A Quick Chat with Coal Miner's Daughter
We had the chance to catch up with the women behind the Toronto boutiques Coal Miner's Daughter. Janine Haller and Krysten Caddy share their tips on shopping local, work/life balance and being entrepreneurs. With 3 shops in the west end of the city, these women are an inspiration to living your dream job and building something from the ground up.
1/ Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
Janine: I’m Janine Haller, co-owner of Coal Miner's Daughter and designer and maker of the clothing label "Haller”.
Krysten: My name is Krysten and I'm co-owner at Coal Miner's Daughter. I did most of my growing up in Orangeville before moving around a lot and finally settling down in Toronto. I've been living in my current neighbourhood (Junction Triangle/Bloordale) for the last 9 years and love it here, plus I'm within biking distance to all three shops!
2/ What is something surprising about you that most people don't know?
J: I have a degree in Anthropology.
K: I was a Pillow Fight League World Champion (with a championship belt n' all). Seriously.
3/ What was the inspiration or moment of realisation for opening your shop?
J: For me it was just that moment we signed our first lease, it was the moment things went from being ideas to reality. I just remember that excited feeling, like "Yes! We are gonna do this!”
K: The idea to partner together and open CMD came on quite suddenly. I had a business plan for a slightly different business, but then after talking with Janine, something was just telling us to do it together. We both really believed in supporting small indie designers and we wanted to be part of it. It just clicked like it was meant to be.
4/ How do you manage 3 stores as two people? Do you have any entrepreneurial advice?
J: Krysten and I rely on each other 100%. We have different strengths and we each do what comes naturally to us, but we also remain open to learning about new areas of the business and are willing to take on a challenge. Somehow between the two of us we seem to have all the bases covered.
My advice to any entrepreneurs would just be to stay open and to stay positive. It can be overwhelming having to wear so many different hats as an entrepreneur but if you can look at each new challenge as an opportunity to learn something new about your business than there are no wasted efforts. In the end every new thing you try just adds to your knowledge and expertise.
K: We've built a strong team of passionate people who want to see the business succeed, and that's been so helpful. You need to be able to trust and rely on other people, you can't do it all by yourself. In terms of advice I'd say you need to always remember to stay flexible, things can change fast and you have to roll with it and not get stalled if something isn't working. One of my favourite pieces of advice came from, believe it or not, Russel Brand and I try to live by it daily, "live in the moment and always be changing".
5/ How do you make time for yourself as busy entrepreneurs? Any tips for busy moms and working women?
J: I just take every moment as it comes. I don't usually have long chunks of time off so I've learned how to make the most of every little break i get. A night out with friends or an afternoon spent doing nothing in the backyard is all I need to recharge.
That would be my tip for busy moms too, just try to be able to recognize those rare quiet moments when they come and enjoy them. Sometimes things seem to be moving so fast but when things slow down just be in that moment and make the most of it. Also, don't be too hard on yourself. It's ok if after working all day the dishes don't get done or the toys don't get picked up (or the beds don't get made or the laundry doesn't get done etc. etc….)
K: I'll let Janine take this one.
6/ Do you have any advice for shopping local?
J: Just get out there and ask lots of questions and try lots of things on. In a shop like ours we know our products inside out and are so happy to share everything we know about our designers. It's what we do and what we're passionate about so we want to share it with everyone.
K: It's becoming easier than ever before to source amazing local goods as a shopper. I love reading Blog.to and NOW Magazine for the scoop on new designers and arts markets and shops around the city that specialize in local designers and makers. If you're not in Toronto try to find an equivalent version of these blogs and mags to source local makers markets and shops in your area.
7/ What are you loving right now in clothing design or jewellery?
J: I’m loving the creativity. There's a bit of an "anything goes" feel right now that I love. Loose, tight, short, long, there's a bit of everything so you can really find what works best for you. Personally right now I am loving loose fitting breezy clothes in colourful prints.
K: I love how just about anything goes these days and even "office work clothes" are allowed to be more exciting. Our customers range from lawyers to illustrators to students and I love working with them to style the same items so differently to suit their personal style and lifestyle. We love the concept of day to night to weekend, so clothing that doesn't have one single purpose. Wear a pretty dress to a wedding with heels and then out for a Sunday picnic paired with your favourite sneakers. Why not?
8/ What's the best style tip you've ever given or received?
J: To always be yourself. If you feel good in something and someone else doesn't like it, that's their problem!
K: I love this one by Coco Chanel, “Fashion changes, but style endures.” It's a good reminder not to get too caught up in current trends and dress how you truly want to dress. Focus on your personal style and ask yourself what that looks like. Don't be afraid to break the rules.
9/ What is your favourite product from the Clementine Fields shop?
J: I LOVE the W3ll People Capitalist Mineral Brow Pigment. It's so easy to apply and looks really natural.
K: I have a bunch, but my two favourites would have to be the Pai Geranium and Thistle Moisturizer (it smells so good!) and the Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil, which is very calming and luxurious feeling on the skin, and I think it's even helping to reduce how visible a big scar on my cheek is.