“I’m one of those hands-on people – I have to be moving constantly. On top of that, I look at something and I want to figure out how it was put together. Or I want to take it apart. “
Combine these busy bee symptoms with an undeniable sense of fashion and an adoration for accessories, toss in a toolkit and a little ambition – and you’ve got yourself an entrepreneur.
Emily McMenemy, a longtime Ottawa resident and now Toronto gal is the crafty hand of style behind Birdie Blues handmade jewelry – a versatile collection that combines first and second hand pieces such as vintage beads, charms, metals, pearls and wire to create trendy necklaces, earrings and bracelets that cater perfectly to the modern vintage craze.
“That’s the thing (about making jewelry) – you see something you love in a magazine and you can save the money, do it yourself and put your own spin on it,” says McMenemy. “You can personalize a piece and add your own touches for whoever will be wearing it.”
McMenemy, who’s been in business for a little over two months, is without a doubt an appropriate candidate to take a whack at designing. Having newly moved back to Toronto and soon making the trek to London, ON, she has a wealth of experience in retail – the most influential being a long stint at Aritzia, the fashionable Canadian boutique that’s matured into one of the more unique and cultured accessible retailers in the country.
After being immersed in experimental fashion and watching her own style evolve along the way, Birdie Blues – which is a named to be a variation of McMenemy’s favourite colour, robin’s egg blue – and an industrious bedroom workshop sprouted from the ground up. Now selling headbands, feather pieces and putting together a professional online catalogue outside of her tumlbr blog (you can browse here and purchase by emailing Emily), she says the affordable line has something for everyone. Prices range from $15 to $40 for some of her more extravagant pieces; therefore, steal is an understatement, considering the jewelry is anything but.
“I would love to give styling tips too, on how to wear my things. You can stretch your jewelry so far beyond what it comes as.”
As part of the 2011 End Slavery Day vendor’s bill last weekend at the Bronson Centre – this is just the first we’ll see of this budding creator. Check back for more updates on what she has to offer – a pop-up shop, precious stones, rings and a piece that is most likely exactly what you’re looking for are what we can expect out of this flyaway hit.
Want to know more about the artist? I put her in the hot seat about her own style:
Describe your personal style: Changing.
Favourite trend? It’s bad…but right now, it’s fur. I’m really into the vintage stuff though; I like the traditional cuts. I love old, used and hunting for vintage finds. I’m into recycling and reusing fashion.
Trends that might blow up: I think feathers will still be in for a little while, but I’m thinking wooden accents are coming.
A trend you wouldn’t be caught dead in: I really don’t like when people tuck their suit pants into Uggs. In the street…it’s a bit much. Jeans and running sneakers too – not for me.
Gold or Silver?: Both! I don’t like to mix and match too much – so I’ll usually have a silver day or a gold day.
Favourite store? In Ottawa, I’d have to say Aritzia - I’m a sucker for anything Wilfred. But I also love the St. Vincent De Paul on Wellington, it has great second-hand finds. I love the shops along Dalhousie too. It’s nice to support the local businesses. In Toronto? I’m into a shop called Penny Arcade on Dundas West.
Does Ottawa have a fashion scene? It definitely does! Shopping in Ottawa is great. You need to know where to look and have an open mind. There isn’t much of a difference between people in Ottawa and in Toronto – I’ve seen great taste in both. Don’t be afraid to try different things; as long as you wear something with confidence you can look good in a trash bag.
*CONTEST*: Here’s where you can WIN! If you want the chance to snatch the fun and beautiful Birdie Blues necklace below - LEAVE A COMMENT telling us how you would style your outfit around it, as well as your name/email, and you’re automatically entered into a draw to win! Featuring a long chain, vintage charms and pearls – we think it would look lovely on just about anybody. We’ll be drawing a commenter’s name out of a hat on Monday, December 12th – so check back!
This contest is now closed! Thank you to all who commented below, we loved your styling ideas! Find out who won & stay tuned for more give-aways in the future, in a nutshell.