As you can probably guess, I spend a lot of time on social media. Most of the time I’m researching new brands I want to bring to Bradshaws or responding to customer questions. But this past year and a bit I’ve really discovered the power of connecting with other small business owners across the country. Running a shop throughout the pandemic was really challenging and so I found myself reaching out to others who inspired me to keep pushing. I met so many other creative and hard working retailers and business owners by simply messaging them on Instagram and asking them how they were managing. We shared lots of tips with each other, encouraged one another through each lockdown and inspired each other to explore new brands for our stores. It was incredible to be able to share and learn from incredible small business owners from coast to coast. The true meaning of supporting small business.
As we were trying to keep things interesting and inspiring on our feed while it seemed the world was falling apart at the seams, of course I turned to cooking food – my comfort zone. We posted a recipe to our feed for our Thai Chicken Salad and in one of the shots I was wearing a patchwork quilted bolero from Toronto brand Honeybea that I bought locally from The Little Shed Flower Co. when I needed a little retail therapy to get me through the beginning of the pandemic. Yes, I, too need retail therapy sometimes, preferably in the form of quality Canadian-designed goods. We tagged @honeybeadesignhive in the shot and a little while later, the owner Rebecca Caulford reached out to me to ask if I would model (???) for her upcoming limited collection of breezy summer dresses utilizing found vintage table linens.
Photo: Rebecca Caulford, Honeybea Founder, courtesy of Honeybea
Ok, WHAT just happened? How perfect was this? Being asked to model vintage table cloth dresses? My love of cooking and entertaining colliding with my other loves of fashion and design??? A match made in heaven as far as I’m concerned. Confession: I was a little intimidated at first, but decided to adopt the F-it, what-do-I-have-to-lose approach and decided to embrace the fear and go for it. I went back to Toronto (my home town) to work with the beautiful and creative ladies from Honeybea.
Becky – A pioneer of the upcycle movement and passionate circular fashion advocate, textile artist and thrift fanatic, Keitha (a.k.a. Kiki) a woman with many talents and wearing many hats keeping all balls in the air and Evie – a young New Zealander talent shooting all fo these beautiful shots. They were warm, welcoming, creative, instinctive, encouraging and supportive… all the qualities I respect in small business entrepreneurs!
We spent the day transporting (in our minds) the streets of Toronto to the streets of Italy and Greece. It was a dreamy day of me playing hookie from Bradshaws, getting to model these incredible one-of-a-kind slow-fashion pieces, while pretending I was suddenly on the streets of Europe. Although it was really hard to pick favourites, this dress was definitely one of my favourites. I seriously felt teleported to Italy. With travel restrictions so tight right now, this might be as close as I get for a while. So light, loose-fitting, bold shoulder shape, muted colour palette – I was seriously in love with this piece. Reminder – it is made of a reclaimed TABLECLOTH. Creativity literally has no boundaries with the creators at Honeybea.
This table dress surprised me because it would not typically be a colour way I would choose for myself. BUT, after putting it on, I was won over. The warm honey colour with a hint of yellow and hot pink seemed to match my skin tone and the light airy fabric would be perfect for going to the Farmer’s Market or hitting the beach. YES to this dress…
This crisp white linen dress with embroidered florals had a gorgeous plunging neck line and puffy exaggerated sleeves. You could also easily pull the sleeves down to reveal more shoulder. This dress was amazing sans-bra. Completely liberating. I am a big fan of a cinched waist and also of the two tiered length of the dress that hit my calves in the perfect place. Great with flats for a more casual look or add heels and some bold earrings and red lips for a night out. This one made me feel SEXY.
Lastly, this beauty of a dress was just lovely. Perfect with dewy makeup, a pink lip and a good tan. The weight of this fabric was a little heavier so this could be a good transition piece to fall if you add some tights, a chunky sweater and some boots. Lots of people commented on loving the looks of this dress!
We shot this at Mamakas Taverna which is a delicious Greek Restaurant on Ossington Ave. in Toronto right across from their other spot Bar Koukla. They also have Agora, a take-out spot right across from Trinity Bellwoods Park on Queen which is great for grabbing and go-ing. One of my oldest friends Faith is one of the owners and we happened to run into her by chance earlier in the day on Ossington when we were shooting! Say hi to her if you go!!
THIS SATURDAY JULY 10TH 11AM EST!!!!!
For those of you who love vintage fashion or collect Canadian-made fashion pieces, you won’t want to miss the Honeybea drop this Saturday July 10th at 11am EST. Get organized because their pieces disappear FAST. Get ready to add some beautifully hand-crafted Canadian garments made lovingly out of nostalgic Heirloom textiles.
Wherever you can, we hope you will consider supporting Canadian small businesses and restaurants because the unique, hard-working people behind the shops and restaurants that we love are what makes our communities so vitally interesting and fun. They are the lifeblood of our communities so wherever you can choose to shop/stay/eat at Canadian small businesses, please do!
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