New Calgary consignment store caters specifically to men

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When it comes to shopping, consignment stores have never been my first thought but one local Calgary boutique is changing my shopping thought process.

Rhoda’s Consignment in Okotoks and Expressions by Rhoda in Calgary offer high-end, quality consignment finds. I want to place the emphasis on the quality as this is of utmost importance to owner Kristin Halpape who has been in the consignment business for 10 years.

11845096_696810333783312_871339050610102010_oKristin has two successful women’s stores and wanted to give the men in Calgary their own opportunity to shop consignment. Her newest store, Man of Distinction offers men in Calgary great brands and quality in an environment focused on their specific shopping needs. There doesn’t appear to be anything else like it in the city.

When I walked into the brand new store, just a few doors down from the ladies consignment I was hugely surprised. No one would think for a second that this is a consignment store. Everything is laid out in such an organized way to ensure that all of the pieces are visible when you walk in and there isn’t much need to sift through things.

Pam Sullivan has worked at Expressions by Rhoda Consignment in Aveneida for over two years. She says they take pride in accepting quality goods to consign.

“Kristin has an eye for style and design which is reflected in the look and feel of the stores, this makes Distinction a unique store in Calgary that the men are ready for,” Pam says. “In the store you will find a BSA motorcycle and vintage wagon on display among the designer jeans and unique t-shirts.” 11728737_690712081059804_1611550505374997048_o

The store is designed specifically for men so they can shop easily for what they want.

“Distinction is very much display oriented which makes the shopping experience easier and more enjoyable for men,” Pam explains. “Men are usually looking for a specific item and are in and out of the store, while women like to take their time, browse and look for the treasure whether it’s a designer purse or the perfect pair of jeans.”

The new store opened up in July and is offering name brand men’s fashion at a fraction of the price. They also offer quality consigned boys clothing.

If you are interested to consign clothing you can expect a 40 per cent return if it sells but you’ll probably be spending that money on all of the great pieces you find at the store.

At each of the stores, they try to rotate the items with the seasons and stick to two main seasons of rotation, fall/winter and spring/summer so you can expect to see different styles with the changing seasons. Like with her other stores, Kristin wants to emphasize style and quality. There is a big distinction between a consignment store and a thrift store.

11856274_700475090083503_8722460128127902766_oIf you haven’t considered consignment as an option for your wardrobe before, there are many benefits beyond the reduced cost. According to an article by Mother Earth Living Magazine, consignment shopping has more benefits for you than just being more cost effective. It can also reduce your environmental impact and limit toxins in your wardrobe because used clothes have already been washed a few times. You can read the full article, here.

Kristin would like to continue to grow Man of Distinction and expand the mix of high quality, current men’s style of consignment mixed with new lines of apparel perhaps starting with shoes.

For more information on Man of Distinction or any of the stores mentioned you can visit the website.

And be sure to follow Man of Distinction on Instagram @distinction_consignment

Or on Facebook 

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Q & A WITH LOCAL JEWELRY DESIGNER AND OWNER OF SALT WATER TEA

LOCAL JEWELRY DESIGNER, NICOLE BRACEY TALKS LOCAL FOOD, EVERY DAY INSPIRATION AND OF COURSE HER AWESOME DESIGNS

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A few months ago, a friend and I were browsing through a local, independent market in the city called Market Collective. The market occurs on one weekend every two months and its purpose is to promote local arts and culture, and to engage and empower the community towards positive growth. The market has grown over several years and you can find many local artists, designers and food vendors sharing their products with Calgarians in the three day event. It really is where Calgary’s local art and culture collides for three days and it showcases some amazing local business owners. If you haven’t been, I would highly recommend it.

It was at this Market Collective, back in March, that the Salt Water Tea booth caught my eye. I had been curiously perusing the many isles of handmade goods going back and forth, telling myself I could look but really didn’t need to buy anything, except, well maybe coffee, that was a must. After scanning some of the jewelry booths, something caught my attention at one in particular.

