I discovered PROJECT A while window shopping the streets of downtown Canmore, Alberta in the fall of 2018. I remember stepping into the shop and being in awe of the unique curated goods and the simple modern beauty of the shop. Jade Ansley, owner and artist, first launched PROJECT A in 2015 as a 2,500sqft pop up shop built from free, borrowed and recycled materials, and the shop featured 20 student artists and alumni from New Brunswick. The shop is now permanently located in Canmore and features fine craft, home decor, and art, with an affinity for all things handmade.
It was a big dream to one day have my products in the PROJECT A shop and at the beginning of 2020, Jade accepted me as an artist and welcomed my ceramics into her shop. It's been a pleasure watching customers connect with my ceramics at PROJECT A.
I decided to ask Jade a few questions, so you as customers and followers have the opportunity to get to know her and PROJECT A a bit better, and understand why I chose to have my ceramics in her shop. Trust me you'll fall in love with her boutique and curated goods, once you've read this post.
Jenna: What inspired you to launch PROJECT A?
Jade: While attending college in New Brunswick for jewelry and metalwork, I noticed many of my classmates were graduating and then immediately having to find alternate means of making money instead of pursuing a career in the arts. I wanted to create space dedicated to these emerging artists. Every bit of support helps!
Jenna: Where did you get the inspiration for the name ‘PROJECT A’ and what does it mean?
Jade: In college, during my business courses, we were to build a business plan from scratch. On the syllabus, the assignment was called ‘project a’. I couldn’t think of a name so the business plan was simply called PROJECT A. I hate naming things!
Jenna: Where do you discover the curated goods for your shop and talented artists?
Jade: Most of our sourcing is done through attending markets and browsing Instagram, however many artists find us on their own now.
Jenna: What are your biggest challenges of being a shop owner?
Jade: Staying present in my own creative process. It’s easy to get caught up with all the customers and paperwork, when my real passion is actually working with the artists, merchandising, and creating my own jewelry (which has been put on hold since opening the shop - not enough hours in the day!).
Jenna: What’s one success as an entrepreneur you are most proud of?
Jade: I am most proud of being financially independent. I make my own schedule and I have control over where my money comes from. It’s a great feeling.
Jenna: As well as being a shop owner, you are also an artist. Can you share what artistic projects you're currently working on and how you've developed these skills?
Jade: My jewelry studio was built right before COVID hit. Unfortunately the stress of it all put me behind and I have been focused entirely on keeping the shop strong. I hope to spend October developing a new line of jewelry for the holidays and I’ll go from there.
Jenna: What's the favorite part of your day?
Jade: Merchandising! We change the shop around every week and I love it so much!
Quick Rapid Fire:
1) One word to describe life as an entrepreneur: Freedom
2) Favorite place you’ve ever travelled: Thailand
3) Tea or coffee: Coffee
4) Current song on repeat: Heat Waves by Glass Animals
5) Favorite fall activity: Halloween and anything related to it!
Make sure to check out PROJECT A when you’re in Canmore next - you can also shop PROJECT A online, you're bound to find beautiful art for your life and home.
Love + An Affinity for all Things Handmade