A few minutes into my interview with Jodie Orange, and it quickly becomes clear that the owner and founder of Living Lighting on King
is passionate about lighting design. The trendsetting store, located in King West
, is known for its daring selection of light fixtures and expertise in urban design. With a background in interior design, Jodie is able to forecast lighting trends, not just follow them.
"Because we are downtown Toronto it's important that we are able to set trends and forecast trends," says Jodie, whose store won the 2012 Showroom of the Year Award.
But, she adds "We also listen to what the customers want." This comes naturally to the young entrepreneur who lives and plays in King West. Her hands-on approach to running Living Lighting on King
includes constantly talking to the people in her neighbourhood. This keeps her finger on the pulse of what her urban customers want.
Create a Lighting Story
The store is a big draw for King West condo
owners, many of whom seek guidance in selecting lights that fit their space. "We always try to break down our customer's needs when they walk in the store," says Jodie. "We create a lighting story from start to finish."
Because each person's circumstances are unique, the store creates a customized lighting plan, or "wish list." They create a lighting story that considers both the customer's personal style and the characteristics of the condominium space. For someone with a sky's-the-limit budget, the entire lighting story can be implemented within weeks. A customer with a restrained budget may select one piece every six months or so, building a relationship with the store over a longer period of time.
The Wow Light
"We call this the candy piece," says Jodie, of the fixture that makes a statement. Having advised many King West condo owners,
she understands the unique challenges they face. While a typical suburban home would hang their stand-out lights in the entrance-way and dining room, this approach doesn't necessarily work in condos.
"In condo land, we try to pick a piece for your entrance-way and your main space, since they're open concept. But every space is so unique, that what works for one won't work for another." A chandelier
that looks great over a table in a typical house may work better hanging over a living room in a condo.
Go Big or Go Home
"Don't be afraid to buy something bigger than you're thinking," advises Jodie when asked what is the biggest lighting mistake condo owners make. "They don't recognize the volume of their space."
Most condos have a small footprint and high ceilings, which translates to a lot of volume. Yet Jodie sees owners buying lights that match only the square footage (small foot print) without considering the high height (volume). As a result, they select lights that are too small.
"You need to buy something that is bigger and taller to create the drama needed to fill the volume of space. It is the volume that is the issue. Not the floor plan," she advises.
And, don't get too wrapped up in the latest trend, either. Her best advice? "Do your own thing." The best trend is one that exemplifies your personal style. "We push people to think outside their comfort level," she added. That is what sets Living Lighting on King
apart from the competition. It's what makes them shine.
Living Lighting on King
is open Monday to Friday 11am - 7pm, Saturday 10am to 6pm, Sunday noon - 5pm