A Day In The Life: Pieces of My Day
Written by Barb MacKenzie // @pieceonpeace
It’s Tuesday morning and I am on my way to my boutique with a sewing machine in the trunk. Tuesdays are usually quiet. I am tired of doing paperwork and like any artist, I am looking for time to create.
Today, I am moving my sewing machine back into the store.
Hello, my name is Barb McKenzie. This past fall, I opened a local market boutique called Piece on Peace, in a quirky strip-mall in Spruce Cliff. Piece on Peace is a sustainable, ethical boutique that is mindful of its customers, local art and the environment. While this is a new retail space for us, we have been in business for two years selling our wears at local markets. We still love going to markets but we have closed our online store!
Yes, I know you are shocked that we closed our online store. We hear that a lot. But we are embracing simpler times, where you can still window shop, have a conversation and dream.
I don’t want people to come in and feel like they must impulsively buy. I want them to think about what they would like to purchase – to touch, to smell and to sample our products.
We also love to tell the story of the products we sell and the artists who craft them. And one of my favourite stories comes all the way from Paris.
I am always sourcing fabrics and sometimes it is golden. When the grandchildren of an owner of a textile mill were cleaning out their grandparents home after they passed away, they went to the basement and in the corner, were found original rolls of burn-out silks from the 1930s. Now these fabrics were too delicate to use, so the grandchildren did a very small reproduction of the prints. With this fabric, I made beautiful panel dresses, kimonos and fun bomber jackets. Talk about wearable art!
I was also thrilled to donate fabric remnants of these silks to Theatre Junction GRAND’s La Nuit Sauvage: The Dream Factory, this past April.
Sorry lost track on where I was, yes, the sewing machine. I pulled my sewing machine out of the trunk and lugged it into the store. Bringing my 28-year old Pfaff back to the store is a big deal. While I sew and design clothing, I make the samples and have seamstresses make the beautiful pieces we sell. In other words, my sewing is far from perfect. My seams are never in a straight line, and between bobbins, fabric and thread, I get stuff everywhere!
Still, I know the perfect place to put my machine. A Feng Shui consultant has recently helped me rearrange the store. The front corner of the store has all my own designs, and I love looking at the silk tunics hanging along that wall. Right in that front corner is the large window, where the sun comes streaming in. This is going to be perfect for me to get lost in the reams of fabric.
But this isn’t a regular Tuesday – the community is bustling. A local school group walks by and comes in to say hello. The owner of the Pie Junkie surprises me with a warm quiche, to match my perfect cup of tea, and customers are popping in to browse our latest creations. One lady tries on one of my creations, a vest. My vests are designed to be mindful of a women’s body. The style of the pinstriped fabric and the leather colour look beautiful on her. Another customer pops in to pick up her order of Thieves Oil – a product that literally wards off germs. And another customer comes in to find the perfect bed linens to freshen up her bedroom for the spring.
It’s 5:00pm, and time to go home. I never did get the sewing machine into the window, but there is always tomorrow…
Barb opened her business Piece On Peace over two years ago. Originally the company was named Sundara Lotus, which means beautiful flower, but was later changed to Piece on Peace. In the beginning, Barb set up booths at local markets where she sold only handmade goods. In her earlier years, she loved creating and making clothes for herself and friends, which led her to a fashion program at the John Casablancas Institute.
Design and creation was, and remains, about the piece – whether it is a jacket, dress or an accessory. Barb is a lover of textiles and this passion grew as she began to understand how a fibre became a textile.
Piece on Peace is a company that is conscious of what all fashion lines in the store represent. Barb takes the time and care to learn about each company and artisan; is mindful of customer’s needs and wants; and cares for the environment. Barb is a mom, wife, friend and a committed community member.
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