21. August 2020
Despite her appetite for design, Anderson acquiesced to her parents’ desire that she do something “sensible” for post-secondary studies, gaining a business degree before notching up experience in HR and marketing jobs. She further sharpened skills in a marketing business run by her entrepreneur husband.
Edilka Anderson of KARE Toronto, a contemporary décor and furnishing store that opened on Toronto’s Queen Street West in 2017
An impulse toward making — and remaking — furniture vignettes is one of Edilka Anderson’s earliest memories.“My parents would come in and say, ‘oh, you changed the house again’. It was, like,
surprise! It was always in me. I can’t look in a space and not think about the function. And I always loved the creative world.”
As a young mom, Anderson went to work in government as a project manager, a job for which she says she’s forever grateful. “It was important for me to care for kids, to have the benefits, the security,” she explains. But the itch to create didn’t go away; Anderson took continuing education in interior design, and followed the industry closely. A shared commitment to secure, stable family life held true even as Anderson and her husband ended their marriage. “We decided to take control and do it in the best possible way for the kids. When I told him I wanted to quit my job and do something creative, he was supportive. He knew I sacrificed for him earlier in the marriage to do his thing. And he understood how my happiness was tied to the happiness of our kids.”
Anderson says she’s found a dream creative platform as the owner of KARE Toronto
www.karedesign.ca, a contemporary décor and furnishing store that opened on Toronto’s Queen Street West in 2017. Walking by it at the time, Anderson — then juggling a growing staging business with full-time work — experienced an immediate affinity.
“I went in, and it was one of those moments when something feels really familiar, you feel you have seen it, or felt it before. I thought it was so cool.”
Initial store visits led to a gig providing merchandising and design services to the previous owners. When they decided to sell in 2018, Anderson took over. Very sadly, Anderson’s former partner died suddenly after her opening, with which he helped.
Based out of Munich, KARE was launched in 1981 by Jürgen Reiter and Peter Schönhofen, both design fans and schoolmates who couldn’t find what they wanted for their own student apartments. Their efforts to do so lead to a company that now owns branded stores in Germany and Austria, with 100 franchised stores across 50 countries. Toronto was the first North American location; stores in Vancouver and Los Angeles opened last year.
Deep global buying reach both lets store owners to tailor offerings to regional tastes and trends, and gives clients special-order access to pieces from across the globe, says Anderson, including artisanal and hand-crafted work. Design services and consults — both in-store and in-home — are also available at the Toronto location.
A big brand draw for Anderson was a shared love of vibrant tones. “I always gravitate to colour,” she says. “I definitely saw a market for that in Toronto, especially with people who want to personalize.”
One reason to think that KARE can survive the recent shutdown — mere months after launching — is Anderson’s solid business background. She may also perfectly capture the cultural moment, when she talks about how personal and professional roadblocks have given her deep insight into the importance of family life.
“People are realizing their homes have to be a priority. I know they want to feel comfortable in them, to have a space to work when they need, and for it all to be beautiful. Being there to help with it — that’s what I love to do.”
Direct Article by
The Ottawa Citizen