Bee You celebrates one year

(editor’s note: the interview for this story was conducted on April 2)

CARP – Jess Vaillancourt has been busy as a bee in her first year of owning and operating her gently used and locally designed boutique and consignment store in downtown Carp.

Vaillancourt’s store, Bee You Creative Styles and Expressions, occupies the second floor of The Hive – a beautiful brick home converted to commercial space at 3775 Carp Rd.,

West Carleton Online was happy to drop by for visit on April 2 to help celebrate the important milestone for every small business. After 10 years in urban Ottawa, Vaillancourt was ready to return to her country roots.

“I am not from a retail background,” said Vaillancourt, a California native. “But I was working at a consignment store in Ottawa called Clothes Encounters of a Second Time. I’m originally from a rural area in California and I was looking to move to the rural area.”

Bee You owner Jess Vaillancourt, a California native, brings her style as well as sharing some local treasures as well. Photo by Jake Davies
Bee You owner Jess Vaillancourt, a California native, brings her style as well as sharing some local treasures as well. Photo by Jake Davies

The place was already operating as a clothing store called Gypsy’s for the previous three years and Vaillancourt was able to purchase the business. She took advantage of the infrastructure in place, added her own flavour and grew from there. She says she had a pretty clear vision from the start.

“Absolutely, I wanted to take Gypsy’s and turn it in to a place that had clothes and accessories people didn’t have access to before,” Vaillancourt said.

Vaillaincourt says she grew up dancing on the beaches of California, travelling and living in Europe and working with children in dance and literacy as well as stops in catering and the food industry and used that experience to flavour her shop.

“It’s a bit more Bohemian,” she said. “I believe really strongly in the idea of using what we already have. The creativity that comes out of that is really inspiring.”

Vaillancourt moved to the area with her family, her husband and two daughters, about the same time as she opened the store.

“I love the school here,” she said. “The area is beautiful so I’m excited to be part of what is growing.”

Vallaincourt says she sees growth in the consignment industry as well – a unique, more environmentally  friendly niche in the fashion industry.

“It seems to be becoming more popular,” she said. “I remember as a kid with my mom shopping at consignment stores, but back then it wasn’t considered environmental. But buying used is buying local. It’s directly supporting the community.”

And Vaillancourt says she helps support the community as well.

“The amount of things I get in a day is crazy,” she said. “I couldn’t possibly fit it all in the store. So, I work with Savvy Seconds and it makes sense to help where I can. I do thigs a little different than other stores. Many of them are interested in trends while I’m much more interested in quality. I like the eclectic options. I like to see the uniqueness in people. That’s why we’re called Bee You.”

For more information on Bee You, click here.