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Mjolk Mini-Interview

24/01/2012

Located in Toronto, Canada, Mjölk is a lifestyle boutique with a difference. Carrying a carefully curated selection of design goods from Scandinavia and Japan, it's uniqueness lies in it's honesty, When owners John Baker and Juli Daoust say they look to everyday life to find inspiration for the products they carry and that they take time in curating their products - they genuinely mean it.. this is a store packed full of the best lifestyle goods, not a store pushing a lifestyle. Life is important and that for that reason we shouldn't take it's tools lightly, why settle for the second best coffee, you should have the best! I spoke to John about the store and its roots.

 

Adam Bryce: What are your backgrounds? What talents do you each bring to the business?

John Baker: I believe that everything we've done in the past has somehow lent itself to what we're doing now. Juli studied art curation and photography at the Ontario College of Art and Design, and I spent a few years working at a local furniture showroom and manufacturer. Juli's time working as a curator and freelance photography helped getting us all the beautiful photos on our blog and website, as my time working with made to order furniture gave me a strong knowledge for materials, proportions, and a better understanding of how furniture is made.

 

AB: The home-wares market is saturated with disposability..how have people reacted to your very different way of doing things?

JB: I think people find it very refreshing, and if they're familiar with our mantra they put a lot of faith in the products we decide to carry in the store. We try our best to have as little in store competition as possible. If we have a tea kettle we try to find the best one instead of having 10 in different variations and colours. We mostly have positive reactions in the store, but the ones that are negative seem to be quite dramatic, a knee jerk reaction as it were. For some it takes time to digest what we're doing.

 

AB: Do you have your own personal favorites in the design world? What might they be?

JB: I love the work of Atelier Bow Wow and Tadao Ando, my favorite architect would have to be Alvar Aalto. We got to see some of his work including his home in Helsinki and being in the space is a life changing experience. There's something intangible about his work that cannot be photographed. For furniture I love Børge Mogensen, he takes my favorite things about Japan, Scandinavia, and the American shaker movement to create unique timeless pieces.

 

AB: What kind of philosophy do you look for when you find a designer or are approached by one?

JB: Our criteria is pretty simple, first it has to be something that we connect with and would want in our own home. Next is if the product can find a place within the home, whether as a functional and/or beautiful object. The last thing we want to check is how the product is produced, we need transparency if we are going to recommend it to our customers.

 

AB: Will there be more stores? Are there other areas of function you would like to cover in the future?

JB: I think we're going to stick with the one location, in order to keep a high standard Juli and I need to be in control. We do hope to collaborate more with local makers producing a small collection of goods only available in our store. We're also looking forward to hosting more exhibitions in the near future, I like the idea of the store changing its clothes every once in a while, it keeps things interesting.

 

http://mjolk.ca/

 

Adam Bryce

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