Tag Archives: style by fire

Style by Fire featured on CTV News!

Miranda CTV 2

Click here to watch the CTV interview.

This is kinda crazy, but it happened.

I received an interview request from CTV and a few short hours later reporter Shannon Paterson and I were shop-talking in front of Victoria’s Secret at Robson and Burrard – downtown Vancouver’s new retail hotspot. She found me via an article I had just written about Shoppers’ new BeautyBoutique for Retail Insider (check out their awesome website!).

I’m sitting in front of my computer and I still can’t believe this happened, and I’m really grateful that it did. I don’t think I would have even dared put a media appearance on this year’s list of resolutions!

Though my CTV interview might seem out of the blue, Style by Fire’s been 5+ years in the making. So I really shouldn’t be too surprised.

When I interned in New York, my uncle and I had many chats about life, career, politics, and other worldly things he was interested in. A lot of our conversations stayed with me, especially his open-minded views on work and opportunity. At the time, I was struggling to find a job in the States, and after realizing my degree wasn’t specialized enough to apply for work visas (ahem, like being a soil scientist), I got deeply discouraged.

Then with his lighthearted c’est la vie chuckle, he let me in on his secret: “Opportunity takes hard work… and luck. You need to work hard to prepare for something, and when opportunity strikes, you seize it.”

That’s exactly how I feel.

When I got the green light from my manager to take off early (DC you’re the best!), and confirmed with Shannon, I knew exactly what I needed to do. I went home, “clownified” my makeup for the camera, researched the latest downtown Vancouver retail stories, got some good advice from Retail Insider, made sure to wear something that stood out on camera, and walked into the interview knowing this was my opportunity to seize.

Thanks so much to the team at Retail Insider who gave me the opportunity to write that article!

xo, Miranda

PS Watch the interview on CTV!

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Filed under New Store Openings, Retail News

Shoppers Drug Mart to open flagship Beauty Boutique in Downtown Vancouver

Shoppers Drug Mart BeautyBoutique Beauty Boutique Vancouver Burrard Street Colin Arber Retail Insider

This article was first posted on Retail Insider.

Sources tell us that Shoppers Drug Mart will open a 4,100 square foot standalone flagship BeautyBoutique in downtown Vancouver, next to the world’s second-largest Victoria’s Secret store. The street-level store will replace retailer ‘Off The Wall’ and will feature a Burrard Street frontage. It will compete with a new, massive Sephora store scheduled to open next winter on the 1000 block of Robson Street, only a couple hundred feet away.

BeautyBoutique layout

Shoppers first debuted its high-end enhanced BeautyBoutique concept last year at Toronto’s Bayview Village Shopping Centre; the second opened in the Toronto EatonCentre this past summer.

Downtown Vancouver has several major cosmetic retail competitors, including Sephora. In addition to its current location at Pacific Centre, Sephora will also be opening one of its largest Canadian locations on Robson Street in the winter of 2014. Other competitors have either been upping their game or preparing for their entry into the Vancouver market. Hudson’s Bay, for example, has been putting much effort into the ongoing revitalization of its Downtown Vancouver flagship store. Its expanded cosmetics floor is close to an acre in size and is now the largest in Western North America. Holt Renfrew continues to show strong cosmetics sales, and future Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenuestores will even further increase competition for Downtown Vancouver’s cosmetics dollar.

With all of these different cosmetics retailers in Downtown Vancouver, it’s hard to say whether BeautyBoutique will create any extra excitement for Vancouver shoppers. Competition will be fierce. Shoppers Drug Mart already has an existing higher-end concept, Murale, though it hasshuttered two of eight locations across Canada. Let’s take a look at the differences between Murale and the new enhanced BeautyBoutiques, and how the new concept might prove successful.

Shoppers 1

For those unfamiliar with Murale, it is an offshoot brand launched in 2008 by Shoppers Drug Mart to move into the high-end cosmetics category. Murale’s brands include Bobbi Brown, Anna Sui, Cargo, Caudalie, Nars and more. These brands make a distinct differentiation between drug store brands such as Maybelline and L’Oréal, but share some crossover brands like Clinique and Stila. The store design is clean and minimal, with a lot of white space, and merchandising isn’t structured in aisles as in the drug store BeautyBoutiques.

Introduced in 2003, the in-store Shoppers Drug Mart BeautyBoutiques occupy prominent real estate, many of which have separate entrances to create a different experience for cosmetics lovers. The South Granville location in Vancouver, in particular, takes up the majority of the second floor of the neighbourhood Shoppers Drug Mart.

Shoppers 2

The new “enhanced” BeautyBoutique takes the in-store concept one step further by bringing in higher end brands (Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent, for example) and stepping up the store design, which was inspired by a gift box, and the unravelling of a ribbon to reveal a gift. According to Shoppers, “The ribbon concept can be seen in the elements of the store design including the digital signage wrapped around the boutique and the finishing elements extending over the fixtures to the ceiling.” In a nutshell, it’s a Sephora-like experience.

