Growing pains + learning curves

September 19, 2016


Morning folks,

I didn’t think it would take me this long to write to you, dear readers, about the launch of the shop, but here we are nearly two weeks later. In usual Malorie style, things were last-minute and a tad hectic. I underestimated how long it would take me to edit photos and finish product descriptions. Man – photo editors – I admire you! I could spend hours on one photo, obsessing over the lighting and shadows and getting lost in silly detail for hours. Never mind that I don’t actually know how to use Photoshop or Lightroom all that well so it took me even longer than most and I usually ended up just reverting to the original photo. Growing pains and learning curves!

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Choosing ethical designers

August 19, 2016


Shopping for others can be a hoot, but when you’re paying up front with no guarantee that you’ll make all of your money back, the style stakes are higher. This is what it’s like buying for your own shop. I loved buying for our inaugural collection and browsing online. Finding labels that fit our values and aesthetic gave me such a thrill, but the pressure was on to deliver.

Being a buyer is a balancing act, with your personal tastes in one hand and your customers’ in the other. Being a first-time buyer was even trickier. Despite the market research I did for my business plan, I won’t know for sure what my clients like until the shop opens (September 6 by the way). I was, in many ways, buying in the dark with a small, lit match and my gut instincts to guide me.

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The storm before the storm

August 19, 2016


Being busy doesn’t always mean being productive

In these final weeks before the shop’s launch (September 6 – plug, plug) my friends and family often ask me how things are going. I’m lucky to have caring people in my life who think to ask this. They also often exclaim how busy I must be. I’m happy to respond that I’m not too busy, just busy enough. I’m productive, but I’m not slaving over the site until the wee hours of the night. Happily for me, I’ve managed to do a little bit of work every few days or so for the last year. Now, in the last days before launch, I’m keeping panic at bay by sticking to my mantra of just a couple of hours a night, every night until launch. Read More

Post Toronto Fashion Week, now what?

July 20, 2016


Previewing Devlyn van Loon’s fall 2016 collection in Toronto this past spring.

Canada no longer has a fashion week. Or at least this is what media said almost two weeks ago now when the news broke out that our biggest and longest-running fashion week, Toronto Fashion Week was cancelled. I followed the shocked reactions of Ottawa’s fashion bloggers as they posted about the sudden news, but I couldn’t join them in their upset.

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Your fashion startup to-do list

July 20, 2016

DeathtoStock_CreativeSpace4 11.45.06 AM

You can search the Internet for business startup tips until your face turns blue and still feel uncertain about where to start. Believe me, I have a stack of business articles that I printed off with every intention to read them and they’re still just a stack of unread articles.

To save you time and to give you maybe that little “baby step” you need to get going, I’m keeping this short and sweet. Here is your e-commerce fashion startup to-do list. It’s not super comprehensive but it’s pretty close. At least, it’s all I needed to keep on track.

I wrote out each task on a piece of paper and taped them to my office wall under their appropriate category in a rough order of importance. As I accomplished a task, I took the paper down. It was the visual motivation I needed to keep going, stay focused and stay on track. I hope it does the same for you. Read More

What is going on?

July 7, 2016


Is it just me, or do we humans make life more complicated than it ever needs to be? We judge, hate, exclude, even kill each other. And all for what? I really can’t say. Sure, we could get into endless conversations about all of our issues and offer our opinions and solutions, but at the end of the day, does anything really change? I’d like to think that we’re in this new phase of humanity, in a global paradigm shift away from our materialistic, barbaric tendencies and towards a spiritual awakening. I see glimpses of it, but I also see a lot of two steps back.

Yesterday, when I heard about the shooting of Alton Sterling, I joined in on the collective exclamation: “What? Again?” Yes, again. And not just this tragedy. Each and every day, all over the world, people do bad things to each other, to themselves, to animals, to the planet. It seems never-ending. There seems to be more uncertainty in this world than ever before, but maybe that’s just me growing up and opening my eyes to the realities of life.

I have one wish for today: that you will watch this video. It’s a compilation of images and videos of our world from the ground and from space with the voice-over of renowned astronomer, Carl Sagan. Sagan delivers a beautiful, humbling message to us all and it’s one that I hope more and more people listen to in the days to come. This is an example of the importance of perspective.

