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Keeping it Local: A Collaboration Project

Design, renovation, building; these type of projects usually take a lot of planning to complete successfully. Now "successful" is a relative term and relies on a multitude of factors, including budget and timeliness. Today we see so much information being thrown around that's constantly speaking to us subconsciously, telling us how its possible to get products and material fast and inexpensively. Unfortunately this is grooming us as consumers to expect everything to be as quick as possible and at a bottom dollar price. When you purchase fixtures from a big box store and something goes wrong, its typically up to you to embark on an a lengthy journey filled with endless emails and 1800 numbers which usually ends somewhere between frustration, wasted time, listening to elevator music and possibly even wasted money.

This is exactly why we choose to align ourselves with smaller, local, curated businesses. We have placed a lot of importance on building these relationships. I cannot begin to recount the number of times we've had our trusted vendors and individuals far exceed our expectations, for no other reason than its who they are. This type of quality partnership and support in any industry is invaluable. When something goes wrong or we need help, we know exactly who to call. Conversations with these wonderful people usually start with exchanging updates about our respective families, how business is going and then finding solutions together for the issues at hand. We never feel like a number in a queue. This is how it should be. For so long we've been getting amazing support from these contacts and vendors. Their support has helped our business flourish; Its kept our clients incredibly happy, now it's more important than ever that we support them.


A few months ago I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and my scroll was interrupted by gorgeous flat lay photos by talented photographers, filled with beautiful products sourced by creative minds. I would scroll and then get stopped again by yet another stunning photo. I started to think back to my time working at a local tile boutique where we often assembled little flat lays for client or just for fun. That's when I knew I wanted to do something similar, but I couldn't do it alone. I reached out to my friend Hilary Maxwell of Hilary Elizabeth Photography. Hilary and I went to the same high school once upon a time and I'm fairly certain that we had no idea back then as to where we would end up career wise, but here we are. So after a few glasses of wine, Ideas swirling in my mind; I was writing to Hilary to see if she would be interested collaborating with me and bringing this whole thing to life. The funny part was I didn't even know yet what it would be. What I did know is that with our two creative minds it was going to be such a great opportunity and I couldn't do it without her. It wasn't long before she was completely on board.

From my experience in the industry, I knew what needed to go into sourcing and selecting finishes and fixtures but I immediately started biting my nails thinking about how different it would be during COVID and what that would even look like. I thought about how daunting that would seem for your average home owner, looking to start their own home projects. For the average Joe, it would seem so simple to just go to their local big box store and get everything they needed, without any idea the headaches that could await them. I want to be clear that big box stores certainly have their place in this industry, but there are so many other local small businesses that we can support who in turn, are there to support us as well as our clients. To us, that support is priceless. Guy has always said "We're only as strong as our weakest link" so if we can align our business with other local businesses and support each other through this, it would be alright.

The cogs kept turning in my mind and while Hilary was such a key part of this projects potential, I too had a lot of work ahead of me. I wanted this to be more than a series of photos. I wanted to evoke something that made others think and expand their minds to what could be sourced locally from the small businesses in their own communities. I wanted to help people look past the mass marketing efforts of big box stores and discover what else was out there. That was the moment when I knew this project would be so much more than just beautiful photos of design materials and fixtures. I wanted to showcase these amazing contacts and vendors we have worked with, who have always been there when we needed them. I rely on them for client projects so why wouldn't I rely on them for this, right?!

Over the coming days and weeks, I spoke with Karen Coburn of Urban Stone Surfaces in Stittsville, Lisa Evagleou of Pearl Ottawa, Josh Nolan of Floor Coverings International, Marie-Claude Seguin of Les Armoires Seguin in Alfred, Andre and Rob of The Decorators choice and Marina of Article Living based in Alberta and the creative juices were flowing. I sourced everything Hilary and I would need to create the first flat lays in a series of 6.

During the next 3 months, We're going to reveal 6 different flat lay photos all sourced by us and photographed by Hilary. Each of these photos will be a curated flat lay from our local vendors and each post will feature one of them. We want to share in the sense of community we've found at each one of these vendors. We want you to see why we support local.


For the first photo in the series, I dedicate this post to Hilary Maxwell. It's crazy to think of where we came from however many years ago and where we've ended up.

Hilary has really grown since we started Ekko and she was taking interiors photos for us 6 years ago. While it was definitely bittersweet when she decided she wanted to focus on wedding and portrait photography, I knew that the talent she had would take her far. If that meant no longer really doing interior photography, I would still be cheering her on from the sidelines. Was I ecstatic when I saw a designer tagged her in some gorgeous interior photos on Instagram and I realized she was back.. YOU BET I WAS. Hilary has a way of blending into the space shes photographing, all while commanding the room. If you're planning a micro wedding or finishing a home renovation, you need Hilary in your life. We're lucky enough to have her as a friend too.

We cannot thank these local vendors enough for helping bring this to life. As always, we couldn't do it without them. Check in October 2nd for the next one!


Products in photo:

Tile and Countertops - Urban Stone Surfaces in Stittsville

Damien Faucet - Pearl Ottawa

Cabinet - Les Armoires Seguin in Alfred

Wall Paper and Paint - The Decorators choice

Bottle Duo and Tray - Article Living

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