An evolving creative duo
Léonie Lilla and wife, Alice Clarkson, share their style and positive worldview every day at their unique store Pipler, where every gorgeous object is either sustainable, made locally, charity-focused, and/or gender-neutral. Here they share how they came to be partners in business and (most importantly) in life, why it’s necessary to know where the objects that surround us come from, and so much more.
How did you two meet?
Alice: We met at a bar. I was there for a friend’s birthday, Léonie was having her first night out in months (#cheflife). Its cliché, but it worked. Léonie told me she didn’t know how to get home, and asked to stay the night. I was convinced it was a ploy but it was perfectly innocent (she can’t find her way out of a paper bag). I drew her a map to get to her work in the morning, and I think she stuck around for the maps. I still draw them when she has to go somewhere new.
How did you come to open your beautiful store Pipler (based on integrity) together?
Alice: I was in fashion at major retailers in marketing. I was starting to find it a little frustrating that no one was focused on where this stuff was coming from and if it had a respectable origin. Obviously I also wanted to work for myself, so this seemed like a logical step.
Léonie: I am a chef by trade, born, raised and trained in Switzerland. I saw an opportunity to work with my wife and knew we would make an unstoppable team. I love cabbage town and was excited to start something there, being focused on community. Plus, I am getting to fall in love with food again as a consumer and give a chance to one of my other loves: Fashion.
Why are the stories of the objects we surround ourselves with so important?
All objects have stories. Whether they are positive, negative, or neutral is a choice, and we believe in the positive. You can make a decision to know where your things come from, and it doesn’t take much to have some level of awareness on the traceability them, knowing if they made a difference to a person, or a community, or a struggling economy. We believe that you should be allowed to go somewhere and trust where your objects come from. At Pipler you can buy anything and know it comes from a good place and has integrity and not feel like you are sacrificing something.
What do you love most about Toronto?
Alice: The people. The fact that no one is from here, or everyone is from here. Summertime. The greenery. The manners.
Léonie: It’s randomness. The sense of community you feel, event though its such a large city. You get it from the neighborhood love and pride people have and the fact that you still run into people unexpectedly.
Lastly could you share three of your favorite places in your neighborhood and tell us what you like about them?
Alice: House on Parliament (Sunday Roast Dinner is so bad/good)
Léonie: Jet Fuel (best coffee and ginger-lemonades ever)
Our dogs: Riverdale Park, we love to eat grass and pretend we are bigger than 5 lbs.