By Paige Gordon
Christine Gaspard, better known as CC, is the manager and buyer for local Edmonton boutique The Bamboo Ballroom. CC also runs a highly successful children’s boutique called Lil Rascalz housed inside Bamboo.
CC started her career in Montreal where she was a stylist for music videos, commercial shoots and magazines. If you can name it, she did it.
She later moved to Edmonton and was about to sign a contract with Club Monaco until she got a call from Kyla, the owner of The Bamboo Ballroom. Kyla wanted to know if she was interested in becoming the store manager.
The Bamboo Ballroom has been a staple on Whyte Avenue for the past fourteen years. Bamboo caters to every woman with styles that range from casual, chic, trendy and everything in between.
CC said the best thing about working at a local boutique is that the environment really allows her to grow in the workplace.
“Growth. I worked corporate for so many years. It can be cutthroat. You’re promised a lot of things, and a million people are fighting for the same position. When you work local, you’re given the opportunity and support needed to succeed. People actually listen to you, and give you useful and constructive feedback,” she said.
The freedom she was given working at a local boutique allowed CC to open a kids boutique in Bamboo called Lil Rascalz. CC noticed after a little while of working at Bamboo that a lot of mom’s were coming in and there was nowhere really to shop for kids on Whyte Ave. CC brought it up to Kyla and they both saw it as an opportunity to bring in a new concept to the store.
They brought in a few kids items and they sold out immediately. CC found plenty of local vendors from Edmonton and Calgary and Lil Rascalz started to snowball. Kyla gave her the go ahead.
CC said the name for Lil Rascalz was inspired by the 1994 kids movie.
“I thought of a million names but I wanted something that would represent both boys and girls. Then I thought of the movie Little Rascals, and it fit because the movie is super diverse. And that’s what kids are,” said CC.
“They’re lil rascals. They’re curious. They don’t want to be structured,” CC said.
CC said she looks for a certain vibe when she’s buying product.
“I pick urban style mostly because it’s fun. But, I do listen to my customers and what they want. So, I have the frilly girly dress, but I hope they will pair that dress with a pair of Doc Martens,” she said.
CC also emphasized how important it is to support local fashion in Edmonton.
“Whoa, super important! I think it’s important to support local anything. When you support a store like Bamboo, for example, you are supporting every employee. You’re supporting people who have taken a chance and a risk. And, when you buy local clothing lines like Suka, which we carry in the store, your supporting someone’s dream and you’re able to say you were a part of that,” CC said.