(LQ's Annie Pero and Five Eleven's Mariah Barron)
A few years ago, we wanted to create an initiative that would benefit not only our community, but our customers and environment as well. What eventually transpired was the idea of the Wishing Well Campaign, where customers bring their pre-loved LQ items back to us, and in exchange, receive a discount on a future LQ purchase. In turn, we donate the items to a local initiative or organization in need. In its own small yet tangible way, it is a service that has allowed us to give back to our immediate community members in need and has supported some of our sustainability goals as a business.
In summer 2019, your donations supported the Five Eleven Youth Centre here in North Sydney.
Founded in mid-2018, Five Eleven Youth Centre is a not-for-profit, youth drop-in centre providing a safe space for children, youth and their families to play, grow, relax and inspire one another. The Centre offers art classes, yoga, movie nights, workshops aiming to foster creativity, benefit dances, and more. In addition, the centre has a “Sunshine Room” which houses their Community Caring Closet. In the closet you’ll find clothing for children and adults, shoes, accessories and hygiene products, all of which are provided free of charge to those in need.
Five Eleven graciously accepted your pre-loved items and assured us that the clothing would be going into the hands of individuals in the community who need it most!
Our Wishing Well Campaign is ongoing and we happily accept donations at any time. Should you wish to rehome your LQ items, please consider us! Our donation criteria is outlined below.
Thank you to everyone who has donated in the past, and we look forward to seeing you again in-store!
- Item(s) must be clothing (dress, top, or bottom) and must have been previously purchased at La Quaintrelle. Items will be verified in-store.
- Item(s) must be cleanly washed and in good, gently-worn condition. Items with stains, rips, missing accessories i.e. belts, buttons, etc. cannot be accepted.
- Item(s) may be donated as many times as you wish. One coupon per donation date.
- Coupon can only be redeemed on regular priced items and cannot be used in conjunction with another sale or promotion.
- Coupon can only be used by the donor.
Jennifer and her daughter, Mathilde, have been long-time customers of the shop, and as of late, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Jennifer a little better as a fellow entrepreneur. A woman of great compassion, many talents, and boundless zeal, Jennifer is a doula who has established her business as The Salty Stork, and has been supporting families throughout pregnancy, labour and birth, and postpartum.
Jennifer currently services the entirety of Cape Breton Island and Antigonish area, and this coming winter she will bring her experience and skills to the Maison de Naissance Birth Centre in Torbeck, Haiti, training local volunteers to support labouring mothers.
“Every mother deserves a positive, safe and healthy birth experience where she feels supported and protected,” says Jennifer. “Yet women throughout the third world are often unable to access services that we in the Western world are lucky to have.”
Jennifer hopes to be a part of this change, and to start she’ll make her mark in Haiti, a nation that has the highest maternal mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere.
The role of the doula is not yet known in Haiti, but it is something Jennifer hopes can be fostered.
“Presently, while family members are encouraged to attend and assist the delivering mother, many families are not able to provide this support for various reasons,” explains Jennifer. “As a result, many women have only a midwife with them in the delivery room.”
As part of her fundraising efforts, Jennifer has been making and selling beeswax food wraps, and we are happy to be selling them here at LQ to assist her fundraising efforts. Monies raised will help Jennifer with her daily living expenses while in Haiti, plus travel, vaccines, and lodging. Any funds raised beyond what she needs will be used to purchase equipment and supplies or given as donations to the centre.
A selection of Jennifer’s wraps can be found at LQ both in-store and online.
To make a donation to her fundraiser, visit her GoFundMe page.
Best of luck, Jennifer!
Kyle McPhee is the owner and creative behind Phee’s Original Goods, makers of leather and canvas accessories. Born and raised in Glace Bay, NS, Kyle was heavily involved in the skateboarding and music scene on the island. He said he has done his best to stay involved in creative pursuits that have led him across both the country and the world. Through his pursuits he has been able to see how other communities embrace their creativity and his hope is to share what he has learned throughout his ventures here at home.
We spoke to Kyle to learn more about his business, his creative process and his inspiration behind his creations. Here is what he had to tell us:
Photo by Corey Katz
How did you get into creating?
