Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

How Umbra Became A Globally Well-known Brand

“Design is creativity with strategy”    

– Rob Curedale

 

Located right in the heart of the Queen Street West District, at 165 John Street to be more precise, Umbra

Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

is a Toronto-based, original, creative, innovative and modern home ware company who has been designing and producing one of a kind, modern ware for the past 35 years. Its products are so popular and in demand that they are now being sold in 120 countries around the world!

Love design, furniture and home decor? Come on a photography tour of Umbra flagship store in Toronto, Ontario.

During my visit to Toronto last month, I visited their flagship and concept store which is only a block north of Queen Street

Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

where the stunning pink rectangular building was planned and built by Kohn Shnier Architects in 2007. If the exterior is quite a sight, just imagine what awaits inside!

As I entered the store, I read on the left side of the main entrance the story behind the company.

One day, a graphic designer, Paul Rowan, was not able to find a nice window shade to hang in his apartment window. Thus, he decided to create one and showed it to his friends and they liked it very much.

original shade, Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

He decided to talk about it to his childhood friend, Les Mandelbaum, and together they founded Umbra which in Latin means “shade”. Both friends let their imagination soar and gave everyday items a brand new look, color and made them into modern ware.

Their hard work paid off and the company is recognized the world over for putting life and making regular items design chic, practical and surprisingly very affordable!

What differentiates Umbra from other companies is that they have on site a team of designers who let their creativity flow and come up with original designs that make life easier while being stylish and unique. Their products are not manufactures by the millions and remain lifeless once they hit the shelves.  On the contrary, these are works of art and the designers put their time, effort, energy and personal touch to them!

Their final products, full Umbra and Umbra Shift collections, are displayed in the store and each product has the name of the designer on a tag. How cool is that?

Guests are encouraged to touch and feel the assortment of original products and interact with the store associates as well as product designers who can be found upstairs in the design studio!

That’s exactly where I started my tour! As you know I am a very curious and visual person, therefore I went up the set of stairs leading to the second floor.

stairs, Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76I loved the bright and vivid colors and shape of the chairs, desk and I imagined how great my office would be if I picked items from the Umbra Shift collection. That’s working in style and comfort!

Umbra Shift Collection, Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

Umbra Shift Collection, Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

Umbra Shift Collection, Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

Next thing I know, I turned around and couldn’t believe my eyes. One of the co-founders, Mr. Rowan, was actually in the store at the time of my visit, so my cool guide Corrianna introduced me to him. As I would react before any rock star, I felt a bit nervous but very happy to be in his presence and all I could utter was “your store is incredible” and the rest well I think my mind went blank for a minute or two 🙂

There was a designer present and at work and behind them was the wall of creations, where prototypes or original ideas are displayed and we can see what process they go through before they come to fruition or become a real product ready to be sold to the public.

design, sketch, Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

It truly is amazing to see all the steps in order to bring a product to life, starting from an idea spark.

product creation, product planning, prototype, Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

The end result is just brilliant and ready to be shown to the world!

After touring the second floor, I went down to the first floor for more, eye candy that is.

Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

Now you may or not know this but I just LOVE getting lost in furniture, décor, art stores anywhere I go and I was just in heaven. My eyes were wandering from floor to ceiling, east to west and didn’t even know where to begin. It was as if I was a kid at a candy store 🙂

There are so many goodies on display that you go from section to section and entice your senses!

How cool are these clocks? Can someone tell me what time it is?

clock, Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

clock, Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

Have the butterflies?

wall decor, decor. Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

Is anyone up for a chess game?

love seat, chess game, ottoman, Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

chess set,  Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

Everything you need to stay hooked and in place 🙂

wall decor, wall hooks, hooks, Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

The following sure is true: “There is a place for everything and everything is in its place”.

shoe organizer, space saver, Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

jewelry organizer, Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

Having guests over and need to cook? Have everything you need at hand!

kitchen ware, Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

napkin holders, kitchen ware,  Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

salad bowl, kitchen ware, Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

oil dispenser, Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

Now picture this. Putting your most precious memories on the wall thanks to these great photo frames!

photo frames, photography, Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

photo frame, Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

card holder, photo holder,  Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

photo frame,  Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

photo frame, decor, Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

photo frame, travel, travel often, Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

This made my heart swoon and my fellow travel lovers will agree too right? 🙂

photo frame, world map, Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

photo frames, Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

jewelry organizer, envelope, Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76This was definitely my favorite section in the store. I sure have enough photos from my many travels around the world to create my own gallery at home 🙂

photo frames, Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76

If you are in the process of decorating or redecorating or simply looking to buy gifts for friends or even yourself, stop by Umbra (or browse their selections on their beautiful website) enjoy walking around the store and don’t leave empty-handed!

I sure didn’t! Want to see what I got after going around a few times? 🙂

purchase, items, Umbra, concept store, Toronto, Ontario, design, photography, TS76From top left: a wine bottle stopper, a small black photo frame, a jewelry organizer (in the shape of an envelope) a small golden frame, a cool business card holder (in the shape of a camera) and a vanity bag (in blue, my favorite color) which will definitely be put to good use on my next trip!

Trust me, if I could I would fill a shopping cart and I would do my Christmas shopping in the summer, it’s that good 🙂

Thanks to its creativity, originality, exclusivity, we now understand how Umbra has become a globally known Canadian brand 🙂

I invite you to browse their product line on the following channels online:

 

Website: https://www.umbra.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/umbra

Twitter: https://twitter.com/umbra_ltd

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/umbra

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/umbra_ltd

 

I would like to thank the friendly staff at Umbra for welcoming me and for giving me a tour of the store!

 

Now over to you,

 

Are you a design fan?

Do you treat yourself and buy original products and where?

 

 

I can’t wait to read all about it, so please do share your stories!

Until next time!

Happy browsing/shopping.

Tashi Delek, All the best

Karla

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5 thoughts on “How Umbra Became A Globally Well-known Brand

  1. Oh, the Places We See says:

    I, too, am a design fan, and this post pleases me. Thanks so much for taking me on this creative tour of a company I knew little about. Your pics, commentary, and enthusiasm made this a learning journey that is quite enjoyable!

    • Traveller Soul says:

      I am glad I entertained you.

      I honestly felt like i was in design heaven and was looking left to right, up and down.

      The best part was picking up items to bring back home 🙂

      Did you see something you liked for your house? Just curious.

      • Oh, the Places We See says:

        Love those cute, colorful chairs. We are retired so not buying much for the home these days. But I still like to look. Used to go to the Atlanta Gift Mart in July and January — miss those days (except for driving in Atlanta traffic!).

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