Treasures of The Button Box Boutique
Starting as a small antique studio 13 years ago, The Button Box is now a delightful boutique found along Mill St. in Downtown Chilliwack. Full of unique Canadian-made finds, Jeanie Blecker and her daughter April seek out merchandise that speaks to them, fitting both their taste and trends. As you browse around, the beautiful antique pieces they display their products on stand out. It’s the thoughtful way they compliment how their boutique began.
During our visit, we captured Jeanie and April as they touched up their displays and even snuck out for a moment to visit one of their favourite shops, the Little Village Shoe Boutique next door. After hearing them talk about all their friendly neighbours, we can’t wait to see what comes next for the Downtown Chilliwack community.
TFV: Where did the vision of The Button Box Boutique come from?
JB: The vision for The Button Box has changed over the years and seems to always be evolving as we find new avenues to explore. The original shop started in the studio on our property 13 years ago when antiques and repurposed items were my passion. At that time, I was attending flea markets, garage sales, estate sales, and auctions as often as I could. I loved sourcing unique items that needed TLC, a coat of new paint, or could be repurposed in some way. As the years went by, and the shop grew, my tastes changed and I become intrigued and inspired by the mix of new and old, particularly when it came to decorating. We steer away from cookie cutter decorating and love colour texture, and always a hint of surprise. Mixing in beautiful antique pieces adds history and character to any space. Most importantly though, I believe the shop has maintained a sense of whimsy, fun, and definitely the pretty feminine side shines through as we explore product lines that suit our style.
TFV: What’s the story behind the name of your business?
JB: As a little girl growing up, I have sweet memories of a family treasure. It was my mom’s sewing box filled to the brim with buttons. If I happened to be home from school with the sniffles or flu, eventually boredom would set in. To ease my restlessness, my mom would suggest I look through the beloved button box. It was a shabby colourful antique cookie tin, with a hinged lid, all of which added to the charm. Inside was a treasure trove of buttons galore, all shapes, sizes, colours, and textures. The first thing I would do is stick my little fingers right into the middle of the pile and swish them about creating the sweetest sound. I then had the option of sorting the buttons by colour or size but best of all I would search for that one special tiny button that looked like an opal. I would pretend it was a jewel with all of the dreamy iridescent colours that seemed to shine from within.
Later in life, my mom developed Alzheimer’s Disease. It was a terribly sad and traumatic time, particularly when she had to go into more advanced care. I remember embarking on the task of packing her belongings and as I reached into the last drawer I came across the beloved button box. At that moment in time, through my tears of sorrow, seeing the button box flooded me with so many memories. Memories of another time when my childhood was happy and simple pleasures were not to be taken for granted.
TFV: The Button Box Boutique has a very distinct style. What do you look for in the products you carry?
JB: There is no definitive way we look for products, but it is more of a feeling we get when we are exploring new lines. Lucky for us, these days many vendors reach out to us and introduce their lines. From there we explore where the product is made, how it is sourced, and the overall aesthetic. We all love fashion and we try very hard to keep up with trends and bring a unique sense of style to the Fraser Valley. I suppose you could say we enjoy bringing the city vibe to our shop. Not everyone likes to shop online and there is something to be said about visiting a nice shop, seeing products firsthand, and when it comes to clothing, having the option to try things on.
TFV: What is your hope for people after they’ve experienced coming to your store?
JB: I hope when people visit our boutique they are inspired. They appreciate what we have created in our visual displays, and enjoy the products lines we have carefully curated. Our hope is that the shop comes across as a happy, fun place to visit and you will find our friends are always popping by for a visit. Our motto is “leave all of your worries at the door” come in and browse and enjoy the shopping experience.
TFV: We heard something will be rolling out in 2019! What can we expect?
JB: Our goal for 2019 is a big one, a bit of a pivotal year for us. We are finally moving forward and will be introducing a modern point of sale system. My wonderful staff is thrilled we will be departing from my dated, write everything down system. To be honest, it is getting ridiculously hard to track inventory. Most importantly, we plan to offer online shopping to our customers. This will be quite the hurdle, as we weave our way through all of the many ins and outs of setting things up, but in the long run it will be another extension of our boutique.
TFV: Tell us more about ‘The #buttonbox Stories’ and what evoked the idea?
JB: We are working alongside Very Good Creative and between us, we came up a concept of “mybuttonbox” stories for the home. Some of our frequent buyers, who share our design concepts, have many items purchased from our shop. It’s one thing to see an item on a shelf in a store, but quite another to actually see it on display in someone’s beautiful home. For those people who struggle with decorating it can really help.
TFV: What are some local IG accounts you like to follow in the Valley?
JB: Instagram is so much fun! We follow many of our fellow entrepreneurs who own businesses in our community, whether big or small. There are also some local bloggers who get our attention and we love seeing their busy family lifestyles. In particular, our favourite categories include home décor, floral, fashion, and day to day living. We appreciate seeing the get real approach where not everything is perfect and can actually get quite messy at times.
TFV: What local businesses inspire you? Why?
JB: Lolly’s has been a big inspiration to me. Lois, the owner has had her store for many years and she has taught me a lot. I like to think of her has my mentor and we spend time together sharing and bouncing ideas off of one another which is fantastic.
Dresses or Denim Jeans?
I am definitely a jeans girl, although I do love to wear dresses when it’s warm out. I finally found a brand of jeans that fits my body type and I am SO happy!
Pastels or Shades?
Love love love soft pastels and I am drawn to the muted shades in both design of the home and fashion. That being said, the beauty of having options is, I might change my mind tomorrow!
Ruffles or Lace?
I love ruffles, but sadly ruffles don’t love me. My body shape doesn’t lend itself to wearing an item with added fabric. That being said, when purchasing clothing for the store, I have been known to order items with ruffles and bows (wink wink). Lace? Of course I love lace!
TFV: Where do you find inspiration in the Fraser Valley?
JB: Living in the Fraser Valley is fantastic! Inspiration can be found just looking out my kitchen window! Seriously, the mountain views keep me grounded. I try to remind myself every day to appreciate where we live.
TFV: Where is your go to spot in the Fraser Valley to retreat?
JB: Walking on Vedder River Trail is epic. The beauty of that walk is it never gets boring and it is close to where I live, so that is an added bonus. We are so lucky to live here!
TFV: How would you describe your perfect day in the Fraser Valley?
JB: My perfect day is really quite simple. On a warm sunny day, I love to take my coffee in hand, grab my laptop, and head out to my deck. The view of Mount Cheam is spectacular and the yard is always bustling with many birds and squirrels. I have comfy and cozy outdoor furniture where I can sit peacefully and work from home. It’s brilliant.
Specializing in apparel, beauty, home decor and baby gear; the collections at The Button Box Boutique are curated to perfection. Whether you’re shopping for a friend or treating yourself, it’s unlikely you’ll leave empty handed!