Heather Ross – Natural & Eclectic on Fir Street

It’s amazing what inspiration you can find on a walk.

After a lunch date at Salade des Fruits at the French Cultural Centre in Vancouver, I decided to take the long way back to work by walking my lunch date to his office and perusing the neighbourhood a bit. After a quick glance inside a new bakery at Fir and 6th called Beaucoup, I was drawn next door to a boutique and gallery, Heather Ross, Natural Eclectic.

Credit: Heather Ross

Credit: Heather Ross

The moment I walked in, I fell in love with the aesthetic of the space, and then one-by-one with each of the displays as I casually browsed the store. It felt like I was transported to a small shop in Europe.  The pairing of old and new, shiny and rusty, smooth and rough is so thoughtfully done.

Credit: Heather Ross

Credit: Heather Ross

After a few minutes of exploring, I got to chatting with Janet, who was watching the shop for her sister, Heather. Janet spoke of her sister’s work with both pride and passion, pointing out that the artwork on the walls and the photographs for sale were all her sister’s own works. Heather’s paintings hang on the fresh, white walls of the boutique. They are truly beautiful pieces. The light , neutral colour palette was soothing and serene. As Janet pointed out, Heather’s art would fit well in any home!

Heather's sister, Janet, showed me around.

Heather’s sister, Janet, showed me around.

You can tell that Heather has a true eye for the unique. Janet explained that her sister brings back items from travels in Europe. Rusty, old, fabulous coffee grinders from Italy sit atop cabinets, and old gas lanterns are placed on shelves next to china and seashells. Speaking of china, Heather has curated a beautiful mix of old and new ceramics. The store also sells natural and quality bath and body products. I fell in love with the heavy and sturdy furniture her displays sit atop of, shabby, chic and worn by time.

photo (4)

Spot the coffee grinder?

photo (2)

LOVE this table.

photo (3)

I think this was my favourite corner of the shop

Shortly after saying goodbye to Janet and heading back to work, Heather and I connected over Twitter. She very kindly shared some photos of her store and agreed to an interview.

Credit: Heather Ross

Credit: Heather Ross

things i’m loving: Tell me a bit about the inspiration behind your boutique.

Heather: I lived in Paris years ago and loved the charming boutiques that functioned like creative artist ateliers as opposed to just static ‘retail stores’ of new goods or musty old antique stores. I’ve always had eclectic tastes so I decided to open my own gallery/boutique where I could bring together all the things I cherish. I love the thrill of the find, creating vignettes, and enjoy the challenge of business too, so it was just a natural fit for me. Inspiration for the boutique, my art and pretty much everything I do also comes from nature, natural elements and authentic materials like cloth, glass, wood, clay. I love creating serene atmospheric spaces of beauty.

things i’m loving: The store is a great combination of old and new, aged and modern. Where and how do you source the beautiful pieces, particularly the antiques or reclaimed items?

Heather:  I’ve always been a treasure hunter, started hitting garage sales when I was just 14 { don’t really do them anymore, but love flea markets, old thrift stores, auctions, estate sales } During my time living in France I found great sources for antiques at the brocante markets. My sister also lived in Italy, so I’ve spent a lot of time sourcing in Europe. Basically whenever I am road tripping, travelling or just out for a Sunday stroll I’m always searching for a great find. It’s amazing what we can fit into the back of my car! I love to offset old things with the pure simple lines of modern organic forms and evocative art. It’s the alchemy of the mix that makes it interesting to me.

things i’m loving: Do you have a one all-time favourite find?

Heather: Hmm, that’s tough to answer. A favorite find could vary from finding a simple sea urchin on an ocean shore to some great old antiquated objet. I have a pale robins egg blue old carved altar stick in my shop which I adore, it has such a soft lovely patina. I have found and kept old handmade books with pressed botanicals and hand scripted poems ~ those are pretty special. Clearly I am not good at choosing just one item…good thing I have a shop!

things i’m loving: I understand that you recently moved to the Fir @ 6th location. Where was the boutique located before, how long have you been open and why was it time to move?

Heather: For 12 years I had a shop called Heather Ross [ in house ] in South Granville on 6th Ave just between Granville and Fir St. I ‘ve literally just moved 2 buildings over and around the corner, but have gained a whole new audience and clientele such as yourself : ) It was time to freshen up and I wanted to rebrand from my old shop name  to my new brand which encompasses everything I do… heather ross { natural eclectic }. A building was being renovated on the corner near to me, exposing great tall ceilings and cool old industrial beams. When I saw a French Bakery & cafe was moving in and a park was going in across the street, it was just a natural fit. The move was very stressful, there were many delays, I was dealing with a leak in  my old shop too, but in the end so worth it. I’m also more connected now to the new Armoury design district, which is full of great independent design shops, and a little further away from all the big box brands have have started taking over South Granville.

things i’m loving: In addition to running the boutique, you are also a talented painter and photographer. Have you always enjoyed both mediums?

Heather: Thank you Kate. Yes, I love working in both those mediums, professionally and just for myself personally. I work in many mediums actually { hence the eclectic } I studied printmaking, ceramics, textile design and painting for years all the way up and through art school. Variety keeps me creatively stimulated. I don’t think I could ever do just ‘one’ thing.

things i’m loving: What did you do before being a full time entrepreneur and artist? When and how did you decide to start your own company?

Heather: I think is started around age 3 so I can’t remember haha! I have always drawn, painted and been very hands on crafty. Seriously, I started spinning and dyeing my own wool and selling sweaters when I was 15 way before it was cool and trendy like it is now : ) I even made my  own clay buttons. I did work for a fashion designer for about 2 years in my early 2o’s but have been self employed since I was 22. I started my own  company as I couldn’t find anyone I wanted to work for…I just started making and selling things and never looked back. I made handprinted pillows and linens and sold them in finer stores across Canada. I also created custom hand painted fabrics for interior designers. It was very successful but I developed repetitive strain injuries form all the hands on work, 10 years in I couldn’t keep up with the demands. When I returned from a design stint in Paris in the mid 90’s I stated shooting and styling professionally for magazines like Western Living and House & Home, which I still do and love!   So now I do everything..run a shop, paint, shoot professionally, treasure hunt, and basically play house in my boutique almost everyday. Add social media to the mix and you can imagine it’s a full plate. So rewarding and creative though ~ I couldn’t imagine it any other way.

Sincere thanks to Heather for sharing with us on things i’m loving! You’re a creative and entrepreneurial inspiration!

Be sure to stop by the boutique next time you’re in the South Granville area. Or make a special trip for it! You won’t be disappointed. I expect to spend many lunch hours there myself. =)

Heather is active on social media. Her Pinterest page is particularly impressive! Follow her:

2 Comments on “Heather Ross – Natural & Eclectic on Fir Street

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