Staking a space inside the Doctor Vigari Gallery, framing ace Wendy Berry activates her longtime artist's eye while preserving clients’ mementos in technically sound and visually pleasing styles. When customers bring their special items and works to Wendy, she uses knowledge culled from her master's degree in fine arts and her background as an artist of more than 20 years to creatively build framing solutions for every project she takes on. A seemingly boundless assortment of framing options lines the walls of her framing area, inspiring visitors with styles that can help safeguard or beautifully hang anything from sports memorabilia and diplomas to family photos.
Beyond framing, Wendy's experience and education enable her to execute a number of other services, such as digital printing and creating 3-D shadowboxes. She also performs home consultations to help customers aesthetically sort out decor choices and help them choose the most unassuming portraits for concealing secret safes stocked with smaller secret safes inside.
Orb's expert clothing artisans design and craft fashion accessories and stylish garbs that have been featured on MTV Fora. Hide valuables in the Prickly Pear top's two side pockets ($50), or wave in landing UFOs in the sleeveless Hightide top's washed grey look ($40). Fabric flows across cutout sleeves, a wide neckline, and a dropped back to form the Bernie top ($50), and a relaxed Luna bag ($76) ferries important things around town. Orb reaches out to needy children with large, thimble-covered hands and donates a portion of all profits to Free The Children.
Lavan's nature alchemists collect herbs and fruit, vegetable, and flower extracts sourced from the Israeli countryside to blend into their all-natural bath and body products, which have been lauded in SweetLife and Fashion Magazine's blog for producing “silky results in an instant.” Mixed according to ancient recipes, the balms and soaps are hand-packed into recyclable glass containers before staffers arrange them on the shelves of Lavan's luxe downtown store. In the center of the space, a large, round sink sprouting multiple faucets whispers for customers to sample soaps and salt scrubs. Knowledgeable staffers serenely explain the benefits of the exotic ingredients, or direct men and women to salves specifically designed for their skin needs. All of products are hypo-allergenic, paraben-free, and never tested on animals, making them gentle enough to use on babies who take strong ethical stances on the treatment of animals.
A native of sunny Australia, GumDrops’ founder Liz Jerrett learned to cope with Vancouver’s overcast days by acquiring a collection of fun, fashionable wet-weather gear. GumDrops Wet Weather Boutique, spotlighted in BCLiving, supplies waterproof rain wear for the whole family from brands such as Hunter, Bogs, and Kamik, a company that hand-plucks recyclable rain boots grown in the meadows of Quebec. Along with donating proceeds to environmental causes, GumDrops carries its own line of Canadian-made trench coats and a line of repairable umbrellas. A commitment to the environment affects every aspect of store operations, with staff plugging in energy efficient bulbs and stocking shelves made of salvaged construction waste. Jerrett’s flamboyant fashion sense extends to the store's interior, with its ever-changing theatrical window displays, hanging umbrellas, and wall of patterned rain boots.
Words aren’t always necessary to show someone you care. The florists at Blumen Floral Boutique let flowers do the talking with their colourful petals and sweet scents. To make the message as clear as possible, designer Nghia Diep and his team transform seasonal blossoms into hand-tied bouquets, boutonnieres, and bundles that spring from stylish containers such as glass blocks and ceramic pots. Blumen's team can also create large arrangements for special events such as weddings, graduations, and corporate celebrations. They deliver their aromatic masterpieces to nearly any location in the Lower Mainland.
While Blumen Floral Boutique specializes in floral arrangements, it strives to position itself as a one-stop shop for anyone looking for a thoughtful gift or simple trinket to brighten up a dreary day, such as handmade cards by local artists, scented candles, and books of motivational quotes. The boutique even offers floral-design classes and landscaping services for your patio, deck, or even full back yard.
Not many people realize that the sea undergoes a radical transformation every night. Those who have taken UBC Aqua Society's night diving course do; they’ve witnessed nocturnal creatures and plants, which are strikingly different than their daytime counterparts, first hand. This night course is just one of 15 different specialty courses offered by UBC Aqua Facility, a non-profit organization that has helped its community explore subaquatic worlds for more than 50 years.
In addition to its specialty programs, the facility offers learn-to-dive courses for beginners, as well as rescue classes that prepare students to retrieve people that can't swim or the perfectly good burrito they threw overboard in a regretful fit of rage. Through it all, the business maintains a laid-back, yet professional attitude, evidenced especially by its frequent social gatherings for club members.