When Owner and Operator Annie Vanrivong created her brand Wolf & Rebel, she knew she wanted to offer an experience that would leave her customers' senses buzzing with excitement. From the smells to the colours and even the different brands showcased in-store.
Established in 2018, Wolf & Rebel was originally an idea that came to life because Vanrivong was looking for a way to make income on the road.
"We were in the middle of converting a full-sized school bus into a tiny home, we called that adventure Runaway Expedition, and we planned to travel across Canada and eventually the US," she shares. "So, I need a form of income that I could do easily while travelling and wasn't too difficult to mail and store."
After realizing that there were not many people in the area that she knew who were offering modern styled keychains with snarky sayings on them, Vanrivong decided to create some hand-stamped keychains of her own.
"Flash forward to October 2020, we had already come back from travelling on the bus, and I saw the empty building was still available, and I just went for it," she explains. "We like to think of our shop as a safe place for everyone. We have been told that it has been therapeutic because of the smells and the positive energy. But my main vision for the shop was to also combine it with a type of hangout, study space for students and other makers."
Offering a small pet section with treats, toys and vitamins for cats and dogs, greeting cards, accessories including backpacks, blue light glasses, tons of beauty and skin products and a whole wall of just sheet masks, Wolf & Rebel has something special for any person.
"I think generally our vibe is much different than a lot of stores in Windsor. From our bright coloured walls and funky décor," she says. "We intentionally wanted to do that. Not to necessarily stand out or 'be different for the sake of it, but because I wanted to bring a fun, fresh energy to the city. I was inspired by other shops during our travels and definitely by stores in East Asia. Shopping is an experience, and it should excite all your senses. It's not about customers coming in and purchasing. It should be about creating a connection with them and offering products that they'll feel good about bringing home." Describing herself as creative, determined, and curious, Vanrivong shares that creating empowers her daily. "Being able to develop new ideas and products and ways to interact is my happy place when it comes to business. And seeing the positive effect it has on others is what keeps me motivated," she explains. "Just knowing that maybe a tip I shared or a conversation I had on my IG story inspired someone in any way is the best feeling."