Stockist Spotlight: Picot, Victoria BC
GETTING TO KNOW OUR STOCKISTS
Maker’s Magazine is always finding new places to hang. Issue 3: The Blues is patiently waiting to be picked off the shelves of small shops run by people with big dreams - individuals who have diligently carved a path of their own - dreamers with stories worth sharing. In an effort to get to know the awesome people & shops stocking Maker’s Magazine, we’ve launched a Stockist Spotlight Series on the blog.
In today’s edition of Stockist Spotlight, we’re visiting Picot Collective, a shop in Victoria BC offering curated handcrafted goods with beauty and intention. We had a chat with owner Britt Buntain on her journey with Picot and how her experiences and values have and continue to shape her path. Before opening the shop, Britt taught yoga full-time and dabbled in different mediums from handmade jewellery to her recent love, Saori Weaving, which eventually lead to the founding of Picot Collective.
So tell us Britt, how did Picot Collective come to be? How did you transition from teaching yoga to owning your own shop?
In 2014 I taught at a yoga retreat in Sayulita, Mexico, and I was inspired by the conversations that I had with everyone, the town, and this one particular store down there that sold modern artwork, clothing, jewelry and ceramics made by local artisans. I was so inspired, I visited the store everyday, eventually bringing home one of the art pieces and hung it in my living room. A few months later I took a Saori Weaving workshop and I fell in LOVE with the process, the Saori philosophy, and I really liked the weaving I had created. I continued to take workshops and talk to the weavers, and through our conversations I shared with them that I would love to have a store for tangible art. I had no idea that a year later I would actually be opening something like that.
In the year following those inspiring conversations, what were some of the key steps you took to turn this dream into a reality? What are some of the challenges (whether personal or logistical) you’ve had to overcome in the process?
The first key step was doing the Artist's Way with a large group of women. (If you haven't heard of this book, please do yourself an enormous favour and pick it up, find a group and commit to meet once a week to discuss the process. It’s magic). This course had me writing every day in the morning and throughout the day as I went through the tasks each week. It gave me so much clarity on this idea and by writing everyday about it, I just kept finding these synchronistic steps fall into place to make it happen.
There were a few challenges that naturally rose up and a couple that surprised me, but the biggest one I couldn't have predicted. On the day I got the keys to my space, I found out that my retina had detached in my right eye causing me to be blind and need emergency surgery. I ended up having several different and very invasive procedures done on my eye in a couple months, and at certain points I was convinced that I couldn't open the shop because the recovery period for each surgery was 4-6 weeks and required me to be very still. I'm still in awe that happened. It’s not life threatening or anything, but the stress of that happening while trying to open this business was more than I have ever experienced in my life. I lost my mind a little bit in those months. If it weren't for my family and friends, I never would have walked away from opening the store.
I imagine yoga has remained an important part of your life and mindset. Are there any mantras or lessons you’ve brought forward from your career in yoga to your life as an entrepreneur?
I catch the moments when I am being too hard on myself, or when I am pushing for something to happen without patience. Practicing yoga has deepened my ability to listen to my intuition. I trust that to guide me when I need to make decisions. Yoga grounds me, and reminds me that I don't need to push full steam ahead all the time, but to cultivate patience and trust in the process. Losing my vision and feeling that immense pressure of stress is also something that I don't want to feel again, so I check in with myself a lot more about what is a healthy amount of stress, and what I do not need to carry. One mantra that always grips me is the Zen Night Chant. The last line has this wild power over me because it is whispered aloud, and no matter what it always makes me smile knowingly from the bottom of my soul.
"Life and death are of supreme importance. Time passes swiftly, opportunities are lost. Let us awaken. Awaken. Do not squander your life."
Can you describe the ambiance of the shop. What makes Picot a special place to be?
I'd like to say its our team of women that work here that make it so special! We want people to feel comfortable and welcome. It's really important to us to build connections with our customers have genuine conversations. We have a beautiful corner spot of a heritage building with mostly original grey brick, and a couple walls I painted black or white. We use copper and wooden accents, and we try to keep the plants alive. Ceilings are tall and it always smells like our signature scent, Honey Tobacco. The stock is always changing, and we are constantly told that it just feels good in here.
I understand you have your own line of weavings you sell in the shop! What do you enjoy most about Saori Weaving? Can you tell us a bit what the Saori philosophy has taught you.
To embrace the Saori philosphy, there's a little bit of an un-learning that you have to do. You have to unlearn what you think is perfect or expected. When you can embrace that aspect of the process, everything else just flows in its own mysterious way. The pieces I have loved the most have been unplanned. It was just sitting down and getting in the flow, not overthinking it too much, not worried about if someone will like it or not. Just seeing what will come out. That mindset helps me with everything in life.
Do you think these teachings may have had a greater impact on your life beyond the loom?
I've always found beauty in the imperfections of life, whether it's my scarred body, clumsiness, and how the traumas and challenges I have experienced have shaped me into a strong, empathetic and resilient person. There's a great amount of empowerment in accepting myself for who I am and how I will evolve over time, because I will. I have an enormous respect for timing in life, and I believe that when I are in my flow, everything in my daily life is speaking to me in some way. I just have to pay attention, and listen, and trust.
Shop the goods, meet the peeps:
PICOT COLLECTIVE | 2000 Fernwood Rd, Victoria, BC