If you're living in Vancouver, you may have been lucky enough to wander through Kerrisdale Village and spot a new store on the block, Blake & Riley. The shop is a treasure trove of delicious goodies: kids clothing (mainly from Korea), European home decor, bits of party accessories and a wide variety of goods for kids spaces.
Blake & Riley recently opened on 41st Avenue in Kerrisdale and I stumbled upon it shortly after Hey-Sun launched the business. It was love at first sight and Hey-Sun's warm, friendly personality is the perfect complement to the bright and lovely shop itself. I later stopped by and had the chance to talk with Hey-Sun and I've asked her to share a little about bit about her history, growing her empire and where's she hoping this journey leads some day...
When and why did you start Blake & Riley?
It's always been a dream of mine to launch my own brand and Rich (my husband) and I have always wanted to work for ourselves. Before coming to Vancouver, we lived in Seoul for almost 10 years (I was working in kids' fashion and Rich in media), and we loved it. It's a fast-changing, up-all-night metropolis that's become a real international centre of design, fashion and pop culture, and it's a fantastic place for a young couple to live. When the kids came along, we wanted more space for them to run around, so we started looking toward Vancouver. I built the brand over the course of two years with top design firm Art and Design International, run by a close friend. A little over a year ago, we both quit our jobs and made the move back here to launch the project.
How did you know Kerrisdale was the perfect location?
Kerrisdale is the birthplace of some of Vancouver's greatest brands: Aritzia, Blue Ruby and Faubourg. Where else would we go? :) Right now, it's a neighbourhood in flux, with new families coming in from all over the world and living among the people who've been here forever. We like to think we can serve both groups. Also, as a bicultural family-run business ourselves, we represent the way things are going not only in Kerrisdale, but across Vancouver in general. Different cultures are coming together to create something new and it's exciting to be a part of it.
What brands do you carry and why are they special?
For interior design, we carry Scandinavian brands like Muuto, Ferm Living and String. I feel Scandinavia really sets the tone internationally when it comes to the best in interior design these days. Our kids' clothes all come from Seoul and are made in Korea. Fashion moves at breakneck speed there, with new styles coming out every week, and I'm happy to be able to bring that dynamism to Vancouver. I also bring in interesting stuff that catches my eye from other countries (like England and Australia) that you wouldn't be able to find here.
Do you take weekends off?
No time for days off right now. We're bringing some people on to help out soon, but right now it's just the two of us. I think that working 24/7 when you launch a new business is par for the course if you want to succeed. Work like crazy now, and take days off later. In Spain, maybe.
How do you manage to find the 'balance' with two young sons at home?
Our hours are such that we can have breakfast and dinner as a family every day, which is a huge blessing and not something that I could necessarily expect from another job. Apart from that, much of the work for the brand is done from home, so there's always time for hug breaks.
Worst part about the job?
Working every day!
Best part about the job?
Building our own brand and watching it grow.
What is your hope for the store in 5 years time?
We look at Kerrisdale as our flagship location. Expect to see more of us around, hopefully sooner than later.
It was an absolute pleasure stumbling across Blake and Riley. Thanks so much Hey-Sun for sharing your beautiful store with us!
P.S. Blake & Riley are kindly offering WINTER DAISY readers 10% off clothing in store for the month of June. Simply mention WINTER DAISY at checkout.