Monday, April 30, 2012

Many May Wishes

The flowers are growing, tulips blooming and yesterday I tended to the amazing gardens at the arOka VINTAGE boutique. What a blissful way to end the month of April and welcome in all the excitement for May!

We're getting geared up to launch our interactive website this month! A sneak peek is available here but trust me when I say the actual website... AMAZING! With hundreds of furniture & decor rentals being added to the site, featured products from the boutique including new vintage wedding gowns, Heirloom Jewelry and fun finds for the home, the website has been a long time coming! Stay tuned friends!

If you haven't had a chance to come visit our boutique yet be sure to check out our neck of the woods! With spring in the air Port Moody is a great place to check out local shops, amazing eateries and of course stroll along the forest paths while taking in the fresh salty air! We love to serve up a fresh spot of tea on casual week days so let us know you're stopping by and we'll be sure to have the kettle on!

Last but not least there are several upcoming events, announcements and exciting editorials in the works. While I love this blog I ave to admit it is lacking given this hectic time of year. Please keep up to date with us on our facebook page where we post the newest treasures, announcements, great information and of course chat with you our fabulous friends.

Have a most wonderful week!

Creative Curator/Event Stylist

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Summer Bliss on a Rainy Day...

It's mid February, cloudy and of course we are graced with the presence of a misty rain. I personally don't mind because I know it's coming to an end making way for all the lovely colours of spring, my favorite time of year!

I wanted to brighten your day and share some long overdue photos of the beautiful wedding we styled last summer for Sheri & James. The ceremony took place on the gorgeous front lawns of The Fish House in Stanley Park followed by afternoon tea inside with their amazing family & friends.

A huge thank you to Echo Studios Photography for capturing all the little details and special moments of this couples beautiful day. Enjoy!

Thank you Sheri & James for allowing me the pleasure of being part of your most magical day! It was simply amazing! 

Creative Curator

Friday, February 10, 2012

Time to Meet the Team!

Since the conception of arOka several years ago I always knew that the day would come I would be surrounded by like minded, creative geniuses that could nurture this business in every way.

Meet Roberta!

I met Roberta by chance one sunny afternoon last summer when she entered the New Westminster location and asked permission to do some photos of the front window displays. Her blog post about arOka was an amazing interpretation from an artist's point of view, one that made me feel extra lucky to have met her.

Over the last year, Roberta and I have worked on several creative projects together, all the while forming a meaningful, fun and creative friendship that means the world to me. For arOka, Roberta has become the go-to girl for branding, marketing and product development, some of which will be gracing our new location in the coming months.

Roberta's 10 year portfolio of creativity includes working as a product developer, designer and brand strategist in Vancouver for clients such as Lululemon, Bootlegger, the Vancouver Canucks, Urban Barn and multiple Canadian and American Universities. She is additionally the co-owner of Blue Bear Aware, Canada's premiere allergy aware product line and online retail store. In the most recent years, Roberta has helped to pioneer ethical choices in the Canadian fashion industry. Most notably by developing locally made apparel for Plum Clothing that supports several non-profit organizations, and designing for "Me To We", a sustainable and socially responsible product line in partnership with Free the Children.

Guided by a desire to support ethically-conscious creativity, Roberta's addition to the arOka team will allow her to explore her creativity using vintage and upcycled materials in her work as as both a designer and fine artist.

Meet Renee!

I was graced by the presence of Renee and her fiance Luke (now Husband) during a rental consultation last spring. I must say I have had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful couples but these two stole my heart! Renee and I clicked right away and the roster of creativity taking shape for her wedding was magical! We'll share some of her amazing wedding photos another day but for now I will say this... Renee's natural ability to style, produce and create the perfect day is a gift all her own! Don't be surprised if Renee pursues her passion and adds yet another element to the services of arOka! With like minds, it was only fitting that I ask Renee to work along side me in the boutique as well as at upcoming events.

Renee's told me her creative journey started as a little girl writing stories. Over the years she has spent time as a musician, visual artist, writer and cook. She brings a background in visual merchandising to arOka along with strong customer service skills and a cheerful smile that comes straight from the heart.

