Founded in 2009, Toronto-based design firm Imm Living has showcased its quirky home accessories at some of the biggest shows in North America, including the Interior Design Show (IDS), as well as the San Francisco International Gift Fair and Canadian Gift & Tableware Association trade show. Images courtesy of Imm Living.
Trend Hunter's Shelby Walsh recently spoke with Michael Revil Madjus to get the inside scoop. His answers have been edited.
Meet Michael Revil Madjus of Imm Living
I'm the lead on design and photography at Imm Living, and am responsible for the creative direction of all branded material including catalogues, website, postcards, participates in collective sessions to create seasonal design directions and coordinates special projects including IDS.
Where are you located and how many employees work there?
We’re based in Toronto and our office is currently in the creative Queen and Spadina neighbourhood. We have seven full-time employees on staff, plus the owner of the company, which puts us at eight.
There are three designers, two administrators, one social media communicator, a business developer and the company’s founder, that make up the team, three of us are designers, two are admins, one social media/communciations, the business development director, and the founder.
Where do you sell your products?
We don’t normally sell directly, but through other retailers. We did, however, have our first pop-up shop at IDS in January, and will sometimes sell at the Junction Flea.
We have a number of retailers online, in the city of Toronto, as well as internationally. In the city, you can find our products at retailers such as the Drake General Store, the AGO gift shop, Teatro Verde, Indigo and Anthropologie, as well smaller boutiques like North Standard, Labour of Love, Rolo and Scout.
What's the IMBASSADOR program?
We just introduced a new feature as part of the IMBASSADOR program, wherein we are a giving members the opportunity to purchase from a curated selection of five items. Items sold through the IMMBASSADOR shop will be available for a limited time only, allowing us to switch the items every month or so.
What’s Imm Living’s design philosophy?
We believe that fun, functionality and beauty can co-exist in harmony. We design pieces that are not only functional, but have a sense of humour as well. Take, for example, the Take the Cake horse plates, the Crowned Heads containers by Ange-line Tetrault, majestic creatures with golden crowns lids, or the Victorian Socialites, whose hats can be removed to reveal the vessel, designed by myself. Both these collections look just as beautiful sitting on your fireplace mantel, as they do filled with your favourite cookies.
What’s your biggest challenge as a small business?
Being a small company results in many of us wearing different hats. We take on multiple roles and manage various projects simultaneously. Many of these roles don't make it onto our business cards. I, for example, am not only one of three in house designers, but also the in-house photography lead and do the art direction for our printed and online material, such as catalogues, postcards and website.
What's something most people don't know about your company?
An interesting thing I've found from doing shows like IDS and the Toronto Design Offsite Festival, is that many people don't actually know that we are in fact a small company. The prolific nature of our work has some individuals categorizing us with much larger, more established companies.
Any advice for entrepreneurs in the design business?
Do your homework. Whether it's home decor, furniture, technology, or fashion, it’s important to do your research and know what area of design you want to enter.
If there’s anyone out there doing something similar to what you’re doing, find a way to differentiate. You also need to know strengths. As creative individuals, we need to know where to focus our efforts, this is business after all. If you’re not good with the business aspect of things, and are more of a creative spirit, it’s vital that you bring someone on that specializes in this area of expertise.
Photos courtesy of Imm Living.