A couple weeks ago, the StyleDemocracy team had the chance to chat with one of the most inspiring & creative women in the retail industry, Brika co-founder, Jen Lee Koss. For those of you that don’t know, Brika is an online destination for independent designers & artists that specialize in highly giftable products such as home, jewellery, and accessories.

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The company began in an unconventional way when Jen moved to Toronto after graduating from business school. She began to read a lot of blogs and instantly fell in love with the distinctive voice and unique perspective of In Life and In Fashion. “I e-mailed her and was like ‘Hi, you don’t know me – I’m a stalker, but I love your blog and I really want to meet you’,” Jen laughs. The writer turned out to be Brika’s co-founder, Kena Paranjape, and after meeting up they both agreed that they had to do something creative together. And so, Brika was born, “we wanted to create a daily destination site for discerning women who wanted the story behind the product they’re purchasing.”

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Brika is able to differentiate themselves from other online marketplaces by shaping theirs with high-quality curation and by building personal relationships with all of their makers. “All the makers we choose, we interview personally. We get to know them and we know all the (300+) makers in our community very well.” The ability to tell the story of their makers has been evident since the start. A partnership with Madewell last year resulted in trunk shows in Atlanta, Austin, and New York, which gave both consumers and makers a chance to establish deeper connections with each other. From Shana Frase, the first maker to come on board who specializes in water colour paintings to Daniella & Sandrine who they partnered with for the Story Teller series contest (which sent one winner to their studio in Texas to make an exclusive print together), it’s evident that the makers are the heart of the company.

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While Brika does sell creatively crafted products, they also hope to inspire creativity in their consumers – whether it is through their maker’s stories or through their blog. They recently released a FREE e-book called 33 Habits of Highly Creative People, which you can download here. And though they’ve got dozens of projects in the works, right now you can browse their amazing gift ideas for Mother’s Day including special curated gift packages featuring artisan handcrafted goods that get delivered right to your mother’s doorstep and you can visit them in real life at their pop-up shop located in the lower level of the Hudson’s Bay flagship until the end of May!

Learn more about Brika on:

Website | www.Brika.com

Facebook | Shop Brika

Twitter | @ShopBrika

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