If one high-end Shoppers beauty concept (Murale) didn’t work out, why would the company repeat similar efforts? One reason could be because a new store like Murale might have required stronger branding support for customers to understand its relationship to Shoppers Drug Mart. On the other hand, the new high-end beauty concept is also located separately from Shoppers, and it was a great idea to leverage off the existing BeautyBoutique name instead of creating a whole new brand like Murale, even though the BeautyBoutique brand seems strong enough on its own. According to Sandra Sanderson, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Shoppers, in a Chain Drug Review article, when consumers heard about BeautyBoutique they already had the impression it was a separate store. We don’t know whether they had done similar research with Murale.

Shoppers 3

There’s also a direct correlation between Shoppers’ BeautyBoutiques and its popular Shoppers Optimum rewards program. This may be a key difference between it and Murale. If consumers didn’t know Murale was a Shoppers concept, for example, there would have been less incentive to shop there. This is especially the case since Sephora has a strong Beauty Insiders loyalty program. Lastly, we’ll have to see whether the new enhanced BeautyBoutique will help drive online sales, as Amazon, Walmart, and Sephora’s e-commerce platforms are highly competitive whereas cosmetics sold at Shoppers Drug Mart concepts rely heavily on foot traffic.

If the enhanced concept proves successful, it might be in Shoppers’ best interest to shutter the Murale chain and concentrate on what’s working. Either way, it will be interesting to see another beauty giant enter Downtown Vancouver’s retail landscape.

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Filed under New Store Openings, Retail Concepts, Retail News

Style by Fire’s 2013 Reflections: The Style, the Struggles, and the Success

Throwback Aurora and Miranda

Aurora and Miranda circa 2007

The year’s about to end, and there are so many things to be thankful for. Probably the biggest change was coming back in full swing this year. I started Style by Fire in the summer of 2008, when a friend convinced me to start a blog. I thought, what the hell, and readily joined one of the first waves of Vancouver bloggers. Fast forward to 2013, Aurora, who had been a contributing writer since the beginning, came on board!

This year we’ve learned a lot: from positioning the blog to establishing a strong work ethic, from learning how to choose feature photos to keeping our ‘extra baggage’ safe during fashion week. Running this blog hasn’t been the easiest thing, even though most people would like to think otherwise. I can tell you right now I’ve counted at least 15 different steps to each post, beginning with attending the event to the last step of pushing that Publish button. There is a lot of work involved, as we try to get you the news the very next day, but we can wholeheartedly say we love every minute of it.

Dealing with burnout was also something we struggled with. We’re both so in love with our local fashion industry, that we pushed the limits of our boundaries – which included many sleepless nights. Though it’s something that’s generally rampant in the industry, it’s not a norm we’d like to promote. Moving forward, we’ll still give our 100% to cover events, but that might mean we’ll have to move faster, grow a bigger team, attend individually, or stay for shorter periods.

Also, looking back we see how our style has changed over the years – how’s that for a throwback photo?! That was taken during a time when I thought wearing a bra over your shirt was cool because my favourite style blogger did it. And I actually still don’t think it’s that big of a faux pas, even though Aurora will disagree! I actually still have those Club Monaco shorts and although those tights tore pretty quickly, I’ve amassed a collection of colourful tights.

Aurora says… “I got that orange skirt during my first trip to New York eight years ago. It was from the Century 21 department store which was on my must see shopping list for finding designer duds at discount prices. It’s still in my closet, along with everything else I’m wearing. Clothes I love never leave my home, no matter how seldom I wear them. This might explain why I now need to live in a townhouse…ahem.”

Running Style by Fire has also afforded us some awesome, cool, touching and funny behind-the-scenes moments. Some of my favourite chill-out moments include eating a burger or buying ice cream after a fashion show. There was also that time when we had a few days free from fashion events, and the very next day we run into each other while shopping! And of course, connecting with the fashion community. One designer we covered said the way we reviewed her collection was the reason why she designs. I seriously got teary eyed. And last but not least…

Here are some of our top moments of 2013

  1. Style by Fire becoming a team!
  2. Launching the Style by Fire Facebook page (psst… join it!)
  3. Covering 3 fashion weeks: VFW, EFW, VALT
  4. Hosting Dynamite’s shopping party & dressing Dynamite mannequins!
  5. Becoming part of the Vancouver fashion community… again :)

We are looking forward to the many great fashion moments in 2014, and of course, sharing them with you. Cheers to a stylish new year!

xo, Miranda and Aurora

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Merry Christmas from Style by Fire!


Wishing everyone a warm & stylish holiday, time spent with good friends and family, and lots of laughter!

If you are looking for a good fashion-related cause to donate to this holiday, please check out Nicole Bridger’s indiegogo campaign. The team has doubled its wholesale orders and need your support to purchase the fabric.

