Love, Me Boutique's Chara Kingston | Shoptalk | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

Love, Me Boutique's Chara Kingston

Kingston's boutique fills a niche offering handmade, small-run products created by local and Canadian designers and artisans.

Having studied to be a contemporary art curator, Chara Kingston decided she didn't belong in that world: "It didn't feel real." Kingston moved from Ontario, worked at the Nova Scotia Cultural Network then decided she wanted to make her own stuff, so she started a label called Simply C.

"Through that I met so many different artists who were all saying the same thing: It's really hard to get your stuff into mainstream boutiques, whether it's in the city or across Canada because you're competing against mass-manufactured brands, and the people who are selling at those stores don't have the expertise to walk people through the handmade versus mass-manufactured."

Kingston was spending more time networking than selling her own work, which is when she clued in her talent was selling other people's stuff. She opened Love, Me in October 2007. Offering handmade, small-run products created by local and Canadian designers and artisans, her store has filled a niche.

"There was a need for it," says Kingston. "People have been saying there used to be a pocket, and then for whatever reason those stores closed, and there wasn't a place that was just doing handmade. I think now, the handmade movement has gone from underground artsy crafty or what we'd call 'grandma crafts,' it's gone from those two points and it's emerged into something that's quirky, interesting, funny and lovely."

The public's growing ecological consciousness also means people are considering how buying in a store like Love, Me can positively affect the whole community: "People are starting to think on these new wavelengths that weren't part of the shopping mentality for so long."

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