January 06, 2021 4 min read
In her world is our new journal series, meant to help you stay connected with inspiring, like-minded women until we can all resume to meet face-to-face again.
Based in Vancouver, BC, Veria curates gorgeous and thoughtful pieces for her vintage shop, Kollection By Irie. Read about the story of how she got started, what her favourite part of re-furbishing furniture is, and her greatest inspiration.
Tell us about you and your story.
Hello, my name is Veria Laemmle, a mama of two and a wife. I am from Malawi, and I have loved vintage and interior design since forever.
Long story short, I guess it goes way back in my teen years in Malawi, second hand markets (known as Kaunjika) were my go to places to shop for clothes. Even when it was considered very uncool at times, somehow it felt natural to me because this is where I could find the ‘unconventional clothes’, which was and still is a style that I gravitate towards.
When I was 20, I moved to England for my studies, and again ‘charity shops’ (it’s how we call thrift stores in the UK) were the places I would shop for pieces that suited my style.
When I first moved into my own apartment, my approach on finding pieces for the home was the same; searching for old pieces that felt like they had more character than whatever was available on retail. My obsession with interior designing only grew from then on, which later lead to projects, helping family and friends restyle their homes.
In 2016 when I had my first child, I resigned from my 9-5 job as I wanted to spend more time with my daughter in her early years and at the same time have the flexibility to pursue my passion. I went on ahead and studied interior design online, and continued taking on both residential and commercial interior design projects.
In December 2018, we decided to move to Vancouver, Canada. From then on, things came full circle as I was searching for pieces to furnish our new home. I found myself curating pieces that I eventually would resell on Instagram as @kollectionbyirie and through this community, I have also gained clients that have asked me to work further with them to help restyle their homes.
The journey has been amazing thus far. I have fully embraced the sustainable lifestyle and being able to incorporate both vintage and interior design in one business is beyond a dream.
Where do you find your greatest inspiration from?
My greatest inspiration comes from my African heritage, the colours, shapes, lifestyle, and people. I often get ideas from places and things that catch my eye daily. Also, I get a lot of inspiration from everything that doesn’t work in my own home.
We love the pieces you picked out for your shop. When sourcing them, what do you look for? Are you drawn to specific silhouettes/shapes?
I am drawn to pieces I can see in my home, this also makes the whole process of styling and shooting to be more organic.
Other than what our world has been experiencing all together, what has been the biggest change in your life last year?
The biggest change has been adding on a full-time business to my role as a full-time mama of two and learning to focus on the important things and that it is ok to let some things go, like the messy kids toys at the end of the night that can wait until the next morning to be tidied up.
What does “self-care” look like to you?
Ohhhh self-care has been benched a lot this year, but in a normal situation (which I am hoping I can get back to in 2021), self-care is an early night in bed.
What is your favourite piece of furniture in your home? Tell us the story behind it...
My favourite piece in our home right now is not necessarily furniture, but the Iringa mat that we brought with us when we moved from Malawi in 2018. This is an organic African mat that is handwoven in Tanzania from natural fibres.
What do you enjoy most about re-furbishing the pieces you sell?
It’s the part of feeling like you are customizing a vintage piece for a modern client. I also very much enjoy the process of transforming a piece and adding more life to it whilst keeping in mind that the piece has so much history. The end result of refurbishing is always satisfying.
How do you plan on keeping yourself motivated and emotionally supported as we go into 2021?
Good question - staying grateful for everything I have right in front of me, and only sharing love and light to the world, that’s the best I can do on my part, and that can only be good for my soul.
Thank you so much for having me and all the best to you Laïla.
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