Every Thursday I profile a new incredible woman, each from a different walk of life. Different professions, causes, backgrounds, ethnicities, orientations, and anything/everything else!
So without further delay, let me introduce the indie empowered Sarah Campbell…
Sarah Campbell is the sort of person anyone can talk to. And that is one of the things that makes her the perfect lady to own and operate The Rage in Toronto, a super-funky store full of creations by independent designers. Recognizing the need to support artists and provide “people with an alternative to mainstream companies”, Sarah tells us a thing or two about independence, patience, and those $10 jeans you may no longer want to buy.
What drives you to do what you do?
Love for Toronto and all the amazing talent it nurtures.
I have a firm belief that the best work is produced by artists who make out of love. Unknowns have complete artistic freedom, so the ideas are going to be fresh, always. Artists live to push existing limitations, as does The Rage. Providing people with an alternative to mainstream companies is important too. Sure, picking up a $10 pair of new jeans is great, but how is that even possible, considering labour and materials, shipping, packaging…and that’s only at the wholesale level, what about all the retail costs? Someone is getting really short-changed along this process, and it’s typically the labour. Buying too cheaply hurts people, hurts the environment, hurts our economy, encourages wasteful practices (i.e. unnecessary purchasing), the list goes on.
The Rage exists to encourage people to think for themselves, to help consumers learn about the dangers of mindless consumption and to support emerging Toronto talent. These are the principles that hold this operation up while it builds its customer base.
How does being a woman empower / challenge you?
I love the opportunity and challenge to live as a person, to not let myself be victimized by media or stereotypes to do with women and style/fashion. I love being independent. Sure, love is everything and we all get lonely, but it’s important to me to feel fulfilled as an individual, regardless of whether I’m single or not. Aging is a huge issue, but I’m 31 and get happier and healthier with each new year. I look forward to destroying as many collective preconceived notions about women as I can for as long as I live. And I want to help and empower as many people as I can while doing so.
What advice would you give to young women who want to follow in your footsteps?
Being patient is so difficult, but it’s almost everything! There’s so much pressure on younger people to know EXACTLY what they want to do by the time they graduate high school. That’s so wrong. I see (and have experienced) the sort of suffering that accompanies that attitude. I worked 30 different jobs and quit post-secondary school 3 times before opening the store at age 28. If you want to pursue your own business you need to be resourceful, at least somewhat experienced in the industry and have or develop great resiliency. Everyone assumes you have it made, but the reality is quite the opposite. The social profit this little store generates is astounding, but it was 2.5 years before I began having a semi-regular day-off, and I have a 2nd job over the winter. If you’re self-motivated, then you can do it. The real reward is the work itself. If it isn’t, then the fact that the money isn’t rolling in just might kill you.
Name one person, place, or thing every young woman should know about?
The one thing every woman should know about is the Keeper (or Diva Cup). It’s a menstrual cup made of natural rubber or silicone. It looks clunky and awkward, but once you get accustomed to it, it’s the best thing ever. You can leave it in longer than a tampon, there’s no risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (no bleach yo!), there’s no waste ‘cause you just rinse it out and reuse it. It’s a one-time purchase vs. running to the drugstore and shelling out every month. You can use it on heavy and light days. It’s a great tool to get yourself better acquainted with your body, and you get to see EXACTLY what and how much comes out of you (I think that’s cool, the colours are so rich!) The blood is so nutrient-rich, I have a friend who empties her cup out into the soil of her houseplants. Now THAT’S recycling!
What is the most important thing we can do in order to change the world?
Learn to love ourselves so that we may achieve greater patience and understanding for others.
If you’re in Toronto, stop by The Rage at 13 Kensington Ave. in Kensington Market. If you’re outside of Toronto, make sure to check out the local designers in your hometown!