By Megan Harman
Montreal-based jeweller Ecksand has opened its first street front boutique downtown Montreal and a temporary pop-up location in Toronto as the brand looks to expand its reach.
Launched in 2010, Ecksand specializes in engagement rings and fine jewellery that is entirely designed and handcrafted locally in Montreal. The brand takes an ethical and environmentally friendly approach to its jewellery, by using conflict-free diamonds and stones, 100% recycled gold and a low-emission atelier to produce its products.
“Ecksand truly redefines the standards for fine jewellery,” says Erica Bianchini, co-founder and creative director for Ecksand. “We strive to make the world a better place by supporting honest, ethical and environmentally-responsible business practices.”
Ecksand has recently experienced a boost in popularity as Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, has been spotted wearing the brand’s stackable rings. Other popular collections include the label’s ‘Lucky’ line, which includes a selection of items with horseshoe-shaped pendants, and its nautical-themed ‘Tresses’ line.
With jewellery ranging from classic wedding and engagement rings to contemporary pieces that can be mixed and matched, Ecksand targets customers of all ages, according to Bianchini. Through the company’s custom service, clients can design rings that are 100% personalized.
After having distributed its jewellery online in its Montreal showroom for the past several years, Ecksand decided to open a boutique to create a larger, more accessible space in which to showcase its collections.
“We are able to convey more of the brand experience in a bigger footprint, and easier to access for clients,” says Bianchini.
The new boutique, located in Montreal’s jewellery district at 632 Rue Cathcart, boasts 1,700 square feet of retail space. The historical space previously housed the original Fournier leather goods store, and has been renovated to showcase Ecksand’s collections of diamond and precious gemstone engagement rings, wedding bands and other fine jewellery.
Bianchini oversaw the design of the new store. She says the design process was similar to the brand’s approach to jewellery-creation, with a focus on giving “new life to the old, with results that look contemporary and on-trend.” She says she also made sure to reflect the brand’s sustainable ethos in the design of the boutique by using recycled materials for the store construction, including barn wood and foliage for decoration.
“The result is a store that looks nothing like a traditional jewellery store,” Bianchini says.
Ecksand’s Toronto pop-up, meanwhile, is located in Radford Studio at Yorkville Village and is open from December 15 to 22. That provides a temporary spot for Ecksand to meet demand from Toronto shoppers during the busy holiday season, Bianchini says.
“Ecksand offers a very unique positioning in the market that not many jewellers are able to meet, and as such, the brand has always had a lot of interest from clients outside Quebec with online and phone orders, but did not have a point of sale outside Montreal,” she says. “The pop-up is a way to meet clients’ demand and test the market.”
Ecksand has hosted small pop-ups in Toronto in the past with a very positive response, Bianchini adds. To establish a more permanent distribution point in Toronto and other large cities in Canada and the U.S., Ecksand is exploring distribution partnerships with other retailers. Other cities of interest for the brand include Calgary and Vancouver.