I recently moved into a new condo in November and decided I was going to sell most of the furniture I owned so I could start decorating from scratch. I did my research, I saved a lot of reference photos, and (cue Raven-Symoné) I had a vision. With more sustainable options for home decor widely available on Facebook marketplace, Craigslist, and, now, Instagram, there is no shortage of where to source your next find. There’s something to be said about the beauty of vintage objects. Knowing you have something that is unique to your home interior is immensely satisfying—there’s a joy to be found in these acts of discovery.
That’s where Laëtitia Damonsing steps in. Describing her business in three words, Dodo Bazaar is funky, eclectic, and chic. A collection of vintage objects that allow her customers to ‘make it luxe’, her eye for design transfers into sourcing items that your friends will no doubt ask where you got it from. Known for selling the coveted Murano mushroom lamps with buyers like Alyssa Coscarelli and features from Lisa Says Gah, Dodo Bazaar is fast becoming the go-to place for antique finds.
“I’ve always had my routine of finding vintage clothes, I would go to hot yoga and right next to it was a Value Village and that was my Friday morning”, Damonsing describes as her launch into building the brand, “Dodo Bazaar is a reflection of who I am as a woman. I’m a woman of colour and I wanted to share my experience in this world. The global pandemic presented an opportunity to speak about sustainability, intersectionality, and how we as consumers can make conscious purchasing decisions to make the world a better place.” Dodo Bazaar may have started as a vintage reseller, but Damonsing has evolved her business into a space that empowers women of colour, sharing tools and resources on how we can support each other. As an Asian-Canadian, Damonsong’s platform deeply resonates with me.
Dodo Bazaar is an opportunity for Damonsing to expand on her goal of doing meaningful work. Her resume is already pretty impressive, she worked abroad for five years at the Canadian Embassy in France and Australia before returning back to Canada where she is currently a youth ambassador for international experience in Canada (if Dodo Bazaar wasn’t her priority, I sense major Prime Ministerial vibes).
“I’m not the only person of colour that is a youth ambassador but I speak about my personal experience and how much living abroad opened up opportunities for me, how much confidence it gave me, and I hope to push inclusivity and representation in these forums”, she explains. To top it all off, she also worked for a sustainability focused NGO, working with French-African young professionals aged 18-35 who were integrating the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into their business models. This past winter, she decided to leave the position to focus on turning Dodo Bazaar into her own creative outlet and make an impact.
“While working in sustainability, I was reading a lot of statistics and I realized that developing countries are the Western’s world’s garbage. All of our textiles end up there, fashion waste ends up there and I think of how these French-African entrepreneurs are re-purposing this waste to create progressive business models that [the Western world] doesn’t conceive of because we don’t need to”, she says, “if I can jump-start a conversation and acknowledge my participation in fast fashion, I can find ways to do better. If I can give people tools and inspire them, I can also inspire myself to embody those practises too. If we take time to step back and look at what we’re doing to the planet, we can re-evaluate to make healthier choices for our communities.”
It’s a powerful message and one that can inspire us to make more sustainable choices in our home while supporting local businesses and our creative economy. Damonsing is enjoying the ride and excited to see how her business can continue to grow exclaiming “Dodo Bazaar was honestly a godsend, it was the right timing and it just happened—yes, on a whim—but I think it was meant to be.”