Charlie & Lee is an independently owned and operated store located on Union Street in our hometown, beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. Everything that they carry is handpicked and carefully curated with love, paying attention to quality designers and up and coming labels, bringing in a selection of goods you would be proud to own. Their goal is to be unique but timeless; they carry the sort of things you would have forever and love for a lifetime. They focus on independent brand made in North America, or ethically sourced goods.
We were such big fans of their Chinatown store-front, we had to get in touch to find out more about this hidden Vancouver gem.
So, how did Charlie & Lee come to be?
The concept of Charlie & Lee was born while living by the beach in sunny LA, thinking about our homeland on the West coast of Canada. We are Kleah and Josh Michnik. Our ideas and goals matured into Charlie & Lee, a men’s and women’s shop concentrating on our favorite local independent and international designers.
If your store was known for one thing, what would it be?
A great selection of quality products that are unique without being too trendy. We try to focus on the things that will become your favorite and last many seasons to come. If anything is pricier in our shop, there always is a legitimate reason behind it. The best feeling I get is when a customer comes in and tells me about an item they bought in the past, and how much they wear it or how many compliments they receive while wearing it. To know something is loved and worn is the ultimate.
What’s been the most stressful part of your career?
The daily or weekly ups and downs of small business ownership. Small business always looks easier than it seems, and everything takes longer than you expect. It’s something you don’t fully understand until you are in the position and then it all makes sense.
What is the most fun you’ve had working on a project?
Definitely the initial set up of the store, designing the space and curating the selection of goods we carry. It was a ton of work but I feel ready to do it all over again!
What is the best thing about living in Vancouver?
The diversity of landscape, you can drive 20 minutes and feel like you are in the middle of nowhere. The beautiful outdoors we have surrounding the city is a serious luxury and I remind myself to appreciate and reconnect as much as possible.
What do you see as the next good trend in fashion?
I try to avoid “trends” but I am fully supporting the slow fashion movement that is gaining widespread momentum. The idea that something is out of style from one season to the next or can only be worn once really frustrates me. If something is very particular and trendy I would encourage avoiding it, over consumption and the clothing industry are huge stresses on our planet. I would rather slowly build a wardrobe with quality pieces and focus on independent designers, natural materials and dyes as much as possible.
Thanks for sitting down with me – its been a pleasure.
Be sure to check out a few snaps from their latest lookbook here.