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I have always loved the natural look and had a sincere appreciation for jewelry with stones and subtle statements. Nicole Bracey, local Calgary designer and owner of Salt Water Tea jewelry had such an elegant display and her agate pieces on simple chains really grabbed my attention. It was a tough decision but I finally made up my mind. Now, the piece I bought a few months ago (pictured above) from Nicole is a staple in my every day outfits, no matter if I am going to work or just to the grocery store.

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I think it is so awesome, the great talent and culture that is present in Calgary, and I wanted to share a little bit about Nicole and her designs.

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Nicole Bracey, designer and owner of Salt Water Tea started her business in 2014. She graduated from the Alberta College of Art and Design with a degree in fine arts in 2013, with a major in drawing. Originally, Nicole had started out sharing her drawings and sculptural work but decided she wanted to take the leap and get back into jewelry. Her designs can now be found locally and in various stores in Canada as well as on her Etsy store. 

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Q & A WITH NICOLE BRACEY, DESIGNER AND OWNER OF SALT WATER TEA

To start, a few fun questions to get to know Nicole:

Q: What is the first app you check in the morning? Instagram, Facebook, Email, Etc. and why?

A: Definitely email. I’m always checking to see if any new markets have sent out vendor calls, or if any other opportunities have presented themselves.

Instagram comes next. It is such a great networking opportunity. I check for markets and check and see what my fellow artists and friends are up to!

Q: Favourite restaurant in Calgary? 

A: Dairy Lane Cafe! My boyfriend and I go at least once a week.

(I couldn’t agree more! It’s one of my favourites too! Go there!!) 

Q: Favourite travel destination? 

A: My favourite place I’ve been so far is definitely Australia. But, I love going to BC to visit my best friends.

Q: After a long day crafting your jewels, what do you do to unwind or relax? 

A: I binge watch Netflix with a cup of tea and cuddle with my dog!

Now, more about the business and designs:

Q: What is your source of inspiration? 

A: I’m mostly inspired by nature, the mountains and the natural shapes and colours of gemstones.

Q: The name, Salt Water Tea, is there a specific meaning behind it? 

A: Yes! One of the ways you can cleanse gemstones is by steeping them in salt water. (Although I do not recommend this process for your jewelry!)

Q: Can you explain a little bit about the types of jewelry you design and what materials you use? 

A: I like to make jewelry that everyone can wear! I want you to be able to dress it up and down. I want the design to be a little different, something trendy and unusual, but suitable for every day wear. I love using crystals, chunky chain, rope and brass accents to create my pieces!

Q: Do you have any favourite materials to use? 

A: I guess overall I would say gemstones and crystals are my favourite materials. I also tend to go through phases when I work, so each collection is a little different. Right now I’m loving cotton rope!

Q: What started you on the path to designing your own jewelry to sell? Was this a lifelong dream or did you kind of stumble into it?

A: I’ve always made jewelry in some form or another. I have bead work from when I was a little girl. When I went to ACAD I took a few silversmithing classes, but wound up majoring in drawing. After graduating, I did a couple of exhibitions showing some drawing and sculptural work, and I just wasn’t happy. I started expanding back into jewelry and it just clicked for me!

(She is also launching a men’s line, this year!) 

Q: You travel some, to showcase and sell the jewelry you make, are there any favourite spots or markets that you have visited? 

A: I do a lot of markets in Calgary, but I often go to Edmonton for some of their markets including On the Spot Pop Up and this winter I’ll be doing my first Make it, which I’m REALLY excited for! I also recently went to Kelowna for their Craft Culture show, which was a great experience. But, I do I feel super fortunate that we have so many amazing markets here in Calgary, like Market Collective!

Q: Where can people purchase your jewelry? 

A: Online in my Etsy store (saltwatertea.etsy.com), in the Crafted Truck, Peacock Boutique, Rewind and Fallen Angel in Calgary. My designs are also in Make New in Halifax and Olive & Elle in Kelowna! My website also always has an updated list of which market or festival I’m going to be at next as well!

*All photos supplied by Nicole Bracey of Salt Water Tea.