7 Local Store Owners Share How Their Moms & Motherhood Inspire Their Work

Bren Gauthier, owner of The Lake. Photo by Arden Wray

In lieu of Mother’s Day, we reached out to local shop owners and asked them to share their stories of how their moms, or being a mother, has influenced their work and brands.

From forging businesses together to lessons they want to pass on, here is what they had to say.

CAMBIE

cambie
Camille Byrne and her mother

Who: Camille Byrne, owner of CAMBIE, an online home decor retailer that believes interiors should be interesting and engaging. The brand strongly encourages mindful shopping and thoughtful decorating, and all of the objects at CAMBIE have been crafted and curated with this in mind. The signature blankets are custom made exclusively for Cambie in a family-owned and run textile factory based in Lima, Peru.

On how her mother inspires her work:

“My creativity and artistic side certainly comes from my mother and my mother’s family. Growing up, I admired her care for how she presented herself, her style and the objects she chose to bring into our home. Also being Peruvian, my mother exposed me to a world of colour, unique artisanal creations and culture. I am grateful for having inherited my mother’s creative eye and appreciation for beauty, which has also inspired my work with CAMBIE, an online store best known for its Peruvian home goods.”

The Lake

the-lake-bren-gauthier
Bren Gauthier, photo by Arden Wray

Who: Bren Gauthier, owner of The Lake, an online boutique with a mission is to change the conversation around pleasure by creating an open and comfortable space to discover products designed to heighten intimacy with your own body and sensual self.

On how motherhood inspires her work:

“The Lake is all about exploring mindful ways to connect and care for yourself through simple acts that bring you pleasure. As a new mom, I know this is easier said than done! Motherhood has shown me how deep a love can go but pouring everything you have into nurturing others can come at the expense of self-care and tenderness for yourself. Through The Lake, I want mothers to be reminded that they are whole beings who deserve moments of pleasure to restore and maintain their wellbeing.”

ARMED

desiree-girlato-armed
Desiree Girlato and her mom

Who: Desiree Girlato, owner of ARMED, a jewellery and accessories line with a mission to arm its wearers with confidence and make every day an occasion to wear beautiful pieces.

On how her mother inspires her day-to-day:

“My mom’s spirit, strength, and endless love is what keeps me going. She’s the ultimate cheerleader and always has something positive to say to build me up.”

CLEMENTINE’S

CLEMENTINE'S Christina - Kelly
Christina and Kelly McDowell

Who: Christina and Kelly McDowell, the mother-daughter team behind CLEMENTINE’S, a luxury boutique that features womenswear brands like Vince, Helmut Lang, Narces, and more.

On working together:

“Regardless of how close your relationship is, working together brings out challenges in any relationship, let alone mother and daughter. We’ve used those challenges to enhance the end result by appreciating our different points of view. We’ve learned how to resolve these issues without hurting our relationship. That’s mostly about respecting each other’s opinion.” — Christina McDowell

On inspiring one another:

“Kelly has many strengths, but hands down it has to be her natural ability to be positive, regardless of the situation. I have admired this energy and am inspired by it every day. Whether it’s with clients, vendors, or myself, it’s always a pleasure to be around.” — Christina McDowell  

“Christina is truly an expert. She just knows. It’s an amazing thing to watch and learn from. She’s confident, strong and fun — which her incredible list of loyal clients can attest to.” — Kelly McDowell

Love Me Do Baby & Maternity

love-me-do-linda-prangley
Linda Prangley and her mother, Linda and her daughters

Who: Linda Prangley, owner of Love Me Do Baby & Maternity, an independent baby, prenatal, and postnatal boutique and community hub that caters to small space dwellers in the city.

On how her mother influences her work:

“My mom has instilled in me from a young age that less is more and always quality over quantity. Having grown up in Hong Kong where space is a premium, we’ve always been taught to buy carefully and thoughtfully. This approach is very much the ethos at Love Me Do. We do our best to vet every item that we bring to our customers. Rather than make a quick sale, we would sooner advise a customer to take some time to think about a purchase and make sure that it’s the right fit.”

On the lessons she hopes to pass onto her daughters:

“What my professional life has taught me thus far and what I want my daughters to know is that it’s good to be generous with your heart. It’s okay to go above and beyond what is asked or expected of you. And it’s okay to go out of your way to be kind to someone who doesn’t seem to be kind at first. It’s good to try and connect with someone who doesn’t share the same approach or perspective as you. What you get out of being generous and genuine will make you a better, fuller person even if it means making you feel more vulnerable.”

Thursdays

gillian-piltz-thursdays
Gillian Piltz and her mom, Rita Benzacar

Who: Gillian Piltz, co-owner of Thursdays, an independent womenswear boutique run with her mom and uncle that drops new releases every Thursday.

On working with her mother:

“I am blessed to have been raised by an amazing role model. After working together full-time for about two years now, I knew my mother worked hard but now I can truly appreciate how hard. Her positive attitude, strength, and creativity inspire me every day to work even harder. Everything I have learned about the business and life I owe to her.” 

Articles You Might Be Interested In
45 Flower Delivery Options In Toronto & The GTA
10 Toronto Restaurants Offering Mother’s Day Specials
10 Places To Get Mother’s Day Gift Delivery In Toronto
How 8 Toronto Small Businesses Are Getting By During The COVID-19 Crisis
The 10 Best Toronto Stores To Shop For Mother’s Day