Where to Buy Modern Crafts for Your Home
Creating a beautiful home full of personal, unique and charming accents used to involve lots of time and travel. Thanks to people like Kena Paranjape and Jen Lee Koss, it’s now at our fingertips. The Toronto-based duo runs BRIKA, an e-commerce platform that curates and sells the kind of homespun goods that bring warmth and personality to your home. We sat down with the entrepreneurs to chat about making connections between crafters and consumers.
Why do you think it’s important to make handcrafted goods available to a larger audience?
As consumers, it’s easy to be disconnected from the products we buy. Knowing the story behind an item adds so much value, especially when you see that there’s a person behind that product who gives it their unique imprint, which is only possible when something is not mass-produced.
How do you select your merchandise?
We curate what we like to call modern crafts – handmade objects that fit into a contemporary lifestyle. We first and foremost ask, “Is it beautiful?” If the answer is yes, we then ask, “Does it feel modern?” Finally, we want products that feel authentic – items that are original designs, not imitations, and that come from a real place.
So what is modern craft exactly?
Modern craft is what we call items that are handcrafted with care using a meticulous process. They have a function but also an artful beauty that makes them timeless. These are not knick knacks you stuff away in the closet but pieces that seamlessly fit into the home.
Why do you think that BRIKA is such a popular place to buy gifts?
There’s a story behind a BRIKA product, and that makes it special. It’s not mass made and picked off of a shelf.
Kena, what are some of your favorite tips to freshen up a home?
My mom has always freshened things up seasonally, changing out the heavy rugs to something more lightweight, like jute, swapping wool pillow covers with silk or Linen Pillowcases and heavy curtains to lighter ones. But if you need freshening up without spending much, replacing candles with seasonal scents – transitioning, say, from fir tree to ocean breeze – can make a big difference. Also, a really easy update is to switch up your artwork either by buying new pieces or moving them around your home. It has become so much more affordable to decorate your home with art prints, and we have so many beautiful options on our site that we add to regularly.
What is the best lesson you have learned from creating and running BRIKA?
It’s going to sound cheesy, but your ability to achieve is only limited by your ability to dream and believe in yourself. We really believe that. Starting BRIKA was a huge leap for both of us; it’s amazing how much you can do that you never imagined.
What are your rituals before you go to bed?
As an entrepreneur who is always “on” I make it a rule to not have my phone be the very last thing I look at before I close my eyes at night. I like to get in bed 30 minutes before I turn out the light and read an actual book that is unrelated to work. If I’m especially stressed, I squeeze in a quick meditation using Headspace, an awesome meditation app!