From the back porch to the river and back, an afternoon spent with the creative minds of Spruce Collective.
Stepping into Monica’s family home in Yarrow, we were welcomed by a scent that reminded us of summer. It lingered as we were guided through her home to the back porch, where we joined Lily and Jess, Monica’s partners at Spruce Collective in Downtown Abbotsford. You could not miss the design similarities to their store. Unique finds were seen at every turn, full of character, charm and the warmth that accompanies high wooden ceilings with vintage decor.
Shortly after Monica lead us through the orchard in her backyard, to a trail her family had marked “Main Lane.” We came out from the trees to a dyke that lead to the Vedder River. Surrounded by long grass with buttercups and daisies growing amongst the blades. We took our time as we strolled towards the water and as the mosquitos began to appear, we headed back to Monica’s and finished our evening off with cherry picking before parting ways.
TFV – What are you known for in the community? What is your business?
SC – Our shop offers a curated collection of local items with a maker-story behind them alongside eclectic vintage finds and quality goods that will stand the test of time. We’re known for our collaborations with others, featuring local goods in our shop and providing a platform for other makers to sell from. We are passionate about building community and seeing others succeed.
TFV – What was the defining moment that started Spruce Collective?
SC – It would probably have to be sitting in our landlord’s office next to each other as near-strangers and signing our first 3-year lease together, without a business plan or any investment/investors.
Disclaimer: We definitely DO NOT recommend this as a business model ha!
TFV – How would you describe the differences between you three working together?
SC – Our partnership has changed dramatically in 6 years of working together, including the fact that we started as 5 and are now 3, but we feel like we’ve finally found our groove as partners.
Although our personalities are very different, our overall design aesthetics are surprisingly similar and the challenges we’ve powered through together have taught us some invaluable life lessons such as:
To be confident in our own skill sets and what we do best personally and as a company
To seek outside advice, counsel and services on what we don’t do best
To speak clearly, even when views differ, but to listen first
To hold ideas “loosely”
Brainstorming is one of our strengths…but can also lead us off course
Ideas are not owned – nothing is original – don’t take it personally
Done is often better than perfect
TFV – What would you say your design style is?
SC – Well, it’s hard to speak with one “Spruce Brain” when we all have our individual take on design but we all share a love of affordable, down-to-earth style that always includes upcycled and vintage pieces. We’re passionate about using what you already have and not following design trends…our thrill-of-the-hunt for thrifted finds is what brought us together in the first place! Connection to nature and natural elements in home decor is also another must in our books.
TFV – After 7 years in at Spruce, what is the number one thing you have learned?
SC – The value of community. Our connection to other like-minded businesses and our customer base has been a crucial part of the growth of not only our own business but the overall improvement to our Downtown neighbourhood.
TFV – What’s your go-to morning fuel, tea or coffee? How do you take it?
Jessica – Matcha tea latte with cashew milk and a bit of maple syrup. I’m fancy like that 😉
Monica – Black coffee – lots of it!
Lily – Coffee. Black.
TFV – If you had to pick a theme song for your life, what would it be? And why?
Jessica – I don’t know if I could pick a theme song for my life, but a song I’ve always liked, and try to live the message of is Moonshadow by Cat Stevens. It’s a catchy tune about finding joy and gratitude in the present moment. I also think it’s super cute when my 5 year old is singing it 🙂
Monica – Living on a Prayer by Bon Jovi. Self explanatory 🙂
Lily – Ooh tough one! My musical tastes are ALL over the place but a song that’s run through my whole life would have to be Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl. My mom has sung it to me since I was a baby, I’ve sung it to my girls (I’ve got brown eyes and so do all of my kids) and it’s a classic on any celebratory dance floor!
TFV – Tell us a little bit about your lives outside of Spruce Collective.
Jessica – I’m a mother of 2 littles who I spend my ‘home’ days with exploring local parks and forests, reading lots of books, and making crafts. Whatever ‘me’ time I get, I usually use it to create, paint or read. And the weekends are for family trips!
Monica – Full time mom of 3 (18,17, and 11 years old), and luckiest wife in Canada! My favourite hobbies are scavenging for vintage treasures and hanging out at home.
Lily – I’m a mom to 3 amazing kids and you’ll often find me out hiking or running the local trails with my pup, Margot. I’m involved with the ADBA (Abbotsford Downtown Business Association) as well as a local entrepreneurs group called A&Co and I’m always planning my next outdoor and/or travelling adventure!
TFV – If you were graduating High School right now, what would each of you do?
Jessica – Oh to be 18 again 😉 Coastal road trip for sure!
Monica – I’d spend a year on all the Pacific Ocean beaches!
Lily – Go away to University for a degree in Architecture.
TFV – If each of you could recommend one place in the Fraser Valley, what would it be? And why?
Jessica – There are so many places I love, but Aldergrove park is a favourite. It’s close by, and a great spot to explore with kids.
Monica – Spruce Collective, of course!
Lily – The Vedder River in Yarrow is our go-to beach spot and we’re there at least a few times a week in the Summer. I won’t tell you our “secret” spot but there are many awesome ones along the Yarrow and Chilliwack sides of the river.
TFV – Where do you find your retreat in the Fraser Valley?
Jessica – Any forested area including our local creeks. I feel most alive when I’m with the trees, and it’s always the best part of the day with my kids.
Monica – At home in Yarrow 🙂
Lily – In the hills. I hike up Ledgeview with my pup at least a couple of times a week. It’s less than a 6-minute drive from my house but feels like the middle the woods and I often don’t see anyone else. And yes, I pack bear spray 🙂
TFV – If you were a destination, where would you be?
Jessica – A small island covered in forest and surrounded by ocean.
Monica – Anywhere in the Pacific Northwest! I’m drawn to the water so the Vedder River or any beach along the coast.
Lily – The ocean. On a bay full of islands. With a beach made for sunbathing but plenty of deep dark tide pools to explore.
It was a pleasure to spend the afternoon getting to know the three partners behind Spruce. Next time we step off Montrose Avenue into their store, we know the décor will remind us of Monica’s home and the trails we once explored behind it.