Nestled between the eloquent streets of Mount Pleasant lives a repository filled with many beautiful things. Ranging from charming household items to carefully hand crafted clothing, Much & Little is a place where people come to find what their heart of hearts desire. It’s also one of the places that Vestige calls home.
We spoke to shop owner Sarah Savoy about how feeling boggled down by a lack of creativity led her to her entrepreneurial journey. This is her story.
Sarah of Much & Little in the Meringue Message in a Bottle Tee.
What did you do before Much & Little and what made you want to open your own shop?
Sarah: I did a lot of different things before opening the shop. I worked as an interior designer for several years... then I was a full time yoga teacher for many years after that. A couple years after my son was born I decided to switch things up again. I didn't want to be working full time with a young child, so through some of my design connections I got a part-time gig at an art and custom framing gallery. The work was not challenging however, and I never felt that I had room for any growth or creativity. So I started thinking, and dreaming, and planning and I waited until my son was in school full time. The idea for a shop came about because truthfully, I could not find work in any field that interested me, so out of necessity I had to create something on my own. I felt that I could fill a small hole in the retail market out there, even though I had never worked in retail before. But that's how the seed got planted.
You have a really great collection of beautiful things in your shop. What goes into the curating process? What do you look for in the brands that you carry?
Sarah: Thank you! I look for things that are well-made and timeless in feel rather than overtly trendy. I love natural materials and handcrafted items that are a bit wabi-sabi; things that have some heart and soul to them, if you will. For clothing, I hone in on lines that are not too fussy, that suit Vancouver's casual lifestyle, but are also elegant and have a point of view. I prefer natural materials when possible. I don't buy things that are flash-in-the-pan trendy, as the women who shop for clothes here generally range in their 30's to 60's.
When I select things for the shop, I really like to find out the story behind the products and people who make it. Of course I like beautiful, functional things that uplift you, but for the most part if I believe in something, I really like to support the people behind the products. Many of our items we get straight from the artist/maker/designer and it's this relationship that is important to me. I like supporting people, and if I can do that by selling their products I feel that adds value to the whole retail process. Of course, I follow my own aesthetic, so the products need to fit into the overall vision of the store.
Sales associate and visual merchandiser Kristy in the Vestige Spring Summer 2016 collection. Wearing the Torte Top, Phyllo Jacket and Marzipan Culottes.
What is your overall shop aesthetic?
Sarah: The aesthetic is warm, a bit earthy, a bit vintage. It's natural, bright, approachable. It's quite eclectic now that I think about it, but it's still cohesive. When you don't have unlimited funds to renovate a space and make it entirely your own, you kind of have to let the space morph into what it will naturally be to some extent. I really want the store to feel welcoming and unpretentious, as if you were walking into the home of a childhood friend.
What is the most rewarding part about owning your own business?
Sarah: I love having creative control over things and being able to set my own schedule for the most part. I love the connection I have with suppliers and customers. Being able to freely choose what to buy for the shop is also great, but at the same time everything with the business ultimately rests on my shoulders whether it's a success or a flop, so at times it can be a bit daunting, too!
Vestige Message In A Bottle Tee at Much & Little.
If you could give us one message that inspired you that you would like us to pass on, what would that be?
Sarah: Be courageous but not reckless. Follow your dreams but be grounded and wide awake at the same time. Surround yourself with supportive people on your team. Know when to set boundaries and when to let things go. Work hard and be nice to people.