Phee’s Original Goods grew out of a hobby that began around 2010. I saw some work John Roberts of Leatherworks had done and that led me to buying some tools and leather of my own. I made some wallets and belts and familiarized myself with the tools but didn’t get too serious with it.
A few years later I took on some work building skate parks that led me around the country in the sunny months and laid off on the winters. I took up the leather work again to stay busy over the winter. In 2016 I injured my foot skateboarding and happened to hobble into Clo’s General Leather Goods in Edmonton. He was looking for help at the time and I was available. Through working with him I saw what it took to run a business in this industry and worked over the next few years to slowly build Phee’s Original Goods into a full time gig.
In 2018 I took up a studio in the Customs House Artisan Incubator in Port Hawkesbury and have been working full time there producing a line of standard issue goods as well as some wholesale and commissioned work.
What does your creative process look like?
My creative process is always changing but it usually follows a similar pattern. Most designs in our lineup start as custom commissions. After making a few iterations of the product we refine it to something we’re stoked on we’ll add it to the lineup. The actual making of the goods is all very manual and hands on. Everything is hand cut, hardware is set by hand, most stitching is done by hand and we use a vintage singer to help out as well.
How long does it take to create a piece from start to finish?
Our work is super labour intensive, on some of our bigger pieces like our duffel bags, we can spend a few days making them. As for our smaller items we try to create them in small batches, around ten at a time which can take a day or two depending on the design and the day.
Where do you get inspiration for your items? What is your favourite item to create?
I’m always scouring the internet for different designs, styles, and looks to take inspiration from. Same goes for my day to day life, I’ve developed a bit of a hawk eye for nice accessories. Lately I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the raw denim, traditional tattoo, and vintage thrift communities for looks to take inspiration from and I’m a dyed in the wool skateboarder so all of those threads tend to compliment each other.
My favourite things to make are new designs that I haven’t tackled yet. Sometimes it’s bigger more technical designs, sometimes simpler but it’s always what’s new that’s stoking me out.
Where is your favourite place to create?
My favourite place to make stuff is anywhere in Cape Breton. There’s such a good community of like-minded folks making cool things and lately there seems to be a rejuvenated excitement for creative endeavours on the island.
What does your business mean to you?
Running a business to me means a full commitment of time, effort, and creativity. You can see that commitment reflected in other local small business owners who’re all working towards a similar goal of bolstering the island’s economy and creating a community where we want to live.
We are thrilled to carry several products from Phee’s Original Goods, both in-store + online. Shop our selection of wallets, coasters, dog collars and more here.
Thanks so much to Kyle for giving us a behind the scenes look at his creative process!
Brenna MacNeil hails from Inverness, Nova Scotia, located here on beautiful Cape Breton island. She currently lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia where she has been working as a graphic designer since 2007. Brenna studied Public Relations at Mount Saint Vincent University and Graphic Design at NSCC, both in Halifax. She worked at an advertising agency for three years, and is currently a graphic designer at Dalhousie University. She started missbrenna when the advertising agency she was working for closed in 2010. She says that missbrenna gives her the opportunity to work on personal projects like her self-published book twentythree, her year long photo project, 12-28, and her current “Love Cape Breton” Collection. Additionally, Brenna enjoys doing design work for smaller companies and bartering with like-minded professionals.
Photography has been a passion of Brenna’s for almost 20 years and it plays a huge role in her design work and personal life. When she isn’t creating, she can be found listening to live music, hiking, walking along the coasts of local beaches, travelling, discovering new restaurants, partaking in pilates and yoga, cooking and taking road trips with her family.
We reached out to Brenna to learn more about her and her creative process. Here is what she had to say!
How did you get into making cards & stationery?
My grandmother gave me a camera when I was 11 years old. That was the beginning of my love for photography.I made my first cards almost 20 years ago by gluing scenic Cape Breton photos to blank cards and selling them in local gift shops in Inverness. Once I became a graphic designer, this process changed and now I have scenic Cape Breton cards as well as playful greeting cards.
What does your creative process look like?
