Juli Daoust and John Baker broke the cardinal rule of retail when they opened Mjölk in 2009. "You’re supposed to pick a name people can pronounce," Daoust says. Instead, the couple chose a moniker that pays homage to Nordic traditions and describes both the Scandinavian and Japanese design aesthetics the shop specializes in.
Pronounced "mi-yelk," mjölk means "milk" in Swedish. "Sweden’s Arla milk packaging has won a number of awards, and its design really stuck with us," Baker says. "The words that characterize milk are the same ones that describe the two regions’ design aesthetics: pure, simple, sensual." The store echoes those sensibilities with its crisp interiors and carefully curated items by artists that Daoust and Baker met on scouting trips to Japan and Sweden and its neighbors. Though it may seem a stretch at first, the items from abroad feel perfectly natural in the Toronto shop. "The climates and experiences in Japan and especially in Scandinavia are so similar to ours in Canada," Daoust says. "It’s easy for us to connect with them." So while the name may be foreign, Mjölk’s wares feel right at home.