How Edilka Anderson’s design vision revolutionized North American décor
By Nicolette Little
When Edilka Anderson met Carla Guzmanin 2017, it was the beginning of a close friendship. Anderson, a mother of three, found herself on a journey to find new ways of creatively expressing her love for business and décor. “I wanted to feel good about waking up every day, and to rediscover my joy and passion,” she recalls. Guzman, on the other hand, who was a radio and television design personality and ran a major bridal show in Venezuela, moved back to Toronto after 21 years due to Venezuela’s intensifying political situation. Both women collaborated on high-end home design projects in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and found in each other someone who similarly wanted to “fulfill people’s dreams and passion for creating.”
When Anderson decided to bring European design house KARE’s (pronounced like the French word, carré, or, phonetically, car-ray) products to Toronto, Ontario, becoming the first-ever North American franchisee for this sought-after German designer, she immediately invited Guzman to work for her. “We’re like sisters,” Anderson notes, continuing that “she was the very first person I called.”
Now, with access to over 5,000 high-end design products, which Anderson offers her eager GTA clientele, Anderson is watching KARE’s rapid expansion across the continent with pride: a Vancouver location opened this past June, while a Los Angeles store is set to welcome homeowners and designers in August. KARE Toronto’s success story is predicated on Anderson’s commitment to an artistic dream, her sustaining friendship with Guzman, and the even larger success of a reputed brand with global appeal.
KARE’s location on Toronto’s trendy Queen St. West hints at the fashionability of its designs. “Many of our pieces are statement pieces,” states Anderson, who notes that their clientele are “young at heart, have something to say, and want to say it through their home and space.” While KARE has “a curated selection” of products on display at the Queen West location, Guzman and Anderson emphasize they have unlimited access to 1000s more online through their parent company in Munich: “There are so many chairs, for example, so many colours, and so many textures. KARE has funky, cool, high-end stuff, and this fits with the brand’s larger motto, which captures the joy of living.”
The diversity of KARE’s over 5000 products also ensures there is something to suit everybody. “Sure, we do high-end commercial and residential projects in the downtown core,” Anderson states, “but we also design and decorate homes spanning the GTA. Our residential clients are typically high-end homeowners who are looking for unique Euroflair.”
A little about KARE’s parent company, which has a longer history as a key European design brand. Based in Munich, KARE boasts 100 locations, across 45 countries, worldwide. This company offers franchisees access to a panoply of design products, which store directors like Anderson then select based on the preferences of their home market: in this case, both Toronto and the GTA’s trendy and inspired, as well as more traditionally elegant crowds. KARE is associated with the utmost in quality, class and trendsetting in Europe – something North America’s market has been quick to pick up on, given the store’s quick spread to other cities.
For both designers and individual clients, KARE Toronto provides one-stop interior design, decorating and, if desired, installation support. “We take care of all aspects of the decorating process,” Anderson notes, “making sure that customers are supported throughout.” First, Anderson and Guzman meet individually with clients, developing a creative plan based on a client’s vision for their space or lifestyle. Then, Guzman and Anderson review this plan with clients, ensuring they are pleased with the proposed enhancements. Finally, Guzman and Anderson help clients select pieces based on this design plan, offering a special KARE discount, then order and install items. “There’s a psychological aspect to this work,” Guzman notes, continuing, “whether a client is moving to a new space, pursuing a lifestyle change, or simply wants newness, our job is to figure out the essence of their hopes and dreams, and realize it through their décor.”
KARE Toronto has also recently collaborated with larger corporate clients. Earlier this year, they decorated the Hotel des Particuliers, a trendy hotel in the historical heart of Old Quebec City. Guzman and Anderson worked directly with designers on this project, and apparently “the hotel wanted to feature one of our newest statement pieces of the time, hologram mirrors, throughout.” KARE’s pieces have since been featured throughout this hotel’s marketing and promotional photos. Projects such as these have helped fuel the increasing North American demand for KARE.
There is no end to KARE’s ability to ensure each client’s or designer’s needs are fulfilled. In fact, this brand has become synonymous with creativity, flair and class when it comes to home design and decoration in Canada.