Few of us are lucky enough to have our passion double as our career. But one local shop owner has done just that.
Shannon Klymchuk, owner of Divine and Conquer has taken her love of clothes and fashion and turned it into a thriving dress shop located on the trendy Academy Road strip.
Winnipeg is becoming a hot bed of shopping and women are finding unique designs right here at home.
"I used to save my holidays to travel to New York, Montreal and Vegas just so I could shop" said Shannon.
"Winnipeg didn’t offer the type of clothes and designs I truly wanted so I would travel.
After spending over 20 years in the accounting world, Shannon was looking for a change.
"I followed in the family footsteps and became an accountant. But while doing accounting by day, I was studying fashion at night and took several courses on Fashion Merchandising," said Shannon.
"After a few years of talking about it, I decided that a change was in order and I took the plunge and opened my own store."
Divine and Conquer opened in 2010 and quickly gained a reputation as one of the premiere boutiques to find great Canadian designer fashions.
"Canada has amazing designers. The talent we have can compete on the world stage. I wanted to be the bridge between the discerning shopper and talented designers," said Shannon.
According to Shannon, Canadian designers are every bit as creative and stylish as American and European designers and more accessible and wearable. Designers’ clothes hanging proudly in her store include Dee Karpa, Alex Espoinosa, Winnipeg native Lennard Taylor, Issis of Odessa Designs, Thieves, Narcissist and many others.
The design talent may exist, but designers find trying to find stores to sell their wares can be a challenge. Local designer Sarah Maclachlan of Chloe Angus Fashion House appreciates the support of small boutiques.
"Small independent boutique shops like Divine and Conquer are the backbone of our business. We are a small design house and enjoy working with other small business owners," said Sarah. "We appreciate the relationship as opposed to the invoice number."
Beyond being a store that showcases Canadian designers, Shannon wanted to create a store that made women feel divine so they could go out and conquer their world.
"The name for the store really embodies how I want women to feel," Shannon said. "I want to dress up women, build their self-esteem, make them feel confident. And wearing great clothing is all part of the equation."
Corporate involvement is a large part of the Divine and Conquer culture.
"We participate in a wide variety of initiatives including the Movember Fashion Show, Never Alone Foundation A Midwinter Night’s Dream, and the upcoming Heart and Stroke Foundations Red Dress Gala," said Shannon.
"We want to not only support our designers but also support the community we work in. Being a part of these great events is an honour."
Whether you are looking for an evening dress, business wear, shoes, accessories or leggings, Divine and Conquer is just the place to look. You will not only be amazed by the glamorous feel of the store but also by the amazing talented Canadian fashions right in your own backyard.
Divine and Conquer is located at 400 Academy Road and can be found online at divineandconquer.ca
Carolyne Braid is a community correspondent for Crescentwood. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.