Ode to North American Makers: BRIKA
Having recently celebrated their first birthday, BRIKA is a North American e-commerce site devoted to sharing and celebrating modern well-crafted goods from Canada and the United States. Originating from the Spanish word fabrica, which means ‘factory’, BRIKA co-founders, Jen Lee Koss and Kena Paranjape relish the irony of their company name as the products on their site are neither generic, nor mass produced. “We came up with the name with help from Kena’s mother who is a linguist” shares Jen.
The company started in 2012 in San Francisco and later established a presence in Toronto with a pop-up shop with the Hudson’s Bay Company, bringing life to the empowering stories they share about their designers, producers and makers on their site. Although the company is now based in Toronto, Jen and Kena continue to search across the continent for small batch home accessories and gift items with a captivating story for their online shop. “We search for beautiful, modern goods—that serve a purpose! We’re always on the lookout for unique, handcrafted pieces that will brighten a room, add charm, and help bring together a table setting” says Jen of the locally made goods featured on BRIKA.
INTERVIEW: Jen Lee Koss + Kena Paranjape, Co-Founders, BRIKA, Toronto, Canada
01 Do you entertain at home? If so, what is your entertaining style? What are you cooking these days?
Kena: I like to stack up plenty of cutlery, colorful napkins and the like, so it’s easy for people to help themselves. As for cooking, last night I tried a delicious Bon Appétit recipe: Pumpkin shrimp coconut curry with brown rice. When entertaining, I prep as much as I can in advance (the more you prep, the most time you’ll have to spend with your guests!). I try to bring personality to the table, by using lots of colour, and keeping it casual.
Jen: I made something amazing this past weekend (with a little help from Smitten Kitchen): Lamb chops with mint and rosemary; wild rice gratin with kale and caramelized onions; plus, an amazing dessert: a marbled pumpkin ginger-snap tart.
02 What is going on in the Canadian design scene these days?
A little bit of everything! There are the bright and bold textiles of Avril Loreti, the modern porcelain jars by Claire Madill of Heyday Design, and traditional trivets by Freshly Printed. Other Canadian designers we love include Swaine Street Woodworking, for well-crafted cutting boards, Dahlhaus, for porcelain vases perfect for bouquets, and pi’lo ,for her linen napkins.
03 What are your top five tableware items on BRIKA at the moment?
- Glisten Candle Holders by Wind & Willow. Maker, Araya Jensen, crafts gorgeous hand-dipped spoons and bowls to match.
- A Green Forest Table Runner by Avril Loreti, who also creates them in Sante Fe and Herringbone patterns. Plus, we love her adorable Paint Chip Placemats!
- Add a playful element to each table setting with these Grey Dots Napkins by Portland-based Maker Anna Joyce.
- Put your favorite dishes on a pedestal with this White Curve Birch Pedestal Platter by Simply Sofie (and get cute placecard holders to match!).
Photo Source: BRIKA
04 What can be found on your table when you entertain at home?
Kena: Brightly coloured napkins, pretty tea towels, and fresh cut flowers, of course.
Jen: Candles–definitely! They’re such a simple way to elevate a table setting.
05 Where do you turn for tableware inspiration?
We turn to our favorite blogs, restaurants (they have it down to an art!), and our Makers. We love to see what the designers and artists in our community are coming up with in terms of new styles and colours.
06 Do you ship internationally?
Almost all of our products ship to both Canada and the US (and always we specify if otherwise).