LD Shoppe - Sacha & Melissa
Before furniture and decor retail, Leclair Decor first began as a design studio. Can you tell us how you first started in the design business?
After we bought our first home, we jumped at the opportunity to make it our own. We began painting the minute we walked through the door and it took off from there. We opted to decorate the house instead of going on a honeymoon (we got married and closed on the house within 24 hours) and kept at it throughout the first year. Our first paying client was a friend of a friend who reached out to us after visiting our friend’s place (which we’d done for free to test the waters!)
How was moving into both the online and bricks and mortar side of retail been as an experience and an addition to your design business?
Lots of new learning experiences came along with the leap into retail, but we try to welcome every challenging moment as a chance to improve and grow. The logistics of shipping have proven to be the most difficult and we’re reminded daily that organization is key. Finding the right person to manage the store was very important to us and we couldn't have found a better candidate than Natalie. She does a great job managing daily operations and we are really getting into our groove. The best part is how receptive the city has been! We love to see all the friendly faces that come through our door and the online sales throughout North America.
You have some pretty amazing pieces in your retail shop. How do you source a collection that is both unique and relevant to your customers?
Thank you! LD Shoppe has definitely been a labour of love. What started as a small collection of lighting pieces we wanted to share with clients has now turned into a complete retail site full of hundreds of home goods pieces we truly love. Having tried and struggled to source unique, modern, and stylish pieces in Ottawa, we sensed their might be an appetite in this city for a different aesthetic. Luckily, so far, it seems like we were right. It's an ongoing process of finding new pieces and places to source from. We are always on the lookout for beautiful pieces and new suppliers.
Where do most of your décor pieces come from?
We started small and originally sourced exclusively from Canadian suppliers. We now source from all over North America but it remains important to us to have good Canadian representation in our collection. In addition to larger commercial manufacturers, we’ve also partnered with a number of smaller scale suppliers. As a small business, we love to support other small businesses and are always looking for new connections. We think supporting each other is so important!
When you aren’t making spaces beautiful what do you do for fun?
As parents of two little ones, our home life is even more hectic than the 9-5. We love spending time together outdoors, biking, hiking, skiing, going for evening walks and enjoying family dinners.
As business owners what has been the biggest challenge getting to where you are today?
There isn't a how-to guide for starting and running a successful business, so making the big decisions can be scary and tough. We’ve always strived to continuously improve, but it's not always easy and you certainly make mistakes. The important thing is to learn from them. We have grown so much since we first started in our spare bedroom office but we’re so busy that sometimes we forget to stop for a minute and appreciate what we’ve built. There's a lot of responsibility that comes with running a business and employing people but we love what we do and try to create a great work environment for our team.
Are there any exciting projects or expansions on the horizon?
We have tons of exciting projects in the works all over the city; a kitchen overhaul in Orleans, new build in Carp, and a modern infill in the Glebe, to name a few. Shots from these projects and others should start to roll out in the coming months. We also have a fresh batch of Richcraft model homes set to be competed this fall, which is definitely keeping our design team busy. As for the store, we are working to expand into a more retail-oriented location, so stay tuned!
How has Ottawa provided an ideal place for running a business?
Ottawa's creative market is really starting to flourish. The foodie scene is in full swing, the fashion bug is catching all over the city with so many cute boutiques popping up, and interiors are evolving too! Inspiration for great design is more readily available through Pinterest and Instagram than ever before so our generation is more motivated than ever to make their homes beautiful. On the retail side, we’ve heard from many clients that they a) love our stuff and b) prefer to support local businesses instead of big box stores, which is so encouraging.
Do you have a favourite business in Ottawa?
There are so many great businesses in Ottawa, and we’re obviously a sucker for anywhere with a well designed space. It’s hard to choose but a few of our faves are PreLoved Ottawa (a consignment shop that started on Instagram that now has a space on Wellington), Stray Dog Brewing Company (awesome for us Orleans-living craft beer lovers), Supply and Demand (fabulous bistro style restaurant in Westboro), and Pink Soapworks (hand crafted, all-natural bath & beauty products).
What would be your dream space to design and provide furniture for?
We’d love to design a boutique hotel one day, and maybe a fun restaurant, but houses will always be our true love. There's just something endlessly inspiring about creating a beautiful space for people to come home to. Our favourite projects are the complete renovations and new builds; we love to start from the very beginning and infuse our vision into every last detail.
We’re hoping to renovate our current home in the near future, and eventually we plan to build new :)