Comment ca va?

There is a word the French in Québec have come up with to describe a type of store. That word is friperie.

A friperie is a type of store where one can find a real bargain, help save the environment and reduce overhead costs. It is another name for “consignment store, second-hand store, thrift store, new-and-used store”, etc.

Montréal has many friperies. Some actually do take consignment goods, but many of them are a place where one can find, after rummaging around for a while, some great old dish sets and mugs, candle holders and do dads.

Our little flat has been decorated with many finds from our local Verdun friperie. This place is actually a Salvation Army outlet with a takeoff on the name (it is spelled “fripe prix” – clever and cool sounding).

When we leave here, most of our wares will go back to be recycled once again. It is a great simplistic way of living and has certainly made me re-think what it is that I actually need or what it is that I just want.

In Whitehorse, I would sometimes frequent the “Sally Ann” thrift store. The finds there may not be as fashionable as the finds here, but the store really serves its purpose for many people. My favourite place in Whitehorse, however, was Sequels.

Grant and I used to have a morning ritual we called “Sequels and a cinnamon bun!” We would do a drop-off or a pickup; I would get my allowance (tee hee) from Sequels, then zip next store to Chocolate Claim for a cinnamon bun (I mentioned my take on these cinnamon buns in a past article).

We’ll be back at it again come summer.

There are a few really high-end friperies here in Montréal, too. As some of you know, I have my little clothing line, CC Slips. The General Store on Main St. thankfully bought my last year’s supply. They may still be in the store if you are curious about them.

Anyway, I went to a few of these high-end stores peddling my product. One place was very, I’ll say, snooty. The owner was arguing with a client when I walked in, so she was probably in a bit of a foul mood when I approached her. She looked at my wares and said, “Cute”, then looked at my selling price and basically said that she didn’t waste her time on such low-cost items.

OK, my slips are not expensive considering the time involved in creating them, but for someone to say that she doesn’t waste her time on such a small amount of money, told me that this store was for the “la-te-das” of society, people who probably can afford to shop anywhere (although, in these economic times, who knows).

I took my slips to another place owned by a pleasant British lady. She, too, thought the slips were cute and actually agreed to take a few. She phoned me next day to say that two had sold immediately, but she was heading over to England for the winter and the shop would be closed while she was gone. I went back, collected my money, took my additional slips, thanked her and she wished me good luck and I left.

I wonder if she really did go to England …

The next place I found was on Boulevard Saint-Laurent, a not-so-nice part of downtown, although the area is improving slowly but surely. I have to say that this shop is really fun. It also rents out costumes, so it is filled with clothes dating back to who knows when, all the way through to the latest fashion.

It also has a little coffee bar (always a hit with me). It is messy, a little unorganized and somewhat dusty, but that is part of its charm. Eva B is the name, and the owner said she would gladly take my slips. I had found my little consignment niche.

I have been supplying them with CC Slips all winter and have made a bit of money. The tags say “Designed in Yukon”, which makes the slips a great conversation piece as well.

There was just a write-up, on friperies, in The Gazette, Montréal’s English newspaper, and Eva B’s was a place that topped the list in the article. My slips were even in one of the pictures.

This is a place that I would like to keep the door open for future visits. As I mentioned, I will be back in Whitehorse soon and hopefully will be frequenting Sequels again. I have a little bit of Montréal fashion to trade in.

Friperies are great, and I am happy there are several in Whitehorse. I think it is a smart way to shop. What is fashion anyway? Isn’t it true, “Everything old is new again”?

See you soon.

Your friend,

Dale