With a love of old and new, Renee has recently begun a new project that combines her passion for the past: Crooked Peg Design Co. allows well loved furniture to become fresh again. Her hand-finished, one-of-a-kind pieces have classic lines boasting a variety of finishes and fabrics, and are always vintage inspired. Watch for select pieces from Crooked Peg at arOka!

Oh Hello Me!

As both Roberta and Renee can contest, it isn't easy writing a personal bio! As strange as it is to write about myself, I felt it time you learn a bit more about me and the creative journey that brought me to arOka.

From age 10 I was drawing architectural floor plans and 3D renderings of houses and buildings. I had a passion for art, culture and finding beauty in things that weren't always necessarily pleasing to the eye. Since my teenage years, I have been collecting 'found' objects and antiques, reworking and giving new life to furniture, and upcycling all manner of magical finds!

On a professional level, I have worked in many retail environments gaining bounds of customer service, sales, merchandising and management experience. My favorite employer to date: Harley Davidson. It's a long story about my biker days but I will say this: Harley Davidson has a world renowned customer service and management development program that is simply unmatched.

Most recent to arOka, I was the owner of River City ReDesign in Edmonton Alberta, where I lived from 2000 to 2010. RCR allowed my passion for decor, renovation and reworking found objects to become a strong business within the community. RCR had partnerships with major Real Estate companies, developers and was featured in several local magazine articles. When my fiance, daughter and I decided to move back home to the Vancouver area, I closed RCR and went merrily on my way. We are VERY happy to be home!

Fast forward to today– I am proud owner of arOka vinTage. With a sentimental attachment to well-made, locally-made and all the glamour of the past, I am truly living out my dream! It isn't an easy business; every piece in the store is hand picked by yours truly which can quickly equate to hundreds of kilometers on the road, sore feet and a few new pairs of shoes! But I love what I do in every way and am so very blessed my friends and family support me each step of the way. With the addition of my darling friends Roberta and Renee, the amazing and unique talents they contribute to arOka, we promise you a year like no other filled with enchanting events, superior products and of course one-of-a-kind flair!

Monday is just around the corner and I still have a million details to complete! We'll be officially open at 11am, 2231 Clarke Street Port Moody BC. We're all very excited to finally introduce you the the house of arOka. Hope to see you soon!!

Creative Curator

Friday, February 3, 2012

Simply Fitting...

I have a 4 year old daughter with a bit of a womanly problem... she LOVES shoes! I know its a common collectible amongst us mature women but a 4 year old?? I too adore them, the quirkier the better, my collection includes bright  pink wedges and classic Mary Janes amongst several other classics. My dream shoe is yet to be invented but I suspect John will be the one to do it! The artistic flair of Vancouver's own Fluevog is an art gallery for any connoisseur!

While at the One of a Kind Show in December I had the pleasure of ogling over the artwork of Robyn Drage. Her limited edition prints are simply fitting for arOka! What girl, women or even 4 year old wouldn't love her amazing collection! 

Robyn's art work is displayed in private and corporate collections worldwide as well as several art galleries throughout Canada. Every piece is unique given the process behind gel transfers and she is definitely a master of her art form! From limited edition block prints to one of a kind greeting cards, Robyn's work will be available at arOka...while it lasts!

Its with great pleasure and pretty shoes that are sure to fit we welcome Robyn! I can't wait to see what inspires her next collection!

Next week will be a frenzy of merchandising and final touches in preparation of opening day February 13th. There's also numerous DIY details & rentals to get together for an amazing wedding I'm styling next Saturday and course another update here in blog world! PHEW!!

So stay tuned! I'll be introducing you to the amazing, talented and oh so vintage loving ladies now part of my team!

Until then have a most amazing weekend!!

Creative Curator

Friday, January 27, 2012

A 1950's Show Tune = Creative Genius!

As an avid collector of fun vintage smalls I've always had a soft spot for pocket watches. These faces of the past tell a million little stories that have been locked in time. So while reading my blog roll a few months back I fell madly in love when I discovered these beauties...

Knowing I just had to have one of my own and they would be the perfect addition to our new location I searched out the creator. Wouldn't you know she was right here in Chilliwack!

Rochelle is the creative mind behind the beautiful jewelry line known as 'Whatever Lola Wants Lola Gets'. From the pocket watch faces to one of a kind jewelry, Rochelle handcrafts each piece using amazing vintage finds and a whole lot of artistic flair!

