Posted by United Goods on April 25, 2018
Following is the full interview we did with Kimberly Jurek-Valanzasca, owner and co-founder of Showroom. Part of it ran in our monthly email, United Update, which is sent to subscribers around the 26th of each month. To join the mailing list, enter your email address in the field near the bottom of each page of our website.
We've known of Kimberly Jurek-Valanzasca, owner and co-founder of Showroom, since Christy worked for MNfashion years ago. It's fabulous that she's been creating for so long, while also helping other local designers, makers, and artists succeed.
Hey, Kimberly! Tell us about you.
I grew up with my family on a hobby farm in central Minnesota; a place where 4-H was present and available. My first experiences with designing and styling were when I was about 12 years old in our county fair fashion shows. It was a lot of fun and a great way to begin learning about fashion. Later on I earned my BA in Studio Art at Augsburg College (now University) in Minneapolis, and had the opportunity to study abroad for a year in Florence, Italy. That was a life-changing experience! I learned how to pattern, drape, paint, draw, sketch, research trend, and observe street trend, and got inspired to start my own business. After returning to Minneapolis in 2004 I began my own line of clothing, and have been designing for my own label ever since. The idea of Showroom, which I co-founded with Jen Chilstrom, was born in late 2012 and came into fruition in the spring of 2013.
I just celebrated my 40th year on the planet, and live in Minneapolis with my husband Felix, our two boys Luca (6), and Jax (4), as well as our cat Nala and 10-month-old Great Dane puppy, Uma. It's a pretty busy house!
From where did the name Showroom come?
We brainstormed on names, and loved the idea that this would be both a showroom and retail/co-working space for many independent designers. Showroom felt representative of everyone we invited to be a part of the shop.
What do you offer?
Showroom is a fashion-forward apparel and accessory boutique of sustainable, ethical, independent brands. The shop offers clothing, jewelry, hats, art, and other accessories from the Minnesota maker community.
What makes Showroom different than other boutiques?
We strive to provide a warm and inviting boutique experience for our clients, and a dynamic environment for our makers in order to help them find opportunities and success. Showroom follows the slow fashion movement, which means that our makers drop off new items throughout the season. Clients can come by once a week and find something new. Our clients have come to find that they can stop in and discover quality, unique, local pieces that they wouldn't find anywhere else.
What's the best part about what you do?
I love having the opportunity to work with all of the makers in the shop, as well as getting to meet the clients who come in to support Showroom and its designers.
What's the most challenging?
The weather has been really difficult this year. It's exciting that the last few days have started to feel like spring. We so appreciate when clients come by the store and refer their friends. It really makes all of the difference.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A fashion designer! My mom was a designer of so many beautiful things. She was and continues to be my inspiration.