It looks like a lot of notes and designs on loose paper and in notebooks. It also looks like Pinterest boards and folders filled with colour inspiration. I find I have more creative bursts in the fall and early spring, but I’m always keeping notes on paper and my phone with ideas for new products, designs and especially for greeting cards. That’s the beginning of the process. When I get into artwork/mockup phase I put on headphones and start designing from my sketches and notes. I’ll often have ideas that connect as I’m designing and will add those to the mix. I have numerous folders on my computer of ideas and inspiration. Once I’m ready to finalize artwork I review my designs, choose the ones that work the best and go into production mode. It is quite a process once my designs are ready to send to print – deciding on quantity, other pieces I may need to order (envelopes, stickers, mattes, protective envelopes, tags) as well as sizes, product and colours for apparel (that takes forever). I love receiving my final designs from the printer. I inspect all designs, photograph them for social and my website/Etsy and then put the pieces together. I wish I had more time in the day to do this part as well as to execute on my lengthy list of “someday” projects.
Where do you get inspiration for your items? What is your favourite piece to create?
Inspiration comes from everyday experiences, things people say, the people I meet and am around, travelling near and far and the coastal beauty of my two homes in Halifax and western Cape Breton. I find inspiration comes from being present in the daily moments of life and giving my brain time to rest by going for walks on the beach and around the neighbourhood near Dalhousie, listening to music and going to see live music, watching movies in theatre, reading magazines and hanging out with my friends and family. I have a lot of awesome kids in my life, including my daughter, that are so fun to be around. To be creative, it’s important to have a childlike curiosity about the world – my daughter, nephews, nieces and younger friends certainly remind me of this.
My favourite piece to create are greeting cards. They can be quick and fun and a bit quirky. I enjoy connecting copy with photography and illustrations. It’s especially satisfying when my awesome customers comment on the designs or tell my why they are sending the card to someone. Cards are meaningful and can truly uplift someone or remind them they are loved or appreciated.
Where is your favourite place to create?
I love going to a quiet location with a giant piece of paper to organize my ideas or brainstorm. I LOVE the brainstorming process and reviewing sketches and ideas. When I’m in a brainstorming phase, the ideas flow pretty quickly – it’s very exciting. The real work comes when I’m designing the pieces and choosing fonts, colours and the appropriate photo or artwork.
What does your business mean to you?
It means connection to people and place. It’s a creative outlet that constantly inspires me. Through my business, I’ve self-published twentythree - a whimsical book of Q&A with photography, participated in two Lumiere art projects and studied screen printing at NSCAD. But designing Cape Breton inspired apparel, artwork and greeting cards is truly special. I started doing this in 2012 because I thought other people must love Cape Breton as much as I do. My business constantly reminds me of the amazingly special community I grew up in where the connections run deep and the memories continue through the generations.
What is your favourite quote or life motto?
My favourite quote: “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” - George Bernard Shaw. My life philosophy is 85% kindness, optimism and a sense of humour, 10% laissez-faire attitude and 5% don’t take crap from people.
We are so excited to carry some of missbrenna’s products here at LQ. Currently, we carry Cape Breton stickers + bottle openers, various Cape Breton Island scenic greeting cards, as well as other greeting + occasion cards. You can shop missbrenna here.
Thank you for a behind the scenes peek at your life and creative process, Brenna!
Jessie Wright is the maker behind JAW Pottery. Originally from rural Ontario, she’s called Halifax, Nova Scotia her home for the past 10 years. It’s evident in her work that she has a true love and passion for the art of pottery. From a young age, she has been enthralled with the craft and has since opened her own studio in her home in Halifax; which she says makes her life easier to check on a piece at any hour of the day or night. When she’s not making, Jessie loves to swim and guarantees that she will be the first one to swim in any given body of water. Additionally, Jessie further fosters her creativity by gardening and building projects around the house with her husband.
From dainty hair clips to entire dish sets, Jessie creates a wide variety of exclusive, one-of-a-kind products.
We reached out to Jessie to learn more about her creative process and what inspires her. Here's what she had to say:
What inspired you get into pottery making?
When I was about 15, a good friend of my family opened a teaching pottery studio, my step mom and I started taking evening classes together, and I was very quickly obsessed. I never enjoyed the art classes offered at my highschool, so this gave me an alternate option to create with very little rules.
After high school, I sought out community centers wherever I was living to take classes from, until I was lucky enough to meet a retiring potter looking to get rid of all their equipment and a lot of raw materials.
What does your creative process look like?
