Pretty Grit is a lovely little shop on James St North, home to some of my favourite things: cheeky pillows and greeting cards, lovely tea pots and heavenly birthday cake scented candles. Pretty Grit opened in July and features items for the bedroom, kitchen, and living room, sourcing from Montreal, Toronto, and of course, Hamilton.
Annie Horton and Amanda Cordero met through a mutual friend, bonded over online dating, and quickly became good friends themselves. They got together during last year’s Supercrawl and by January, had decided to work on a project together.
They both moved back to their hometown of Hamilton to be part of something special: “It was more about doing something here in Hamilton than opening a store,” they say. “The store was our favourite idea but we do have other things we want to do in Hamilton. We want to work on other projects in the city and expand our brand.”
Keep an eye out for a holiday fundraiser coming this winter. But in the meantime, stop by Pretty Grit’s beautifully designed, modern space for some home inspiration, house wares, and unique gifts.
If you spend over $30 before 3pm this Saturday during Supercrawl, you’ll get to enjoy a delicious (and free!) mimosa.
You both come from different creative backgrounds. Why did you decide to open Pretty Grit and sell housewares together in Hamilton?
We met up in the winter for a drink and were both looking to create major changes in our lives. We wanted to work on a project together, as we felt that we both had similar tastes and the intention of creating something special in Hamilton. We felt that our separate talents would compliment each others and we would make a great partnership. We chose housewares as we both have a love for spaces and the things in them and felt that there was a need for a great housewares store in Hamilton.
What brought you back to Hamilton after living and studying elsewhere?
We are both from Hamilton originally, growing up in the South West. After High School we both left.
Amanda: I went abroad, living in England for a year and then returned to attend Ryerson for Fashion in Toronto. After living and working in Toronto for eight years I moved back to Hamilton, as I wanted to be apart of the change that was occurring here.
Annie: I moved to Ottawa for three years to study theatre. My roommate at the time was also in the theatre program so we decided to leave Ottawa and move to Toronto together in 2010. After a year in Toronto I moved home to Hamilton and finished my degree at McMaster and pursued a post grad in Public Relations. I worked in PR and communications for a while for a nonprofit where I was able to network a ton and meet really cool, interesting people doing really cool interesting things here in the city. Being around those types of people you can’t help but want to be a part of it as well.
You curate new and found housewares. Where do you find your products and how do you choose what fits best with your store?
Our products are sourced from many different places. We have a mix of hand made, wholesale and found or “used” products. We are building up the lines we carry constantly to keep it fresh and expand on the amount of products we carry. We try to look for products that we find interesting and beautiful, conveniently we have for the most part always agreed on what we see in the store and what we don’t. From the beginning, we have had a vision for the store’s aesthetic that is separate from our own personal style. We want to have mix of products that are light, clean and colourful with an industrial edge, hence Pretty Grit.
Do you sell any products specifically made in Hamilton?
At this point our only Hamilton artist is Elissa Barber of Ospre Studio, who makes our custom tapestries as well as illustrations. We will be launching a new Hamilton inspired print at Supercrawl.
What are your personal styles for decorating your own homes?
Amanda: I personally go for an eclectic style, mixing modern with antiques. I like to mix my prints and layer with varying textures. At the moment my favourite accent is gold. I have even done an accent wall with thin horizontal gold stripes. I like to add a touch of luxury with velvets, floor to ceiling drapes and a touch of sparkle while keeping a generally neutral palette.
Annie: I suppose my personal style is very much so inspired by my parents and how I was raised. My parents always would take me antiquing and to flea markets so our house was always filled with really neat pieces. My dad especially, he had a studio filled with retro and vintage décor, which I ended up inheriting a lot of when he decided to do a big purge. I like white walls so I can fill them with whatever print or piece of art I find along the way. I went through a big phase of picking up vintage ads a few years back so I have quite a few of those laying around. I guess I like things with a story.
What is your go-to spot for home decor inspiration? Do you have any favourite stores or brands?
Amanda: I love Anthropologie, not just for their products but for the care and attention put into their displays and how they constantly look outside of the box. I have never really focused on brands as I find you can find beauty and inspiration anywhere. It is all about one’s personal style and how you put your pieces together.
Annie: I can’t say I’ve ever followed a certain brand or store. The Internet is a crazy place where you can find inspiration ANYWHERE. The other week when I was painting my house I Googled “grey and white bedroom” and found lots of ideas there. However, from the very beginning Amanda and I had decided that Anthro would be a big inspiration for the store. As she mentioned, they have so many beautiful things. I guess my only reason for not saying it’s a go-to spot for inspiration is because I can’t afford any of it. Ha!
I love wood cutting boards, tea cups, and unique greeting cards. Is there a certain accessory you love and can’t have enough of?
Amanda: Anything gold. But more specifically I like to buy varying bowls and glass ware. I like to mix and match, I’ll by different printed bowls and make sets.
Annie: I like pillows. My boyfriend thinks it’s ridiculous. We had 10 on the bed so I cut it down to 8 to “compromise.” I also like green Depression glass.
What are some affordable statement pieces you can recommend for someone who isn’t ready to totally redecorate to easily spice up their home?
Amanda: Pillows, throws, and a coat of paint can go a long way. If you choose your larger pieces in neutral tones, you can constantly recreate your space. Accessories are the cheapest way to change up a space. In the kitchen, you can change the knobs on your cabinets and add a splash of colour with counter top accessories to change up the look.
Annie: Pillows, absolutely. That’s one of the reasons our pillow section is one of our biggest and cheapest. We want people to be able to come in and pick something up to quickly change their space. Also, go to Antique Avenue, check their vintage ad section, (they are in a wooden crate) pick one up, then head to Ikea or the dollar store and pop it in a frame. There you go, a new/old, inexpensive, piece of art to hang.
Visit Pretty Grit at 128 James St North