the New Year!

    This New Year's I have made many many resolutions...lose weight, do more hot yoga, get healthy, spend more time reading. While I am working on some, others come more easy, so in honour of my resolutions and the start of a  New Year I thought that a giveaway would be appropriate.

    Here it is... a set of 3 bookmarks, so we can all catch up on more reading, you can choose from 3 designs :

    "a little birdie told me" blue

    "keep calm & carry on" lime green

    "a little birdie told me" green

    All you have to do to enter is be a follower of  WALLPAPER and leave a comment telling me what you are reading lately, or what your favourite book is, you can even recommend a great book.

    The contest closes on Saturday January 9th 2010 at 10 pm EST. A lot of blog friends have used to select their giveaway winners and this method seems to work well, so I will do the same here. The winner will be announced next Sunday. Good Luck to you all and once again Happy New Year!


    I recently did a little spring cleaning (only I know it's not spring) okay so winter make room for some new purchases and Christmas gifts and I realized that I have a lot of stuff. I think come spring I will have to have a little garage sale, but in the mean time I hope to show you all some of my favourite stuff.

    my ruffled bag

    some costume jewellery

    an eiffel tower jewellery holder!

    my statement necklaces

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