Building the Foundation: Our Story So Far

Building the Foundation: Our Story So Far
Last month we shared some of our favourite moments since we opened our doors. Like every good story, there is more to tell.
While our brick and mortar shop, STORIES By SWISSBO, opened its doors in April 2022, our story began many years earlier. Why did we open a shop in the middle of the Pandemic? What led us to this location in the Shipyards District, and this moment in time? Continue reading to dive deeper into our saga.
With over 25 years in sales and distribution, and numerous countries traveled, Diana and Thomas Arn have a wealth of experience between them. Read ‘Our Story’ here. For years they have specialized in bringing European home décor, gifts, and accessories to Canada and expanding brand awareness.
Then COVID-19 hit. In 2020 life slowed down and cleared space for reflection. Diana decided to pursue her MBA at Ivey Business School. During her studies she took courses in leadership and sustainability, including a class led by the inspirational Oana Branzei, Professor of Strategy and Sustainability at Ivey Business School. The topics of sustainability and environmental stewardship struck a chord, and renewed the importance of building a business committed to those goals. Ignited with intention, Diana was now on a mission to work with brands that choose to make a positive impact on the world through social and environmental initiatives.
Innovation. Quality. Sustainability
SWISSBO has worked with quality innovators in the past, including Red Dot Design Award Winners like Secrid Holland, Orbitkey, and Chilewich. Many of these same innovative brands take steps towards environmental stewardship – so working with brands who focus on sustainability was not new to Team SWISSBO. However, a wealth of worldly experiences combined with Diana’s recent reflective contemplation led to a renewed, intentional, and focused approach of actively seeking out brands who make a positive impact in the world. Curating these brands into a retail experience was the next logical step in SWISSBO’s evolution.
With a collection of brand ideas, wealth of experience, and a clear mission statement all that was needed was a place to set up shop.

What happened next? Serendipity

Diana and Thomas had often toyed with the idea of opening their own retail shop. The challenge was in finding a suitable location for the store. Then, at just the right moment, serendipity stepped in and advanced the plot.

The Serendipity Mindset by Christian Busch, PhD is about setting up the right conditions for serendipity to occur in your life and how to be better prepared to recognize and capitalize on it when it happens. One day Thomas and Diana were taking a stroll through North Vancouver’s up-and-coming Shipyards District next to Lonsdale Quay, and noticed an available space on the ground floor of the new Promenade building. It was the perfect location and opportunity to bring the STORIES By SWISSBO dream to fruition.

With a serendipitously acquired retail front in the charming, walkable Shipyards District of Lower Lonsdale, all that was left were the finishing touches. The shop interior, designed and built by Edge Construction, was specially designed and renovated to create a one-of-a-kind space for our curated retail experience. (In fact, the interior design is one of the first things our visitors comment on!)

We hope you enjoyed reading our story so far, and hope you will join us as our journey continues.

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