Emporium of Treasures – Discover the One Earth Collection
Three years ago, a pair of big-dreaming entrepreneurial girlfriends fresh from Summerland, BC, made Pemberton their homebase. One was busy getting ready for this little thing called the Winter Olympic Games. Her name? Kristi Richards. The other, Alana Bjorndal, a budding jewelry designer, discovered that the fastest way to take a crash course in all things Pemberton is to work at the Pony. Six months ago, and with the support of the Community Futures Self Employment Program, they embarked on Phase II of their big adventure, opening the One Earth Collection, an emporium of handmade planet-loving treasures, tucked into a storefront next to AG Foods in downtown Pemberton. It’s like Etsy finally found a homebase, a Shiny Fuzzy Muddy craft fair running every day of the week, Bizarre Bazaar without the frenzied crowds – with local artisans including Abbie Finestone’s Twig Prints, Amy Hazeldine’s Sunna Studios, Jules Vagelatos’ Love Jules Leather, Ulla Clark’s LU Prints, as well as a host of eco-friendly artists from around the world. We checked in with Alana to find out what’s going down at the gift shop with a conscience, and why, with Christmas just 8 weeks away (!), it matters that you put your money where your house is, and shop locally. (One Earth Collection is open Mon- Sat, 10am-6pm. Check their facebook page for details.)
Where did the One Earth Collection spring from?
Both Kristi and I have always had dreams of being self employed. The idea of a bistro & juice bar & gift shop were tossed around. We started by doing some research and the need for a venue for all of the talented artists in the Sea to Sky corridor to sell their creations was clear. That was our starting point.
Where did the logo come from?
It’s a recreation of a piece of art Kristi’s brother Kary Richards did many years ago.
How would you define the ‘style’ of One Earth Collection?
Funky and Unique. Our criteria for inventory is: handmade from local & global artists and designers and environmentally friendly. One Earth Collection makes an effort to create a sustainable future in our community by supporting local artists and businesses.
Every product we carry has been chosen consciously. We choose to support local businesses and artists so our community can thrive. We choose to support eco-minded products and companies to help lessen the impact on our planet. We choose to help people globally to encourage independent artists to keep on creating.
What products do you feature?
We carry unique gift items, clothing, jewelry, accessories, baby gifts, art and hand made creations form local and global artists.
Every month we feature a new local Sea to Sky artist, with an entire dedicated wall. The featured artist for October is Endure Upcycled Designs from Squamish – she is a perfect fit for Halloween. She creates costumes and decor from recycled materials.
November we are featuring Vanessa Stark Art.
Where do you find all your treasures?
We started by attending the local artisan markets and events in Pemberton, Whistler, Squamish and Vancouver. The Internet was a huge source in finding eco suppliers and eco companies from Canada. I also went on a buying trip to Thailand where I attended markets on the hunt for handmade goods from the many talented artists there. We decided that this would be a great opportunity to help others from around the world. By supporting these artists we are helping feed their families. The gratitude from these independent artists was amazing. And now that we are open, artists in the area are coming to us.
We truly believe in less is more, quality over quantity, and hand made is better.
What are people most enthusiastic about?
The variety and uniqueness of what we carry. People are excited to see the range in price point from $5 – $500, something affordable for everyone.
What do you like best about running your own business in Pemberton?
Every day is exciting. I meet people from all walks of life. Pemberton is a fantastic little town. I feel blessed to live here and to own a business that is a 1 minute bike ride from home.
Retail seems to be changing – more people are shopping online. What are the benefits of browsing in real-time?
I am a toucher. I like to look, hold and try on, before making a purchase. We are working on a website and online store so that people can buy online. This way we can stay with the times and grow with demand for this type of service, so we can reach a global market.
One Earth Collection will be launching their website in the New Year. In the meantime, follow them on twitter or facebook, or stop by and touch things, and get yourself a one-of-a-kind hand-made headwarmin’ toque… all the better to feed local ski bums.