Introduce yourself and your business
My husband and I started Modern Imagination because I saw all plastic one-time-use toys in our house and I wanted a system of play that would be environmental and educating yet so much fun kids wouldn’t realize they were developing a skill. It literally started with one bear that I drew and then Geoff cut out. We wanted to raise bear management awareness to tourists in our area and also to our children. One bear lead to another, and then Geoff tried balancing several of them – and the rest grew from there. Every toy must have more than one way to be played with and spark imaginative play, or it doesn’t go further than the shop. Luckily, we have the best test group of munchkins: our own.
How do you stay creative?
Ha, being creative is never a problem for me. Curtailing the explosion of ideas – now there’s the challenge. My list of toy ideas is about 3 dozen deep, and I’m constantly interfering with my own production plan with sudden ideas that I must. Make. Right. Now.
Is your workshop / creative space neat & tidy or a beautiful mess?
A wonderful and frustrating reflection of the cosmic ideas that rattle around my head.
Tell us about how your product is made. What is your favourite part?
I get almost giddy with creating, so when an idea hits, I just grab a piece of paper to sketch it out, and then play with it for a while before I give it to Geoff to cut out. Usually he makes edits by reminding me wood can only be cut so thin before it snaps, or that having a toy that takes him 5 hours to cut out doesn’t make sense. We re-jig it together and then he makes Mark 1. We have to make anywhere from 3 to 15 versions before we’re happy that it won’t break or be a choking hazard, and that it will still look modern and inviting.
What’s the most challenging part of your business?
Trying to do it with two screen-free munchkins at my ankles! I have had to get very creative with my “office hours” and the activities I invite the kiddos to do so that I can print shipping labels. My 4.5 year old helps me package the toys so I have to allow extra time for her work, and sometimes it’s so frustrating – especially when I’m watching the clock tick to the cut-off time for the post office.
Are you a Creative full-time? If not, what’s your day job?
This is our side hustle, and I’m a freelance writer and mom during the day (I just don’t sleep at night); Geoff is a carpenter.
What do you wish customers knew about you or your business?
That wood is from Nature and Nature isn’t perfect, no matter how hard we can cut, sand, carve, and paint it. And that it takes a long time to make one item because we’re doing it by hand. A learning tower, for instance, takes 2 days because we cut it out, sand it down, finish it, assemble it, and then disassemble it for shipping.
What is your favorite place to hang on the West Coast?
Oh, that’s a tough one since I’m a PNW girl through and through. Tofo is where we were married and calls for our return each year but I also love climbing in Squamish. You just can’t beat our granite.
Will you have any new products or designs at this year’s Made In Canada market?
I recently made some colour matching snails for my daughter’s birthday and I only intended them to be for her, but since posting them on Instagram and sharing the reason for making them, I have had a number of requests for them to be in our shop, so I’ll be bringing a few sets of those to the market.
Born and raised in the Vancouver area or do you come from afar?
We live in Squamish but I was born in Vancouver and Geoff lived in Whistler since he was 3.
Pineapple on pizza – yay or nay?
Oh 100% YAY, baby! Why wouldn’t you want sweet deliciousness that reminds you of Hawaii on your pizza?