Over the next four weeks Edmonton Made will profile each member of the selection committee for Gifted, the Edmonton Made gift guide. The six-person panel, in consultation with Edmonton Made, will choose the products that will appear in the 2018 edition of Edmonton Made’s signature catalogue. Find out more about the selection process here.
It took years of 80-hour weeks for Kyla Kazeil to save enough to open her own retail outlet.
Even after Bamboo Ballroom opened its doors along Calgary Trail in the trendy Old Strathcona district, Kazeil and her business partner Anastasia Boruk kept bootstrapping — slinging drinks and cutting hair to give themselves a paycheque.
“I wanted to give our store a fair shot,” says Kazeil. “Retail is really hard. The rents are high; the margins aren’t. It’s very difficult to be successful.”
Twelve years later, Kazeil still splits her time between four jobs. Co-owner of Bamboo Ballroom, The Common, 9910, and her newest venture, Grandin Fish ‘n’ Chips, she is constantly juggling bookings with purchasing and business development.
“Four is a good number for now,” says Kazeil. “But [Bamboo Ballroom] was my dream and has always been my passion.”
From the outset, the boutique distinguished itself by offering local designers a retail platform for a fair price. Operating under both a consignment and a concession model, Bamboo Ballroom has acted as a launching pad for countless Edmonton makers and entrepreneurs, including current manager Christine Drager, who has been running Lil’ Rascalz Shop, a children’s apparel store, out of the space since May 2017.
A true community builder, all of Kazeil’s ventures were born out of a collaborative spirit and a desire to make Edmonton a better place to live.
The Common, for example, began as a hub for the city’s underserved DJ scene. Quickly outgrowing its original 124 Street location, the lounge was relocated downtown in 2012, where newly hired chef Jesse Morrison-Gauthier propelled it to the top of local food listings.
Five years later, Kazeil partnered with the chef to bring his vision of a Prairie-style fish and chip joint to life.
“My mentality is if everyone wants to be a part of what you’re doing [you should include them,]” says Kazeil. “I would give a little piece [of my businesses] to a lot of different people if it meant that we could keep them, grow more, and have them be empowered.”
A self-made woman, Kazeil knows what it takes to run a sustainable business and is happy to lend her expertise to this year’s Gifted selection committee. Joined by five other members of the business, design and influencer community, she hopes to continue boosting local designers through this experience.