Meet Citizen Grace. Citizen Grace is a Vancouver-based online retail shop started by Shannon Heth + Christina Heemskerk. Their style is so lovely. I met Shannon at her Midtown Experiment pop up shop + had to extend an interview invitation. Read on to find out their must have items for summer + their biggest bit of advice for new entrepreneurs!
1. Tell me about Citizen Grace. What is it + how did it get started?
Citizen Grace is an online Fashion Boutique featuring woman’s clothing and accessories – It all started over some wine and a conversation about what we wanted our life to be like and what our passions and dreams were and this is when Citizen Grace was born.
2. Can you speak about the connection between fashion, personal expression, and self love? How do you embody this philosophy in the Citizen Grace brand?
There is something amazing that happens when you get dressed in the morning, It sets the tone for your day – your attitude, your confidence, how the world looks at you. Fashion really can be the basis to start your day. If you put on a great cut power suit, you go into that meeting and you own it; You walk in with confidence and people feed off of it. If you feel saucy but want that effortless french chic vibe, put on a great boyfriend jean, a great simple t-shirt and a sexy heel with a statement necklace and the world wants to look and talk to you. It changes how you feel and the way you move within the world. It really is powerful, you can be who and what you want to be.
3. What’s the biggest challenge you have to owning your own business? How do you overcome it?
When they invent about 15 more hours is a day we will be golden! Time is one of the largest challenges we face. It takes time to make anything great. Also you have to learn to wear many hats…Coordinator, Art Director, Accountant, Account Manager the list goes on.
4. How would you each describe your personal style? What’s your favourite thing to wear right now?
Christina: I THINK that Im a simple chic kind of girl. I love a great jean, simple shirt, a blazer – and pop it with an interesting heel (like a color or a print) and top it with mosly basic bangles and simple necklaces. With that said… I have fed off of Shannon’s more edgy style and Im more and more drawn to more statement items like all over print and a more statement necklace.
Shannon: I love the edgy look mixed with simple. I look in my closet and I see A LOT of black, grey and white. This is when you can make it fun though and add a fun print bootie or an awesome heel. I like to try new things out though and mix it up a bit so right now I am loving the bright spring colors like our neon ‘The Only Way’ skirt and our ‘Spring Wave’ dress by Mink Pink.
5. What’s your favourite Citizen Grace piece right now?
Christina: I am majorly in love with our new resort Maxis. I’m pretty sure that Ill be pulling out my ‘Shannon- inspired’ hippy side all summer, bare feet and body jewelry.
Shannon: Oops, I already answered that question haha Other then the items I previously mentioned I am loving the look of the shirt dress. We have the Twisted Theory shirt dress that is gorgeous navy and white… it’s so simple and can be worn to the office or it can be toned down and worn in bare feet in your backyard.
6. What are your different roles in the business? Do you each wear different a hat?
Shannon runs the admin day to day stuff and manages our interns that work with us. Christina is the creative side of Citizen Grace; She does all of our graphic design and runs the show at all of our photoshoots. When it comes to buying we both do this together… it’s fun because we both have different styles and taste in pieces but that’s what makes us who we are because it’s a collective of different styles that makes our pieces so unique and different.
7. What advice would you give someone who wants to start their own business?
Find a great Business Partner… Its like a marriage (you will spend more time with them than your own partner) you need someone who compliments you, encourages you, but brings you down to earth when you have flown into the clouds with romantic and lofty ideas – but works with you to try to come up with a realistic way to make it happen. – A solid business plan is pretty important too, but the first it the utmost important… Dreams can bring you pretty far.