This season we're taking a slow step into an exciting new partnership with our friends abroad. Enter our newly-launched shop-in-shop at Umeboshi. The Vancouver boutique is most prominently known for its thoughtful selection of footwear and accessories, thus making it the perfect opportunity to join forces and offer select Coclico styles to our Canadian fanbase. To celebrate this momentous launch, we visited Umeboshi's talented owner Stephanie Gorrell, who sat down (to try on some of our Spring styles) and discussed her approach to curation, style in Vancouver, and the inspiration behind our collaboration.
Hello, I'm Stephanie, the founder and director of Umeboshi. I was born in Vancouver and consider myself a true west-coaster. I have worked in retail since my early teens both here and abroad. I spent my early twenties living in London with many trips to Europe. I loved the constant buzz of such a vibrant city. There was so much to explore and experience; it was a very exciting and inspiring time. The idea for Umeboshi stemmed from this time in Europe and all the cultural experiences I had. I had always wanted to be an entrepreneur, having worked primarily for small businesses; I knew I wanted to work for myself and run my own company one day.
I opened Umeboshi's doors a few years after returning home from Europe. I really missed living in London at the time; along with the ease and opportunity to visit various parts of Europe, however, it soon felt good to be home. I live in East Vancouver, now with my beautiful family - my husband Hugh and our three-year-old toddler Rowan. For the time being, we can't imagine living anywhere else. Life is definitely very busy as a working mama! Although the reality of trying to achieve a work/family balance is becoming more elusive each day, motherhood has truly been the best thing that has ever happened in my life.
Umeboshi has definitely shaped my values as a consumer, my ideals, conversation around business ethics and endless desire to support the small business community. Over the years I've become much more thoughtful with my ambition. It can be challenging to keep perspective; business realities are constantly shifting. I've learned the need to adapt and be more comfortable with the highs and lows.
A Unique Quality
I define quality as items that are made to last from beginning to end - thoughtful design, functionality, well-sourced materials, detailed execution and beautifully crafted. When curating the shop, I look for independent designers and brands that inspire me. Those that have a story or history to share, values I admire. Pieces that hold value for not only their design and quality but because they are timeless and will endure. Coclico ticks all these boxes and more. They seek the highest standards of ethical and environmental responsibility, are dedicated to sustainable fashion, and embrace subtle beauty combining modern minimalism with traditional quality.
Umeboshi x Coclico
We have carried Coclico in the shop since I opened the doors 12 years ago and I have built up a really good customer base for the brand over the years. I have always been very loyal to the brand with Coclico having a strong presence in the shop. Our relationship has evolved to one of trust, mutual respect, and admiration which is fundamental in any partnership. We thought of how we could grow business together by offering Umeboshi's customers a much broader assortment of the collection and how Coclico could expand business in the Canadian market with the Coclico Canada website and online store. Canadians can now shop the collection with no duties and free shipping in Canada. I'm most excited about the sheer size of Coclico styles we have in the shop! I'm thrilled to offer such a considerable selection and to have the opportunity to reach a wider audience. I'm also inspired to work with the incredible women behind Coclico.
There's definitely a growing awareness of sustainability, in lowering the impact on the environment and a shift to choose more thoughtfully. Vancouver has a real entrepreneurial spirit, and there's a lot of support amongst the independent design community. My favorite aspect of the lifestyle in Vancouver is living in a proper city with such proximity to nature. I can escape to the forest or find a secluded spot on the ocean in under half an hour!
A Style Story
The Coclico assortment covers everything regarding styles! From effortless slides and mules, elegant sandals, pretty pumps, glamorous garden party heels to minimal yet detail-driven flats and architectural wood heels. All the cornerstones of Coclico are present in this collection - modern, minimal, clean lines and neutral palette with some added pops of color, intricately detailed metallics and the most luxurious texture cut nubuck. What I love most about the styles that are exclusive to the shop is that they are simple, modern and versatile. I love the black texture cut leather on Bask, and the color of Bali Hai is very pretty. They are both the perfect summer shoe for day to night wear.
I'm hoping just to enjoy the warmer weather and sense of renewal that spring brings. I plan to spend as much time as I can outside taking advantage of longer days. It's my favorite time of year for picnics when everything is in bloom, and it's so green. My goal is to lay under a tree with a glass of wine, and a read a book, something I haven't done since my little one was born!
I have a very special heirloom piece of jewelry, a ring that was my mother's. She passed away when I was eight years old, so it holds a lot of sentimental value. I'm told I look just like her and that we have the same hands. The ring fits on my finger perfectly.
Photos by Gillian Stevens for Coclico