I'm so excited to visit Rochelle this Sunday at her studio in Chilliwack to finalize our first order! Knowing this blog post was coming first I had to ask her the one big curiosity I have...where did the name come from. Rochelle giggled and told me she named her business after her dog and its also a song from the 1950's film 'Damn Yankees'.  Too cute!

Its has been with great pleasure and excitement to finally introduce you all to Rochell and Whatever Lola Wants Lola Gets! Now I feel like a little girl waiting for Christmas day! Only 2 more sleeps before I get to choose the pieces for arOka!!

Looking forward to more introductions next week! For now I'm off to decorate at arOka... Enjoy the weekend darlings!

Creative Curator

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Vintage, Eco Friendly & One of a Kind... Welcome Pure Magnolia!

A large part of arOka has always been the one of a kind vintage wedding gowns that have stood the test of time. While each and every dress we carry is unique, time and time again they have left me hart broken along side many modern brides when these petite sizes simply didn't fit. I am so excited to announce we now have an amazing alternative!  

Last October Patty of Pure Magnolia contacted me and I went for a visit to her North Vancouver studio. I was over the moon to learn that not only does she design, create and embellish each and every dress with the utmost care she also uses Eco friendly and vintage fabrics in every creation! 

We are so excited to be carrying an exclusive line up of Pure Magnolia dresses - all with vintage flair and custom made to fit every body type! Samples of each dress will be available for viewing, as well as your choice of fabrics, lace, and trims. Patty works with everything from organic cottons and hemps to vintage silks and satins. She even has a large stock of vintage lace to make that truly authentic custom vintage dress. 

For me knowing that they are made in Patty's North Vancouver studio and that she personally oversees each and every creation makes Pure Magnolia a very special addition to our team.

If you haven't filled your weekend with events yet you must check out Pure Magnolia on the runway during Style & Strut at the Sutton Place Hotel this weekend! I also hear that the amazing Randy Fenoli, host of TLC's Say Yes to the Dress and Fashion Director of Kleinfeld New York, will be gracing the crowd with an amazing presentation and a few other VIP treats!

To learn more about Patty & Pure Magnolia please check out her website and like her on  facebook. If you have any questions or would like clarification on the styles exclusive to arOka may I suggest you come take a peek opening day Monday February 13th! You can always send us an email or message us on facebook too. 

Next week I'll be featuring several local artists joining arOka as well as a few more exciting announcements! Our team is growing, there are many introductions to make so stay tuned!

Have a most lovely weekend!
Creative Curator

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Count Down to Relaunch & Feature Artists

The count down is on! We'll be reopening the doors to arOka Monday February 13, 2012 at 11am sharp. Our new address... 2231 Clarke Street in Port Moody. Its been been a frenzy of renovating, painting, decorating, crafting and searching for amazing vintage finds. Our new location is a smidgen smaller but packed full of character! The shopping experience will be heightened with the much anticipated addition of locally crafted wares from some amazing talent here in Vancouver and across our great Country.

Handmade, original upcycled and reworked creations really invoke a feeling of bliss for me. I love being able to touch, feel and admire an original creation plus actually talk face to face with the creative talent behind it. For me its a deep sense of respect - for those who create beauty with much passion.

Over the next few weeks as we count down to the relaunch I'll be introducing you to some of these amazing artists and new friends. Today its my absolute pleasure to introduce our first...      A Cagey Bee.

I fell in love with Kris' work at the one of a kind show last month and just knew you would too! From fine art prints, original paintings to the sweetest lockets and postcards, Kris is a cute maker with a story book flair.

 k.g.b (Kris G. Brownlee)

We're excited to carry Kris' lockets as well as several post cards featuring her cute characters, perfect for every day giving. What could be sweeter than whimsical notes to the ones you love...with a little Cagey Bee flair of course!

I can't say how excited I am to have Kris join us at arOka! If you would like to learn more about Kris and A Cagey Bee check out her websitefacebook page or follow her on twitter.

Stay tuned Thursday for another feature post of a local Vancouver artist... Brides you wont want to miss this one! Until then lovelies!

Creative Curator

Monday, November 28, 2011

Exciting Times Part Two: Where...