I really know what I like and I try to recreate it everytime. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with ideas that seem perfect, until I try to make them and see how they need changing. Always trial and error. Learning from mistakes.
How long does it take to make a piece from start to finish?
The shortest about of time I could make something start to finish is about 5 days, if all circumstances are perfect. But generally most things take a few days longer.
What pieces other than mugs do you create? What is your favourite piece to create?
I currently make planters, mugs, tumblers, vases, serving dishes, lidded vessels, but my favourite things to make are dish sets. I only do then by custom order, but it makes sure that the customer gets exactly what they want and when you can see the whole set together, it’s a beautiful thing!
What is the inspiration behind your designs?
I am very interested in how you can use the clay to its greatest potential, with little waste (in the form of trimming). I think the cylinder is the greatest test of a potter, getting the walls to be even and thin, without compromising its strength.
Where is your favourite place to work and why?
Pottery is pretty stationary, luckily I love my studio because I can't work anywhere else!
What does your business mean to you?
Freedom and control. It’s incredibly hard sometimes, and I wish I had extra hands and skills, but learning how to seek out people who have the skills you don’t and ask for help has been very beneficial. Connecting with a like minded community has been my favourite part!
We are delighted to carry several of Jessie’s creations at LQ, both in-store and online. You can shop her collection of mugs here.
Thank you, Jessie for a sneak peek into your life and the story behind your products!
Though I've just begun my time here at LQ, I have spared no time finding my favourite items in the store. I often find myself in awe at just how beautiful and unique some of our pieces are. On my first day here while touring the shop with Meghan, my eye was directly drawn to the cutest little pink, gingham printed top with ruffled sleeves. I later realized that the name of this top couldn’t be more fitting; the Prettiest Pink Top.
Now usually, I’m a sucker for neutrals - beige, olive, black, brown, possibly dusty pink - you name a neutral, I love it. Maybe because they’re simple to match and compliment my colouring, but something about this piece spoke to me. It is the sweetest, most perfect addition to your summer wardrobe.
Speaking of neutrals, my next store favourite is an item I’ve had my eye on for a long while - I have just been waiting for it to be restocked in my size - The Ophelia Jumpsuit! Not only is this one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve ever seen, it’s remarkable how many customers comment on its uniqueness and charm.
Come to think of it - both The Prettiest Pink Top and The Ophelia Jumpsuit have ruffled sleeves - maybe I have a thing for ruffles?
Next on my list are any of our products from Rifle Paper Company. Having followed many lifestyle bloggers, vloggers and influencers for many years, I’ve been familiar with Rifle Paper for quite some time. I have always appreciated the feminine charm associated with the brand. If I had to choose, I would say my favourite item from Rifle Paper Co. we carry is the Tapestry Canteen. Something about the delicate, intricate floral pattern is so appealing!
Lastly, is the neutral Home of Our Hearts print. I bought this item in-store back in November, and proudly displayed it in my apartment while living in Fredericton. Not only is it one of my favourite items in store, it is one of my favourite items that I own!
Stay tuned as I’m sure I will have more favourites as our new inventory keeps arriving! ♡
Have you heard of Hope Project? Established by local physician Dr. Laura Whyte, her husband Andrew, and their friends Chelsea and Ethan Fenton, Hope Project is a therapeutic live-in recovery home located in Cape Breton for women suffering from drug and alcohol addiction.
Their mission is to empower a new generation of women in Cape Breton to experience freedom from their addiction, to restore a sense of dignity and self-worth, and to integrate their healing back into our community.
Their vision is a holistic one. Hope Project utilizes and connects residents with existing supports within the community, but they go one step further and employ unique skills-development programming to help them maintain supportive relationships in their lives and become healthy and productive citizens of our community. Currently this programming includes individual life coaching, art and culture experiences, physical activity, equestrian and horticulture therapy, and community volunteerism.
This programming has resulted in a small on-site farm, and just recently, the establishment of the social enterprise, Covered By Hope.
Covered By Hope was spearheaded by recovered women of the program as a means to support Hope Farm and the home's current residents. Soap and candles are made by hand with the farm's goat milk, and each product is accompanied by an insert card with a quote that has inspired the woman's journey. All product ingredients are naturally-sourced and Cape Breton/Canadian made.
