For five years, BRIKA has been working out of the Toronto area, connecting small business artisans with their customers.
BRIKA co-founder Jen Koss explained to Toronto Business Daily what the company has managed to do in its niche market.
“I think a large part of it has been focusing on what resonates with both sides of our market,” Koss said, citing the artisans on one hand and core customers on the other. “We’re trying to build a movement that's bigger than just buying things.”
Koss said she moved to Canada from the United States 10 years ago and connected with her co-founder to start a company in the Toronto community.
“I think for us, keeping it close to home has obviously worked,” Koss said.
She also credited the early opening of physical stores in the community with some of BRIKA’s success.
“Opening bricks and mortar (stores) was critical," Koss said. "We saw it early."
One example, she said, was the opening of a pop-up retail location in a local Hudson’s Bay department store only six months after the company was launched. She said this piqued her interest in doing more with physical stores.
“We saw the traction it got and said ‘we should really be doing something off-line,’” Koss said.
However, the online site also brings a lot to the table. At BRIKA, a beautiful website connects buyers with their options and showcases individual artisans with stories posted on the landing page.
BRIKA is an example of an established marketplace and using design and modern technology to change the way we live and shop, but Koss said the journey hasn't been without its pitfalls.
“I think we've been very smart and conservative,” Koss said of the ongoing plan to provide customers with unique goods.
The site offers goods in categories like jewelry, art and prints, house and home, furniture and more.