Tory Culen, owner of Hideout Local Distro, represents the work of over 30 local musicians, artists and designers. Hidden away in the basement of the Mercer Warehouse on 104 Street, Hideout Local Distro acts as a combination retail outlet, jewelry design studio and community workshop space.
We sat down with Tory to discuss the intention (and necessity) of this up-and-coming retail store:
Why did you choose to open a shop that specifically sells Edmonton goods and the work of Edmonton-based artists?
There is so much amazing work being made in this city! Our art and music scene is rich with talent, but it can be a real struggle for artists to make a living solely from their art and still have excess to put back into the process and create new work - but with more outlets and more exposure, it IS possible.
For most of us in the design community, it's a part of our lives. Having an opportunity to create makes us happier and healthier people, overall. Locally-focused shops also feed the culture of every thriving city. It's a matter of wanting to support my personal community of artists, designers and musicians - the ones I have grown to know well and am really proud of. The goal of Hideout is to expose their work to the general public who may not know about it yet, and in turn be able to get some of those bucks back in their pockets so they can continue to do great things.
Hideout Local Distro exists within the unconventional Vacancy Hall in the Mercer Warehouse, how has Vacancy Hall helped with the success of your business?
Vacancy Hall has provided a unique space for a community of entrepreneurs for a reasonable rate that made doing this, building Hideout possible. It's been amazing to use the halls of Vacancy Hall for art shows, concerts and music events, markets and workshops too.
What do you like about doing business in Edmonton?
Edmonton is becoming more and more competitive, with many new businesses popping up. That's been happening over the last few years because there was room for it. Not every niche has been filled and not every market saturated, so there are still opportunities for new ideas to be realized. For the most part, we have a wonderfully supportive community here and so far my favourite part has been doing business in a way that is collaborative rather than competitive.
Hideout represents over 30 local artists, musicians, product designers and manufacturers. Who are your favourite Edmonton designers or manufacturers, and why?
Julie Adams from Of Quartz Interiors has become a regular collaborator with me / Hideout Distro since we began hosting her Macrame workshops (that sell out every time!). I carry a range of her wall hangings, plant hangers, cushions and blankets. Her work is stunning and I believe her attention to detail is top-notch. We help each other out and bounce ideas off each other whenever we can.
Arturo Denim - Can you even believe that we have a local denim company? Not only do Janna and James make the best high-waist raw Japanese denim jeans for ladies, dudes are loving their jeans just as much. They worked hard to perfect their fit, and took time to source the best quality denim. They offer free alterations and hemming for any pair purchased, and they also support local designers! So, of course, I'm 100% behind them.
Libertine Fragrance - Josh Smith is an industrial designer/mad scientist who creates rich, unique, complex, luxurious Unisex roll-on and Eau de toilette fragrances with earthy, sensual base notes and fresh top notes that people really connect with. His packaging is equally thoughtful and charming.
What else do you want the Edmonton community to know about Hideout?
Hideout is here to build community and collaborate, providing a platform for artists to get their work out there. It is an all-encompassing curated collection of Edmonton's most notable musicians, artists and designers. I know their processes and their backgrounds. I share their stories with customers as a way to bridge the gap between "product" and "consumer" by familiarizing people with the person or people behind the work. Hideout is an unconventional store, tucked off the beaten path that isn't just about selling goods but bringing people together and building creative momentum.