I knew of Kenzie Conrad through the wonders of Social Media, of course, we all have those people we "know" through the digital magic of our smart phones and endless feeds. We had been following each other for quite some time when I saw this gorgeous fabric swatch for a dog bed that she posted and I instantly reached out so I could get my paws (punt intended) on it. Ella was needing a new bed for our main floor after ripping it open accidentally when she went to lay down and did her ritual of “fluffing up” but with a little too much claw than paw. Woops! (Maybe she just wanted a nicer bed…)
Once the bed was ready, I was so over-the-moon with how well it was made and instantly loved connecting with Kenzie in person. Although I was frantically trying to get to my yoga class, I knew instantly that I wanted to feature her amazing work and talent.
I love small business owners, not just because I AM one but because they have so much heart and passion for what they do. Kenzie is just that- full of heart but she is also unique with her creations. She brings something new to home decor and a little spunk to Calgary with her designs. I also love her involvement with supporting local shelters by donating a portion of her earnings from her dog beds. Not only was I supporting a local business but I was also supporting a local shelter that needed assistance and that just sweetened the deal!
As we head quickly in to the last few weeks of holiday (slightly panicked) shopping, I encourage everyone to shop local! Support small business and support local charities or foundations that are close to your heart. Turn off your computer and instead get out in to the local shops and markets to find those you love something unique and special. You’re not only supporting young creatives but you support our city, support our culture and arts, and get to meet some pretty cool people doing amazing things!
Photos were taken at Dawn Bradley Hair Studio in Calgary.
Meet kenzie conrad
First off, tell us about yourself in 100 words or less.
My name is Kenzie and I am the jack of all trades behind Milk & Honey! I am a lover of all things kitschy and I put hot sauce on just about everything. I am vegetarian, straightedge and truly believe laughter is the best medicine. I love creating items that make people smile and am a proud crazy cat lady. I only started Milk & Honey six months ago and it has been a crazy but amazing whirlwind. I love meeting new people so please, come and say hi!
What is Milk & Honey YYC and how did it come to be?
I have always been a creative person and only working at my desk job was just not 100% fulfilling. I initially started my account on Instagram to solely promote and share items I loved with others. I have always had a love for home decor and after being inspired by all the amazing creatives I came across, I decided I wanted to create items that people could display in their homes.
How would you describe your brand or aesthetic to someone who has never seen your work?
Modern & kitschy goods for the quirky mind.
How did you become involved with AARCS (Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society)? Are you involved with other shelters or rescues? Was this a spring-board for M&H?
I started volunteering with AARCS as a cat caretaker and helped out at their adoption events. I currently am not physically involved with shelters but I do donate to quite a few very often. Doing something to give back to animal rescues was definitely the first idea that came to my mind when I decided to start making home decor.
Being an advocate for animals, how would you say is the best way to be more involved in our city? And where can someone start if they are interested in helping or giving back?
There are so many great organizations in this city and they are always looking for volunteers. A lot of the organizations have volunteer sign ups on their website. If you're unable to volunteer (or are allergic to animals) you can still help by donating money, food, toys or even old blankets. Most rescues are non-profit and can only afford their supplies and vet bills from donations and fundraisers.
Why animal/critter planters? Where do you find inspiration for your creations?
I honestly got the idea from a ceramic animal planter I saw online. I had a plastic dinosaur that I was using for another project and thought it would make a really cool planter. It exploded from there and anywhere I go now I honestly look at something and think, "Can I cut this random thing open and put a plant inside of it?! Would someone display this in their home? What is a horse shoe? What does a horse shoe do? Are there any horse socks? Is anybody listening to me?"
When you aren’t in the shop making your awesome creations, what are you up to? What’s your favourite go-to spot?
I can usually be found playing video games, snuggling my three cats or having all you can eat sushi with my boyfriend. My favourite go-to spot is probably the arcade at Cross Iron Mills. Nothing quite brings me more pleasure and relaxation than destroying people at games and winning prizes for it.
What can we expect in the New Year for Milk & Honey YYC? New products? Collaborations? Anything on the horizon that you are particularly excited for?
In 2016 my #1 goal is to have my online store up and running. I have a lot of new products I am working on and I am also currently planning a really fun project with a handful of local artists. This project came to mind as a way to give back to our community and I am really excited to share more about it. I'm not going to tell you anything specific about it right now though, you're welcome. ;)
You’re really involved with the local markets and pop-up shops, what drew you to be part of that community? What has that experience been like?
There are so many amazing and talented people in this city, it's hard to not want to support everyone. It's such an awesome sight seeing how many people in Calgary love supporting local. A lot of the vendors selling their goods have quit their day jobs to create full time and it is really inspiring to me. Everyone has been extremely welcoming and helpful since I started M&H. I wouldn't be where I am without the encouragement and support I have received from other small business owners.
If someone wanted to buy your products where can they find you? Online website? Etsy?
You can find me at www.milkandhoneydecor.com! I will also be attending my first ever Market Collective on December 11-13th so stop by and say hello! ***If you are looking for more information on this awesome event, please click here. ***