Ände (pronounced Ah-nuh) means to breathe in Danish. “It’s a reminder to slow down, pause, and take our time in life. It is a gentle nod to my Danish grandmother, Inger, who had the best exhale of all time,” shares Kiersten Hatanaka, owner of the newly opened shop at 26 Ontario St.
Having wanted to do this for a very long time, Kiersten is over the moon to open the doors to her very first retail shop. Thanks to her artist hubby, Kellen, and other local tradespeople, Kiersten’s space with its clean, cool, spacious vibe was opened in rapid speed, from shop conception to fruition.
A massage therapist for 12 years, Kiersten always had this idea in the back of her mind as her “next step,” – a desire for a community space and the retail of sustainable, small batch, handcrafted clothing lines. The fabric and packaging of which follows an ethos where you don’t have to think about where and how your clothing came to be but can rest assured it is an ethical and sustainable process. The brands too are mostly women-led. Kiersten even plans to one day add her own label to the lines she sells.
In the near future, Kiersten will introduce a “circular recovery model.” This means that clothing purchased at her shop (intimates excluded) are returnable for an appropriate refund. These “preloved” items will then be resold by her, closing the gap on “zero waste.” She also offers a repair program, whereby she or a hire will mend a garment, even embroidering over a stain if need be, ensuring that the item can still be worn instead of tossed aside or sent to landfill.
To create the community hub she is striving for, Kiersten will offer workshops on a monthly basis. These will include teaching embroidery and marble dying of natural fibres. The workshops will be promoted via her socials and sign up takes place on her new website.
In addition to clothing, you will also find jewelry and apothecary items. These are also small batch items, with creams and lotions and even candles made from natural ingredients that are sometimes harvested by the creator themselves.
When asked why she chose downtown Stratford to launch her new venture, Kiersten revealed she is a “joiner” and that she loves the welcoming, enthusiastic spirit of our city centre. She admires that other businesses too strive to offer unique products that are ethically produced.
Ände is open Wednesday-Friday 11-5:30; Saturday 11:30-5; Sunday 12-4.