We are honoured to be retailing these products on behalf of Covered By Hope and to support these women in restoring health, a sense of well-being, and hope for their lives.
Hi! My name is Kiana, and I was born and raised here on beautiful Cape Breton Island. I grew up in Millville, but moved to George’s River when I was a young girl. I’m currently a student - having obtained my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in May 2017 from Cape Breton University, and will be graduating with my Bachelor of Social Work from St. Thomas University this coming December.
I spent the last year living off-island and while it is beautiful in New Brunswick, I truthfully couldn’t wait to get back home to enjoy the picturesque beauty (and delicious food) that the island has to offer. I’m excited to start as Sales and Creative Associate this summer at La Quaintrelle as it has always been one of my favourite stores on the island (and a bonus that it is near my hometown!) The unique, charming inventory has always spoken to me and I am genuinely thrilled to have the opportunity to educate myself on the stories behind each of the items in store to fully appreciate them all.
I am also looking forward to the creative aspect of the position as I am a very creative individual. I am excited to write about our new arrivals, and share our items and their stories with all of you!
A little bit about me...
What are you currently obsessed with?
Right now, I am obsessed with The Office! I know I am VERY late to the game, and I truly wish I would have started it much earlier! I’m currently about halfway through the series so if you see me in the store, no spoilers please!
What's your guilty pleasure?
I have a few guilty pleasures.. but the two most significant are: Trailer Park Boys – if you say you don’t find this show hysterical, you’re lying – and pizza. Garlic fingers, please!
What is the best thing you've ever read, watched, or listened to?
I love anything by Brené Brown. One of the best things I’ve listened to was her Ted Talk, “The Power of Vulnerability” in which she speaks to how we should allow ourselves to be vulnerable; by means of self-awareness, accepting criticisms and embracing our fears. She is a powerful, inspirational woman and I absolutely love listening to her speak.
If you could spend 24 hours with anyone, who would it be and what would you do?
If I could spend 24 hours with anyone, I would choose my nan. Though she is still alive, she is currently experiencing the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. I was young when the disease progressed, so I have never really had the chance to know her very well. I would love nothing more than to sit with her over a cup of tea and talk about her life (and maybe what she put in her “famous” meatballs).
Describe your personal style.
My personal style is very simple – there’s nothing I love more than a pair of jeans and a simple top. However, I like to accessorize! I have more pairs of shoes than I would like to admit, and I think that a cute pair of shoes can really tie together an outfit.
If you were given an unlimited amount of money to fix any one problem in the world, what issue would you choose and how would you help?
Being a social work student, this question is tough. There are many social issues that need to be “fixed”, however, at this moment I would use an unlimited amount of money to fix the mental health system in Nova Scotia. I would use the money to expand current mental health facilities and ensure that there are enough mental health professionals (physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers) on staff to work with those in need of help, so that ultimately no individual is denied assistance.
What are your favourite items currently in the shop?
Every item in the shop is beautiful which makes it hard to choose. However, my top favourites are the Ophelia jumpsuit, the Darling Dusty Rose dress and the Rifle Paper Company floral canteens!
What would you tell your 13 year old self about life thus far?
Wow, I could write a novel to my 13 year old self. My life hasn’t turned out the way I had envisioned it at 13, and that’s okay – it’s better than what I had planned back then. It’s important to use the challenges life throws at you as learning experiences, to help you grow and flourish as a person. I would tell her that it’s okay to be different from the crowd, and to simply be yourself. Embracing your uniqueness will help you discover who you truly are as an individual moving forward in life.
What is your personal motto or mantra?
My personal mantra is a nod to my educational background with regard to self-care - you can’t pour from an empty cup. This serves as a reminder to always keep your cup full and to take care of yourself first.
"I never expected it to turn into a little business, but I'm so happy it did."
You never know when you might be on the cusp of a new adventure. For Shelley MacIsaac, it all began one Christmas morning when she received a pair of earrings from her sister and that pivotal thought popped up into her head - "I could make this myself."
Shelley's a stay-at-home mom living in beautiful Margaree, Cape Breton, and is now the owner of her new handmade jewelry business, Something Handmade, crafting earrings out of genuine leather, suede, and natural wood. Her story is a gentle reminder to stay curious and open to opportunity (especially in the most unlikely of times and places), and to always work from a place of authenticity and heart.
