Tired of the 9-5 routine and searching for more inspiring vocations, Canadian husband and wife team Joel and Danielle Cyr created JUNE home supply (or as it was then known: MÛR): a side hustle focusing on everlasting products with a stylish aesthetic. Fast forward five years and they now have a store in Winnipeg, designed for exploring, dreaming and ultimately: feeling right at home in. We caught up with the couple to talk simple living, their passion for products and embracing craftsmanship…
When and why did you decide to open JUNE?
Joel: Danielle and I have always had the desire to start a business and we wanted to do something together. I was working full-time as a chef in a busy restaurant group and Danielle was a stay- at-home mom taking care of our two kids.
In 2014 we became tired of the daily grind and wanted to do something that would inspire us and provide us with a better lifestyle. We wanted to be in control of our time and wanted to invest in ourselves while building something where we could reap the benefits of our labour. We evaluated our strengths, Danielle had a keen eye for beautiful products and I had an aptitude for business. After a bit of research, we decided that launching an e-commerce shop was the most obvious and best way that we could marry our passions and start a side hustle that we could grow and test on our down time. Danielle started hunting for unique goods that we could sell and worked on the aesthetics of the shop while I worked on the details, logistics and behind the scene stuff. And thus JUNE was born!
What had you both done before? Did any of these skills help?
Joel: Being a chef and working in management roles with local restaurants definitely helped prepare me for running my own business. Everything from inventory management to hiring and training….I got to cut my teeth in the hospitality industry before launching my own venture.
Danielle: I had worked several years in an elementary school when Joel and I settled down and started having kids. After our first was born I decided to stay home and not return to work. A few years later our daughter was born and in that season of life, I was looking for something that would challenge me outside of my world of motherhood. Joel and I had always dreamed of owning and running a business and so we started having serious conversations about what that could look like.
I had always had a passion for the world of design and aesthetics and so we took the plunge and launched our shop with a very small collection of home goods. The early days of our business were VERY grass roots with Joel still working full time as a chef and me packing orders in our basement! We’ve certainly come a long way since then!
How did you decide on the name?
When we first started in 2014 our name was MÛR which is French for “ripe”. We found that many of our customers had trouble pronouncing the name so in 2018 we realised that we needed to change it. Danielle’s birthday is in June and it’s our favourite time of the year so we thought “why not!”.
How would you describe the interior style of the store?
When we began the plans for the interior of our Kennedy shop we decided along with the help of our interior designer, Renee Struthers, on creating an inviting and intimate space that felt somewhat like you were walking through different rooms of a home.
Renee achieved this beautifully by introducing different design elements such as the plastered niches (reminiscent of Mediterranean homes), kitchen cabinets alongside a vintage utility sink, a weathered and rustic table and stools as well as a stuccoed wall that serves both as a physical and aesthetical separation of the space.
All these elements and more invite the customers to wander about the shop and discover layers of texture and visual interest that serve as a perfect backdrop to our curated selection of products.
You’re passionate about selling quality goods for simple living – why is this so important to you both?
Simple, quiet living is something we strive for in our personal life and we are firm believers that our environments contribute to achieving this simplicity of living.
Surrounding ourselves with wares and objects that create this kind of living is not only about beautiful aesthetics but mainly about creating a sense of home or sanctuary in which we can find calm and rest from the chaos of the world.
How do you source your wares?
It’s usually either one of three scenarios. 1. We have an item in mind and we hunt until we find it, 2. we stumble upon an item or a set of items that we feel make a great fit, or 3. we discover a manufacturer/artisan that produces an item or a collection of items that meet our guidelines/aesthetic.
We typically look for items that are useful, timeless and beautiful. We work directly with a variety of makers and manufacturers that still embrace craftsmanship methods that have been passed down through several generations and chose natural quality materials.
Do you create anything in-house?
We recently launched our first private branded products – a beautiful collection of wool blankets woven in Ireland.
Which item is your bestseller? Why do you think that is?
As of late the wooden peg rail has been a hot seller. We think it’s a favourite because of the great price point and the fact that it’s a useful product that holds a classic, timeless aesthetic and fits in any style of home.
What items are your can’t-live-withouts?
I think we tend to get excited about the new products that we bring in, it revives our passion for what we do when we find a great product with an inspiring story behind it. Some of our current and all-time favourites though are the Pallares Solsona knives, Leach Pottery, wool blankets…
What do you enjoy most about running JUNE?
We really enjoy the flexibility that comes from being self employed and working together as husband and wife, although that does sometimes poses challenges as well!
We bet! What has been your career highlight (so far!)?
There have been lots so we certainly count our blessings but a recent highlight for us was just this summer – we had the amazing opportunity of staying at the Cotswold Farm Hideaway, a refurbished English cottage nestled in the lush hills near Alderley, Gloucestershire, as we were writing a piece on this beautiful property.
We spent three blissful days exploring the Cotswolds, which I might add had been on our bucket list for some time! The whole experience was a dream come true!
Do you have any advice for those thinking of starting their own store?
Do something unique, authentic, meaningful and you’ll find your true fans.
What about any top tips for those starting their own simple living journey?
Take note of what simple living means to you. It may be a feeling you’re after or a kind of atmosphere you want to create in your home. And it might even simply be a certain aesthetic that speaks simplicity to you. Whatever it is, it’s important to first determine what simple living looks like for you. And it doesn’t have to be complicated. For us a simple moment at home is sharing a meal by the warm glow of candlelight – so we always make sure to have a good reserve of beeswax candles on hand.
250 Kennedy St Unit 2, Winnipeg, MB R3C 1T3, Canada.
Photography: Danielle and Joel Cyr