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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Bamboo Ballroom

Last month, we had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Bamboo Ballroom owners, Kyla Kazeil and Stacey Boruk to talk about fashion, the boutique and what drives them.  The success of Bamboo Ballroom is a perfect example of how sticking true to a vision, using creative means to reach your clientele and truly doing what you love in life, results in longevity in a business where that is quite rare.  These ladies were so easy to talk to and fun to be around, our interview with Kyla and Stacey turned into more of a girl talk chat about fashion.  You can really see how much they both love fashion and the creativity that it lends itself to.


A Pleasury:
Thank you so much for meeting with us today.  Why don’t you start off by telling us how you both met and decided to open Bamboo Ballroom.

Bamboo Ballroom:
We used to work together at Backroom Vodka Bar on Whyte Avenue and were friends even before that.  We’ve been friends for a long time.  We just decided to open Bamboo Ballroom and it’s been 6 years!


 A Pleasury:
Why did you choose Whyte Avenue for the location of the store?

Bamboo Ballroom:
The space was just really attractive and became available.  At that time, 6 years ago, Whyte Avenue was the place to be.  There wasn’t really any of those deep south locations, and 124th Street was so far off at that time, and there wasn’t much of anything on 104th street.




A Pleasury:
We love the fashion shows that Bamboo Ballroom holds at The Common.  You guys kind of spearheaded that trend and now more and more boutiques are holding shows and inviting bloggers to check out the shows and spread the word.  Tell us a bit about that.

Bamboo Ballroom:
We are in such a digital world now, and we read blogs all the time now.  We read the local blogs, blogs from the States and Europe and try to get ideas too.  We want to create a cool place for people to come and shop.  Sometimes people see clothes in magazines or on blogs and think “I don’t know where I could get that,” or feel like Edmonton is 3 years behind.  We want to carry those styles that are happening now and carry them first.  Sometimes you try for that and then you have pieces 2 years too early.  We had coloured denim 4 years ago.  Nine times out of ten that’s how it goes.

We want to be on the up and up with what is going on because it interests us personally and professionally.  And we’re young and want to look good too.




A Pleasury:
What are some of your favourite lines that you carry in the store?

Bamboo Ballroom:
Funktional, Something Else...and Free People has been so good lately.  And of course Suka!




A Pleasury:
Are there any lines that are exclusive to Bamboo Ballroom that you’d like us to share with our readers?

Bamboo Ballroom:
We used to be very into exclusivity but you usually have to order hefty amounts.  To be able to pick and choose what we want from the various lines, we’ve given up some of that.  There are a few things, for example very few stores carry Free People.  We have some lines that are exclusive on Whyte Avenue, but not exclusive in the city.  Once you start talking about exclusivity, battle lines are drawn.  At the end of the day, the stores are all still independent so it’s no big deal.  We’ve been on Whyte Ave. for so long and it’s changed a lot.  Some people have gone out of business.  It used to be really cut throat and you’d be fighting over distribution and brands, and for us it’s not worth it.  We want to have the craziest product mix in this store.  Even if that means 18 different brands of denim, a whole bunch of cool tops and tons of local.  We don’t care what they carry in the shops downtown, we just care about our mix in our store and how it feels.  Of course we care about the local community and want everyone to do well, but as far exclusivity goes, we don’t really care about it.




A Pleasury:
How do you go about finding new labels or brands to carry?  Do you attend the Trends tradeshow?

Bamboo Ballroom:
We look on blogs.  Trends is okay and there are a few good agents that are starting to travel.  Right now it seems like a lot of “fast fashion” is in style.  Really cool and trendy, but not necessarily super expensive.  Cheap and cheerful!  Not exactly cheap, just more affordable.  The fashion forward style that is under the $100 price point.  Before if something was really cool it would be about $250 and we’d see it and think “It’s nice but who’s going to buy it?”






A Pleasury:
You were invited out to Toronto Fashion Week last season.  How did that come about?

Bamboo Ballroom:
They were looking for feedback from other Canadian brands regarding who has really contributed towards the local and Canadian fashion community, and Bamboo Ballroom had just come up at that point.  I think it is because we do contribute and because of our relationship with artisans.  Six years is a while, and there are not that many stores that have been around that long.  Especially doing Canadian fashion because that concept has really tanked a lot of stores.  It’s so very expensive to purchase those items.  We do carry many Canadian brands so the longevity of this store has been really cool.

A Pleasury:
So many other store owners have asked us how you guys got such a great opportunity and what the secret is to your success.  Is there a sisterhood or camaraderie amongst local shop owners and do new up-starts come to you for advice?

Bamboo Ballroom:
We do a lot of fashion shows so we reach out to a lot of stores.  We are doing a show for 124st.  We are reaching out and we're friendly and approachable but nobody really gets a hold of us or asks for advice really.  I think a lot of people want to muddle through things on their own.  For the most part that’s what we do.  You figure it out as you go along and what works for one isn’t necessarily going to work for another.






A Pleasury:
What do you guys have your eyes on for fall?

Bamboo Ballroom:
We are going to go to Vegas for the Magic Tradeshow soon, but that is more for spring.  We are also going to go to L.A. afterwards.  We’ve bought in advance for the majority of our fall fashion and it’s awesome.  For a while, with the recession, people were really safe and careful and buying a lot of wardrobe builders.  People weren’t buying that flash outfit.  They didn’t even make them.  It was just pretty plain and functional.  Now people are buying more fun pieces like sheer ankle length maxi dresses or all sheer blouses, more vibrant colors.  Muck fabric is back in again too.
 






A Pleasury:
What’s next on the horizon for Bamboo Ballroom?

Bamboo Ballroom:
Just doing this for now! (laughs). 

A Pleasury:
How would you describe the Bamboo Ballroom woman or shopper?

Bamboo Ballroom:
A mishmash of us, just like the store (laughs).  That’s why we call it the Bamboo Ballroom, it’s the juxtaposition of us and our styles.  Flash and earthy. I’m more that boho style (Kyla), and Stacey will wear the highest heels.  Our customers are all ages too. We’ve got some younger customers and then some in their fifties and sixties.  And just from doing it for so long, we know what styles will fit our different demographics.  And some styles work for everyone.  Who doesn’t need a basic v-neck shirt.  


A Pleasury:
It sounds like you guys have a good business balance, and juxtaposition!  Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today.

Bamboo Ballroom owners, Kyla Kazeil and Stacey Boruk

Fall into fashion at Bamboo Ballroom:

8206 - 104th Street
Edmonton AB
(780)439-1363

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