[attach]6019[/attach]While travelling around the globe Kumala S. Nio would continually discover unique items like wooden sunglasses and handmade shoes by up and coming designers.
“I always had this burning desire to bring all the products in and then just provide a platform for these new designers,” she says.
The idea resulted in her newly opened shop, cafe and studio space, Room 2046, which features a range of household items from candles, mugs and books to clothes and accessories. She also offers creative services in branding and graphic design.
After searching across the city, she decided on her storefront on Yonge Street at Summerhill Avenue since it was easily accessible and she liked being amidst the nearby interior design stores.
“I wanted an area where the residents and the community retained an appreciation for design,” she says. “It really is a place where people can appreciate beautiful objects and surround themselves with great design.”
In addition to finding pieces that are aesthetically pleasing, functional and durable, most of which are sourced internationally, she says she also looks for pieces that are exclusive to her store.
“I’m more drawn to unknown and un-established brands because, if it’s a popular brand and ubiquitous in the city, then there are 10 or 20 other stores you can probably visit and acquire,” she says. “It’s more special when it comes in limited quantity.”
Room 2046, which she describes as a multi-disciplinary lifestyle brand, is a direct reference to a series of Wong Kar-wai films, which was fitting since she has a passion for film, she says.
Although she wanted a challenge and enjoyed dabbling in all aspects of getting the business up and running like painting the baseboards and working as a buyer, she says it was a process to open the store.
“It felt like I was running a marathon with a series of obstacles throughout,” she says. “It’s stressful and exhausting to say the least but it truly is rewarding when you have neighbours or people in the area who come in and are so supportive. We’ve been getting great positive feedback especially from people around here.”