Guildhall Home is a new home goods store located in Inglewood, Calgary. I first found them through their gorgeous images on instagram, and have since spent some time coveting all of the highly edited, thoughtfully designed pieces they carry. With the goal of making the mundane details of everyday enjoyable, I love that they carry things like dish scrubbers, dusters and phone chargers. They of course also carry the high end bigger pieces all homes need, like furniture, bedding utensils, and other textiles. We got the chance to chat with the owner, Carey, about why he opened Guildhall, what his goals are, and the ups and downs of owning a business in Calgary.
Before opening Guildhall, Carey says he has dreamed of a space like this for a long time. He has always be interested in design, and received his Masters in Industrial Design here in Calgary. While it was hard to find a job in that area here in Calgary, he had retail experience. He was inspired to open the shop after traveling the world and spending time living in London, England for three years. While traveling he came across some of the more established home goods brands that he now carries, and was inspired by the craftsmanship, history and lifestyle these brands signified.
Carey says that Guildhall is very much inspired by Scandinavian culture regarding home life and material goods. He believes that in this, the design of the home and it's goods are thoughtfully, holistically considered and integrated into everyday lives. Each and every object has a purpose, is built to last, and helps us to connect with both our environment and the people in our home. He believes that the home has "the capacity to improve our lives in ways we may not perceive" and that we can "use the everyday to improve our quality of life". To do this, he believes that rather than buying things that are disposable, people need to really consider the things that they are bringing into their home. Do they have a story? Are they built to last? Do they serve a purpose as well as bring you joy? Do they actually improve the quality of your life, or are you buying something just to buy it?
The aesthetic of both the shop and the goods he carries feels very different from many other shops in Calgary. I personally find it to be refreshing in it's minimalism and simplicity - it is what first drew me to it. Carey says that many of the brands he carries have a European, Scandinavian or Japanese design, and that he prefers items that are both simple and refined in material, form and construction. He says that every item in the shop is built to last. Guildhall carries items from brands with a storied history as well as emerging young designers. Here you can find handmade brushes by Bürstenhaus Redecker, a company that has been crafting them for 75 years, as well as collaborations with local Calgary businesses. Regardless of the brand, each piece has a story and an attention to detail that inspires one to slow down and appreciate the things they surround themselves with everyday.
For Carey, the ultimate purpose of Guildhall is to build a community. Whether this is by connecting with people who come into the store, supporting emerging artists and designers, or registering the space as an alternative to galleries, he believes that community is what is important. By moving away from consumerism and purchasing handmade or thoughtfully crafted, sustainable goods, he says that people are making a purchase that gives back to the community. We are investing in culture, history and art - the things that improve our quality of life - rather than throwing it away.
With every business comes struggles and successes. Carey says that he is constantly redefining what success means to him, but that he is learning to define it in smaller, more realistic goals. While he says it is hard to not compare your successes with both others and the "shoulds" that society sets for us, he has learned that it is important to celebrate the small successes. While he does focus on long term goals, this helps him to stay motivated. For him, family and friends are the most important thing in this life, and that their emotion and physical support is what makes Guildhall possible. The struggles come with marketing, and finding the balance between letting the space grow organically while gently pushing it out there.
I asked him what his advice was for people who want to start investing in objects that will last, as many are much more expensive than the cheap products we are used to. His response? "Do things slowly. Invest in what you can, when you can." That is something I also strongly believe in, and the way I have been slowly switching the objects in our home over to handcrafted, heirloom pieces. Thoughtfully and intentionally, the way life in general should be lived.