The Common Creative

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Common Creative: Roxanne from Tonic

Creatives are everywhere. We love meeting them! Roxanne is someone I (Kristen) have been seeing around for years, shopping in her stores, but only recently gotten to know. Roxanne is a wonderfully talented lady who owns a fashion boutique with two locations in Saskatoon called Tonic, as well as the online store Farminista. Jenni and I both love Tonic, and the true prairie spirit it brings to fashion. I was happy to bring some of the beautifully curated prairie fashion back to Jenni when we visited Vancouver in August. We loved the pieces Roxanne picked, see our post on the Farminista blog for details on the fashion end of things!

We love hearing how other common creatives get their inspiration, and we were happy to have Roxanne tell us a little bit about her world! 
What brought you to the fashion world of Tonic and Farminista?
I've always been interested in being an entrepreneur. My grandpa had a general store back in the good old days, so I grew up playing store and reading small business magazines. I always had extra racks and displays around, so when I found a small space on broadway, I sold vintage furniture and accessores as well as bags I made. That was called the stuff store. I outgrew my first location and ended up moving behind Lydia's on Broadway and adding vintage clothing and locally made items. I slowly added new clothing until we outgrew that space and ended up moving to a huge space downtown and called it Tonic! So now we have 2 locations ( the 2nd being back on broadway).
What is the best part about running your own shop?
I like the creative process. I like to see something I love in a store in Europe (or any other place) and finding that style to bring back home. Now with farminista, our online store, it's a little reversed at times. We have local styles or designs that we send to our regular customers who have moved away and can't shop regularly at tonic like they used to.
Where do you find inspiration for fashion trends?
Every where!! I always notice something different and that's what we order for Tonic and Farminista. We do like to get a lot of our brands from Europe. We think they are just a little bit ahead of us in the risk taking fashion- so it's always unique and special!

What is the biggest lesson you've learned in running your shop, thus far?  
It's a ton of work. Fashion is always changing and so are we. We change all of our stock every season as well as the layout and decor of the shops- new paint and wallpaper to match the trends. 
Can you name your greatest success?
Staying open and having a family. It's a shock to have a baby and even more shocking to keep running a demanding business- nevermind not getting maternity leave! I feel very blessed to have staff who went above and beyond their job requirements to run the store so I could have 4 babies!

What is a day in the life of your job?
Well, I like to start at the Broadway location to see what they need restocked ( and to have a latte with the manager who happens to be my sister). That location is small, so we restock almost everyday. Then, I go downtown and go through the stock. We have to be careful not to take out items we just loaded online. Our downtown Tonic is our warehouse for our online store, so we keep those items online downtown. After we load up boxes for broadway, we go over new items to put online. We also go over social media, like Instagram and Facebook, to show our customers whats new. Then, I go over what's sold out and order more items if we need. In between all of that, we help girls find outfits or assist with the never ending search for the perfect dress!
What advice do you have to new businesses starting out?
It's a lot of work! 

How do you keep your creative mind going? What do you do to rejuvenate?
My family and friends. It's good to just be silly and do fun things for a few days. Then I find I'm full of new ideas!
Thanks Roxanne for letting us prairie sisters indulge in some prairie fashion on the west coast! And thanks so much for a glimpse into the Tonic and Farminista lifestyle. We love what you do! If you are in need of the perfect dress, or beautiful clothes for everyday, check out Farminista online! See our blog post there for outfit details. And now, just because, here are some silly shots. Because we can never stay serious for too long.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Curated By: Vol. 9

Well look at that. The whole summer has gone by without me doing one of these! I hope you were inspired to create just the same. I know I've been inspired all summer by the wonderful projects and ideas going around the blog world- so many great things! People are just so darn creative these days. This week, especially, I've been pinning a whole lot more and finding all sorts of goodies. Here are the things that have particularly inspired me this past week: 

1. I made this recipe for plum crumble last year when I received a bounty of plums. I enjoyed it so much that I knew I had to make it again just to use up the plums in my fridge that were going bad. It was once again enjoyed with fervour! 

2. I went on a grilled cheese binge this summer but I wish I had come across this recipe sooner before I was all grilled cheesed out. I don't know, somehow Romesco Grilled Cheese with Gruyere + Watercress may make me revisit the obsession once more...

3. M and I recently went to the beach and gathered as much driftwood as we could carry. I'm finding all sorts of creative projects to use it for including this beautiful bedroom clothes hanger! (original source unknown).

4. Mandi recently posted on A Beautiful Mess showcasing her DIY cake dome and cloche jars. I've never used a cake dome before, but kind of want to just because it looks so pretty! 

5. Bridget from Deer Circus posted this incredible tribute to her grandmother today. I am always in awe of writers and Bridget is no exception. This piece is particularly beautiful and I felt compelled to share it. Grief is a very familiar thing for me (and Kristen, I'm sure) and the picture Bridget paints of the physicality of emotion pinpoints it perfectly. 

6. And just because we've now entered September (even though I'm not ready to give up summer), a really gorgeous shot of autumnal trees on a lake. The one picture this week that made me think, "hmm, maybe I can do this Fall thing...". 

I hope you feel inspired and encouraged as you enter your weekends!


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Common Creative: Joelle Gebhardt

Meet Joelle. Or maybe you've already met her... her name is becoming more well known in both the art world and across the world! I'm pretty lucky to know her as both a very respected artist/illustrator and dear friend. Originally living and working in Vancouver, we met through the church that we were both attending at the time. The first time we met, I was immediately drawn in by her passion for creating and intrigued by her style. Not only is she incredibly kind, intelligent, and funny, she has one of the most unique art forms, combining drawing with embroidery. Embroidery has always been a love of mine, so obviously I have fallen in love with her work! 
One of my favourite projects of hers is the "Greetings from Mr. Buttonman" series. Originally a calendar project, this series includes humorous embroidered illustrations of Mr. Buttonman in various situations that completely embody Joelle's sense of humour. The project now includes postcards and books which can be found at various locations in Canada and Germany. 
Joelle and her husband have since moved to Berlin and I've been following her current projects online, which include a lot of embroidery, art markets and shows. I so wish that I could be there to attend these fun looking markets, but alas, I will only have to pretend to take part! 
While I would love to do a full interview with Joelle and pick at her brain for her thoughts on the creative process, I know that she's quite busy preparing for an upcoming show! So, I just sent her one question to answer this time round:

What is your favourite thing about creating for a living?
I will answer this question with a story because I love stories. When I was in elementary school I had a teacher who told my mom that I was putting too much energy into projects that didn't really matter for my marks. Specifically, I would spend hours working on "cover pages" in my school notebook. We were required to make these cover pages to separate subjects in our books and it was worth only a fraction of our overall grade. My teacher was worried that I was over-exerting myself with these small assignments. I think in some ways he was right, that I needed to learn to choose where to spend my energy and put my efforts. But where he misunderstood me was that the reason I spent hours illustrating covers for my journals was that I loved drawing and being creative. This was my way of brightening what were sometimes very dull topics. And I think this is why I love creating; life is just better when we're creative with it. As hard as the creative journey is, and there are many days when I feel like giving up on being a "professional" artist, it is also incredibly satisfying.
If you would like to follow Joelle's work, you'll find her in multiple places online, including:

Joelle is also involved in her own creative collective with some fellow artists in Vancouver. I had the privilege of being able to attend one of their shows last year! It was such an interesting concept for an art show and I loved seeing the work that came from their collaboration. If you'd like to learn more about this collective, visit their website at Open Book Art Collective

Thanks for sharing your wonderful words and beautiful work, Joelle!