Montreal-based jewelry brand SarahBijoux will open its first-ever brick and mortar location in its hometown at 5260 Saint-Laurent.
Founder and owner Sarah Simard said the new location will serve as the company’s new headquarters, storefront, and atelier. It will open in June.
The business originally launched in August 2018 as an ecommerce/online venture.
“That marked the launch of my online website, but I was already selling my jewelry through other shops in Montreal. So I was selling a bit in physical places, a little bit online and in many local maker’s markets,” she said.
The new location is in the middle of the Mile End area of Montreal.
“It’s a pretty touristy neighbourhood but it’s also a really popular neighbourhood amongst Montrealers. I kind of always hang around here. There are a lot of different stores, really, really nice restaurants, bars. It’s a really cool neighbourhood. A lot of things are happening,” said Simard.
The innovative concept, in about 1,250 square feet, invites guests to shop the brand’s diverse range of gender-neutral rings, bracelets, and necklaces, and see jewelry being made in real time by local craftspeople and founder Simard herself.
“The really cool feature is a really large atelier space that will be separated from the retail floor. The retail space will be in the front of the store. So when clients enter they will be in that part of the store,” she said.
“And then they will have a look at the atelier. That is about 500 to 600 square feet. It’s a really large space. What’s really, really cool with the store and the space is that they will be separated by glass partitions. So the clients will be able to see the jewelry making in action. They will be able to see kind of what’s going on behind the scenes. How the jewelry that they buy is being made.”
Designed by local interior designer, Mathilde Prud’homme, the modern space will be filled with natural light streaming through the street-front windows. Ceramic, terrazzo-like floors and a neutral colour palette of dark sage, light walnut, and white, will highlight architectural elements such as the jewelry bar or the central display where SarahBijoux’s timeless and inclusive collections will be housed.
Offering guests a unique look into the jewelry fabrication process, which is often behind closed doors, the boutique’s expansive atelier space – separated from the retail floor by glass partitions – will house working benches, tools, and a workblock, where up to four craftspeople can work at a time. The boutique space will also have a section for private appointments and consultations during the week where consumers can order bespoke jewelry made for special occasions such as weddings, graduations, and birthdays, says the company.
Prior to Simard taking over the space, it was a popular bar that had been operated for several years but it closed during the pandemic.
“For now this is my really, really big plan. That’s what I’m going to be focused on in the next years. I really want to have time to meet the customers and get to know everyone around the neighbourhood and to really, really make this space work super well before considering anything else,” said Simard of future plans for the brand.
When she was about 19 or 20 years old, she went to college where she started making jewelry. At first it was just for fun as she had plans of going to university to study international relations and communications.
“But with time I kind of made a name with word of mouth. My friends were wearing my jewelry. Word of mouth kind of gave me credibility with my entourage and with friends of friends,” she said.
She was eventually approached by a store in Montreal that wanted to sell her creations.
“That’s when it all started and that’s when I saw my pieces were liked not only by my friends and family but also by so many people that I didn’t know. That made me realize that I had a really great business opportunity. That’s why in 2018 I decided to go kind of big, launching a website and taking myself seriously, really owning my name and my brand and developing more of that.”
Simard said her jewelry can be worn on a daily basis and she makes gender neutral jewelry that is inclusive.
“For me it’s important that the jewelry and the prices are accessible and transparent,” she said.