If you didn't make in it for our year end sale this past weekend here's the news... we're moving!!

Making the decision to leave our current location was bitter sweet. How could anything compare to the character we currently have? I knew going into Begbie Street it would be a temporary location while we awaited the perfect location to come available on Columbia Street. After six months with no suitable spaces coming available, I started to look elsewhere. Commercial Drive, Gastown and other heritage districts in the GVRD are plentiful but it seemed no matter where I looked there was a major shortage of character space available. Given the nature of arOka I simply refused to sacrifice for anything less.
Life’s funny in so many ways and I am a firm believer everything works out as its supposed to. Call it destiny. The space I was beginning to believe was a figment of my imagination was right in front of me all along and I passed by it every day! So where to? Only the sweetest little character house with a most amazing garden located on Clarke Street in Port Moody’s heritage district!

The house is quaint cozy and full of great character. The exterior is in need of a major colour change (currently a brick red with black accents) but that can wait until spring. Also coming this spring is the blooming of the most magical garden space! A white picket fence, slate patios, arbors, an abundance of perennial gardens and old growth trees surround the new house of arOka. How could I not see the endless possibilities for events and with the blessings of the City of Port Moody we're already in the planning process for this spring! 

February 2012 is the relaunch date for arOka in our new home as well as the long awaited website! Everything you've come to love about us will remain with the addition of some amazing locally made wares and a lot more furniture & d├ęcor for your abode. The rental inventory will be housed in the basement keeping it separated from the boutique, plus it makes for real easy set up of special events in the garden!

For all the brides to be that we are currently working with, rest assured the move will not affect your special day. We're still taking on new customers so feel free to keep in touch via facebook or email. As for the rest of you, I'll miss seeing your smiling faces over the next 2 months! Updates on the renovations, new rental inventory, and special features for some of my favorite businesses will keep you up to date with what's happening. 
So until then my darlings have a most joyous holiday season and we'll see you in February 2012!
Creative Curator 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Exciting Times Part One

We've left our friends on Facebook in the lurch for the past week, posting teasers and carrying on as if we have something to hide. Well we do! While I can't tell you all the goods just yet, I can say this... mark your calendars, free your schedules and get in line November 26th for arOka's biggest sale yet!

A special THANK YOU to my dear friend Roberta
of Inky & Boots for designing our Ad as well as
The Graphics Fairy for the Victorian dress form!

In order to do a  full on inventory count & mark down appropriate pieces we will be closed Monday November 21st all the way through to sale day. If you need us, please email or leave a message at the boutique, we'll be checking communications daily. Now on to the the details! Just what exactly will be in our sale? Take a look for yourself...

All in stock dresses, slips & petticoats

Ephemera (antique & vintage papers)

Hats & headpieces

Jewelry & glamour items

Purses & accessories

PLUS ++++++ Many of our rental inventory items will be cycled through once again to make room for next year's inventory! These are highly collectible, one of a kind antiques & vintage decor items. If you came to the Summer sale rest assured this one will far surpass your expectations! And in case you aren't already a fan of arOka on Facebook we suggest you click that little thumb in the upwards position because you'll automatically save 20% off ANY purchase on sale day! Now do the math with me... most items in the store will be 20% off (clearly marked my dears because as with any sale some exceptions do apply ;) PLUS an additional 20% off for Facebook fans... that's 40% OFF!! Excited yet? We are!!

Now keep in mind that this is one day only, Saturday November 26th from 11am to 4pm. As with our last sale there are no holds, layaways and everything is sold on a first come first served basis. We accept Visa, MasterCard, Debit and cash. I must clarify this is NOT a Christmas sale & you won't be seeing that holiday emphasized throughout the boutique. It's not that we're Bah Humbug! Simply put we have been bustling around heavily preparing for a second MAJOR announcement coming the first week of December. Hey you never know maybe we'll spill some beans on you at the sale! All I can say for now is Exciting Times Part Two is EPIC! Ok now look what I did! I'm off to wash my mouth with soap. To me 'epic' equals all sorts of terrible images of Charlie Sheen! Geeeez!

Have a wonderful weekend my darlings, stay safe in this crazy snow and we'll see you next weekend!

Creative Curator