Off Cut Culture Club Vendor: EVSTENROOS

EVSTENROOS

Ellinor Stenroos, Designer

What inspired you to start this business?

When I moved to Calgary to work as a goldsmith and jewellery designer, I predominately created engagement and wedding jewellery. When the opportunity to start my own company came around, I wanted to incorporate fashion jewellery, accessories as well as silverware. I wanted introduce Calgary to the classical silversmithing I had practiced during my training, as well as incorporate non-precious materials for big and bold statements.

What do you like most about your business?

I love the variety of work that I get to create. I find creating in different mediums pushes boundaries in all categories.

I also love that most of my clients seek me out for my contemporary aesthetic: chunky, heavy and well-made fine jewellery with clean lines.

What do you feel differentiates Calgary as a supportive community compared to other big cities, in terms of businesses supporting other local businesses?

Calgary is great at being excited and supportive of its own. It’s often said that Calgary is a small town in a big city—that also works as an advantage when it comes to community building and support.

How do you feel Calgary’s culture has changed or developed in the last few years?

We’ve grown into being a really interesting city that is colourful, trying out new things and breaking out of comfort zones. That’s not to say there isn’t room to grow and evolve further, but I think we are really starting to see a vibrancy in the city. The food scene is excellent, in comparison to where it was at 13 years ago when I moved here. There’s more independent art, in both galleries and on the streets, making for exciting and individual neighbourhoods. There’s a vibrant entrepreneur atmosphere in the city as well, which ultimately makes for a more innovative culture and experience.

Where are your favourite stomping grounds in Calgary?

I’m an Inglewood girl! I’ve lived there for the majority of my time in Calgary and around the inner city, and Inglewood is that one community that for me that has individuality and character. I love the lack of big-box stores. I love the character of the nearby neighbourhoods of Ramsay to the East Village. The coffee scene is strong, there are some excellent family-operated restaurants and music venues within walking distance and an abundance of nature walks and pathways only a few minutes from the core. There’s also an abundance of small businesses that offer all the best everyday luxuries—from specialty food, world-class wine and craft-beer selection to art and design and quirky details for body and soul!

Why do you feel it is important to collaborate with other businesses in Calgary?

I come from a culture where jewellers and silver/goldsmiths are all connected and share experiences on a regular basis. It was a real community that built each other up, rather than take the approach of competing.

By sharing and having a supportive network we get stronger. My industry in itself is very small in Calgary so I may never be able to have that network community here, but I feel that all small business owners face many similar challenges. “I support you, you support me,” goes a long way.

If you had a dream local business to work with in the city, who would it be?

I’d love to create a high-end custom silver cocktail utensil set or sterling silver tableware, from napkin holders to cutlery. It’s tricky because of the price point when it comes to precious metals—it may require that one specific client, rather than a business. But if there is a restaurant out there that would like a custom napkin holder, even in a non-precious metal, or a stylized weight for their bill tray, I would love to talk!

Where do you find inspiration / where do you go to feel inspired?

I love the blank canvas. Nature is always going to offer a solace and that room to breathe. I grew up on the coast in Finland, so I have always found my pulse by water. In Calgary that looks a little bit different because we are in a prairie and mountain province, but being a member of the Calgary Rowing Club and getting to practice sculling on the reservoir up to three times a week, six months of the year, has turned into a big refuge for me. Being able to do something completely unconnected to my art helps me switch off and back on again any time I face a challenge. It’s a real reboot for me.

St. Patrick’s Island and Prince’s Island Park, for being surrounded by the river, would come close seconds.

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