PS. We’re taking some much-needed beauty rest for the holidays, and will return in 2014 with more fashion show coverage, sale reports, retail news, and everything else local fashion you love reading about.

xo, Miranda & Aurora

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Dynamite Blogger Style Challenge: Join Us in Dressing Dynamite Mannequins!


This post was sponsored by Groupe Dynamite.

Exciting news – Aurora & Miranda will be back at Dynamite this Friday!

This time around, we’ve been invited to dress 3 of Dynamite’s mannequins in the themes of Office Christmas Party, the Holidays, and New Year’s Eve. And why should you come by Dynamite this Friday night? Because not only will you get the chance to meet and chat with us, you’ll also have a chance to receive Dynamite’s new holiday Access Card (when you purchase for $50 or more) which gives you great rewards when purchasing cool Dynamite merch.

Plus, there’s also a CONTEST involved! Across Canada, 3 bloggers’ outfits will be selected by the Dynamite team as semi-finalists. If you vote between December 9th to 15th on Dynamite’s Facebook and Instagram pages, you’ll get a chance to receive a $100 gift card!



  • Date | Friday, December 6th, 2013
  • Time | 5:00 – 8:00pm
  • Location | Dynamite at Metropolis @ Metrotown
  • Why stop by | Chance to receive Dynamite’s new holiday Access Card!
  • Why vote | For a chance to win a $100 Dynamite gift card… and to support Style by Fire!
  • Social media hashtag | #DYNBloggers

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Filed under Designers, Events & Sales

We had a Blast Hosting Dynamite’s Best Dressed Shopping Party!


This post was sponsored by Groupe Dynamite.

Yesterday night, Aurora & I had a fabulous time hosting the Dynamite Best Dressed shopping party at Metrotown! We got the chance to meet a lot of Dynamite shoppers, some who were shopping for their girlfriend’s birthday, some had a pre-paid shopping spree from their dad (jealous!), some were regular shoppers.

We got to try on the latest collection from Dynamite, and ended up with some fantastic pieces ourselves! Aurora got that sexy black & white damask dress that I also wanted (no more sz XS, too bad) along with a skir in this season’s hottest colour, oxblood, and couple of bling necklaces. I ended up with a bag full of black & white goodies – the printed skirt in the photo above, a black tank, shiny black leggings, and a b&w fashion sweater with the lettering “C’EST LA VIE.”

We had a great experience working with everyone at Dynamite! And thanks to everyone who followed our live Instgram, Twitter, and Facebook updates – you are all #DynamiteBestDressed!

Our Live Instagram Feed

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Filed under Events, Events & Sales, Sales, STYLE SEEN

Join the Style by Fire Facebook Page!

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Style by Fire Facebook page

Guess what? We’re finally on Facebook! If you like us already, like us on Facebook to join the Style by Fire community of avid readers, fashion industry professionals, and style lovers. Plus, you’ll get access to photos and news that may not be posted on the blog. See you at the Style by Fire Fb page!


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Style by Fire x Rachel Mara Contest Winner

Rachel Mara Contest winner-v1.2

Thanks to everyone who entered the Style by Fire x Rachel Mara contest!

And the winner is… Roshena! Congratulations :) Here’s what she answered for the questions:

What colour Rachel Mara blouse would you like to challenge your style with?

My basic wardrobe has a lot of neutrals for versatility, but I’d LOVE to incorporate more indigo with Rachel Mara’s contrast tunic. I definitely appreciate the power of colour and can see myself wearing it in the boardroom and then to cocktails!

Take a browse around Style by Fire. What type of posts/topics most interest you? What would you like to see more of?

I love the posts about new brands and stores in Vancouver – but I love them even more when Miranda infuses her personal style point of view into them.


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Modern Mix Vancouver Celebrates 5 Years

This past Thursday, May 9th, one of my good friends, Vanessa Choot, celebrated 5 years of success with her blog, Modern Mix Vancouver. From its humble beginnings, Vanessa wrote about all the cool things that happened around town, and at that point there was a big nightlife component. Five years later, the blog still maintains a freshness factor, though its matured with time to include categories like Health & Wellness.

Friends, family, fellow bloggers, and dedicated readers showed up at Suki’s on South Granville to toast Vanessa. It was a fun-filled night with lots of booths around the salon, such as Incoco nail polish appliqué, Foodie Card, and Zipcar. And can I just say, of all the gift bags I’ve received from attending events, this one was likely the BEST! I got a bottle of Chloé Eau de Parfume, courtesy of Coty Prestige FTW. And there was no shortage of awesome door prizes, as Vanessa made a short speech only to use the time to hand out prizes to her guests.

It was a fun-filled night, and let me just say this loud and proud: it’s this girl who got me started with Style by Fire. Thanks, Vanessa! And cheers to many more MMV parties to come.

The Style by Fire team – Aurora & I; Me with the hostess with the mostest, Vanessa Choot, Modern Mix Vancouver Editor

Photography by: Aurora Chan


Filed under Events, STYLE SEEN