Today she talks to us about the organic start to her business, how her minimalist lifestyle shapes how and what she creates, and what Jimmy Rankin has to do with it all. Enjoy! - Meghan
How did you get into making jewelry?
I’ve always had a creative streak, so I’ve tried many DIY projects. The first pair of earrings I made were the “kite earrings”, to give to my friends with my Christmas cards. I discovered that making them gave me a creative outlet I was craving. I loved working with wood to create something unique. That same Christmas my sister gifted me a pair of leather earrings. They were beautiful (but gold shimmer was a little too fancy for my taste) and naturally I said “I can make these”. So I picked up some leather in colours that were more my style and gave it a shot. Everyone seemed to want a pair of each, so I started selling some to help cover the cost. I never expected it to turn into a little business, but I’m so happy it did.
What does your creative process look like? What inspires you?
My creative process is pretty simple - I’m a minimalist at heart so my designs are usually based on simple, symmetrical lines. The walnut looks so natural (because it is) which is something I love, so I’m always eager to come up with new styles with it. And sometimes the process involves someone saying “you should make this style next” and if I’m feeling the idea I’ll give it a shot.
Where is your favourite place to work?
I make leather earrings at home while my kids are sleeping but my favourite place to work is in my Dad's woodworking shop. He helps me bring my ideas to life, and has taught me so much about wood and the processes needed to perfect the styles I envision.
What does your business mean to you?
I never intended on starting a business, but I have really enjoyed the process. It happened so organically, and is growing organically, which takes the pressure off and I love that.
The name Something Handmade actually came from a Jimmy Rankin song (it doesn’t get much more Cape Breton than that)! The lyrics are a plea for something authentic, something handmade. That principle resonates with me. Realness is a trend right now and I hope it sticks around. I’m a stay at home mom (which has always been my dream) and with that I’ve always wanted to be like the “proverbs 31 woman” which is basically a woman who is productive and who serves her family well. So having my own business means I can do something I really enjoy, and also make it work for my family’s needs. Plus I get to wear lots of cute earrings in the process!
Thanks for a behind-the-scenes peek, Shelley! Shop our selection of earrings in-store and online.
Here at LQ we're thrilled to be stocking Yellow Owl Workshop! Items chalk full of original graphics and bold colors, we're sure they will become one of your new favorites.
Being one of your new favorites we thought you'd like to get to know Yellow Owl Workshop. Read on you pretty little LQ and get to know them a little better:
How it all began...
Christine Schmidt's art career began in primary school when she won a bike at the local grocer's coloring contest. This bike was red and had ten whole speeds! After a youth spent on the plains of Kansas City and art school in Washington D.C., she and her loverboy, Evan, moved west to a little place perched atop windy Bernal Hill in San Francisco. Fueled by too much black tea and public radio shows, she spent nights creating hand-printed cards and gifts. Seeking out local suppliers and working with fine, momma-earth loving materials, she began honing her line of wares. In 2007, after steeling her nerves, Christine took a box of her goods to some local stores, they placed orders and Yellow Owl Workshop was born.
Current day Yellow Owl Workshop now bustles with a team of hard-working ladies in a sunny Mission district studio. Though Yellow Owl Workshop has grown and can be found in stores worldwide, the original values of expert attention to detail, ecological awareness and premium U.S. made materials are evident in every product. Legend says if you hold a stamp set really closely you can probably still smell the Earl Grey and hear a "Radio Lab" episode.
Notable for a sophisticated yet playful aesthetic, the products include rubber stamps and stamp ink pads, greeting cards and a line of exquisite gold pendants. Though the product line is diverse, consistent themes of innovative function, original graphics and bold colors emerge.
While Christine is handling the creative side of Yellow Owl, she is incredibly lucky to have amazing people handling the business of Yellow Owl. Her husband Evan Gross, longtime friend Maria Niubo, and a band of super ladies, keep the studio humming along.
Christine and Evan live in San Francisco with their new daughter, Emmy, who will begin entering coloring contests (and hopefully winning bikes!) after she masters solid foods and crawling.
Shop the whole collection here!