Today, I just want to send out love to this world of ours. That’s it. I know, a tad cheesy Mal, but I can’t say much else and yet I want to recognize yesterday’s tragedy and those that have come before it and that will, sadly, come after. I don’t know how effective it is, but it’s really all I’ve got to give. Outside of debates, outside of politics, outside of protests and vigils, outside of actions and reactions, I’ll share my love and hope that it tips the scale for good, towards more good.

Pretty things

July 7, 2016

PicMonkey Collage

Whenever Etsy’s email arrives in my inbox, I get a little excited. I love me some eye candy, and who doesn’t? Here are some of the pretty things I’ve come across over the past week from Ottawa, the rest of Canada and around the world. They might serve you as home decor or fashion inspiration, and even inspire a little shopping in you. Enjoy the browse.



Open Fire

open fire

Rare Specimens

rare specimen

Maderacraft Handmade


Lola Donoghue

lora donahugh

Blisscraft & Brazen


Coral + Cloud


Rowan Studios

Rowan Studios

Jenny Rijke

jenny rijke

Brown Bag Vintage

brownbag vintage


pepin montreal

Gen Woo



We Are Stories

we are stories

What sets Canadian designers apart?

June 30, 2016


Group shot of INLAND spring 2016 designers with founder Sarah Power. Photo courtesy of INLAND.

John Lennon asked us to imagine a world where there were no countries. Countries have borders and borders separate us. Sometimes, when we’re separated from each other, when we think and feel differently from each other, it gives us cause to misunderstand each other, to judge, even to hate each other. I think what Lennon was really asking us to do is imagine a world where there was no hatred and prejudice, country or no country.

Countries aren’t the problem, it’s how we as people react to our differences whether they’re with our neighbours, other cities, provinces and other nations. Canada is a country that has done a pretty good job of being inclusive and welcoming despite being a country and having borders and all of those potentially dividing elements. The majority of Canadians embrace each other’s differences and I’d argue that these differences are a part of what make us Canadian.

I hope for a future in which everyone around the world can celebrate differences more, embrace them and hold each other up rather than be threatened by each other. So this post is about celebrating Canadian designers, all of their differences and what they have in common. Tomorrow is – after all- Canada Day, and although some say it goes against our humble, Canadian nature to be proud of our accomplishments at times, the design talent in this country needs our support and deserves our support. If each country empowers its designers in their efforts to make positive change in the world, that change will come true and we as a whole planet will be better off for it.

No one knows this better than Sarah Power, founder of INLAND, a popular showcase of great Canadian design now in its second year with a growing roster of 65 designers and counting. I’ve referred to INLAND’s list of designers often when looking for new Canadian talent to consider for EITHER/OR. It’s been a great resource! INLAND is Power’s way of promoting more responsible consumerism in the hopes of preserving our Canadian culture and our planet. In celebration of Canada Day, Power shared with us her thoughts on Canadian design and some of her favourite labels.  Read More

Ingenuity will save #smallbusiness

June 22, 2016


A global shift

Our world is currently in a significant transit phase. Every aspect of society, from the economy to the environment is up for discussion and disruption. Change is everywhere, in technology, communication, politics, art, design, transportation, industry and fashion. It seems that we have collectively but perhaps unconsciously agreed to work towards a more sustainable, ethical, mindful global society, but this transformation doesn’t come without its growing pains.

One example of this is in retail: online and in person. Come this fall, I’ll officially be a small business owner. With this title comes the responsibility of representing other small business owners and sharing in their struggles and triumphs. But in this age of e-commerce, in which EITHER/OR will be deeply embedded as an online shop,  the ties between brick and mortar stores and online ones are a little shaky and some store owners are wary of e-commerce and its effect on in-store business. This is a valid concern that the online and offline shopping communities should address together in consultation with buyers. Read More

#MadeinFrance fashion line is sublime

June 21, 2016

Until I transition this blog to the shop’s on EITHER/OR, my posts will be a bit all over the place. I’ve morphed EF into a melting pot of posts about sustainable small business how-to’s; sustainable fashion issues; profiles on emerging eco-fashion brands and work-life balance.

I hadn’t featured an international, ethical label in a while and then (POUF!) Paris-based Les Sublimes touched base a few weeks back to say hello and let me know that they’re launching their inaugural #MadeinFrance collection today via their Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.

Despite the fact that my shop will feature Canadian-made and -designed fashion, it’s important to highlight the efforts of designers and brands from around the world to build a more ethical and sustainable fashion industry. Read More

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