We all need a cocoon to come back to at the end of the day. A home that welcomes us with safety and without judgment. A cozy place. At Cocoon, a unique retail location on 18 Main St. West in Grimsby, Stephanie Hawke and her staff are there to help you create that feeling in your own home.
For me, home needs to be a place I can come back to when I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, or when things didn’t go the way I planned. Home needs to be a cocoon, not a spider’s web; it can’t let me retreat so much that I stay stuck in the fear of going back outside after a hard day. It needs to envelop me gently, reminding me of what I did right, and forgiving me for what I did wrong. I need to invite people in and be filled up with the strength and resilience to try again and believe that there is always another way.
My home here in Grimsby is my cocoon, because it is where I can change in a deeply-rooted kind of way, not a chaotic people-pleasing kind of way. It’s where I can become more myself.
I want everyone who enters my house to feel this way too. It’s a safe place, where you can catch your breath and regain your strength. There are so many ways we can do this: feeding people, entertaining people, loving people, listening to people and laughing with people. I have also been trying to be more aware of the way colour, design and space can make people feel too. I like using light, colours, patterns and words to make someone feel welcome and special.
As I walk down Main Street Grimsby on sunny summer days like this, I am always struck by the beautiful window displays that line the street. One of these windows is the store front of Cocoon. Their specially curated items create a feeling of “cozy” the moment you walk in.
After talking to Stephanie Hawke, owner of Cocoon, I realized this coziness I felt is exactly how she wants everyone to feel when they walk in. As I entered the store to the soothing sound of jazz music, and the delightful smell of their soy candles (and my favourite, the French soaps!) she led me upstairs to her office where we began our conversations about creating an experience for people and embracing change in business.
Stephanie has been operating Cocoon for 15 years. When she discovered Grimsby in 2003 after living in Burlington and working for her husband’s business for a number of years, she decided it was time for a new adventure. She wanted to use her passion for design and display to create a unique shopping experience for customers.
“I like to carry things that are unique, that you can’t find in a department store or boxed store.”
Her product selection has evolved with the changing landscape of Grimsby over her 15 years in business, and she is glad to offer customers anything from a piece of décor for their home to the perfect gift for a friend. Just like any healthy home, or cocoon if you will, Stephanie makes sure Cocoon is constantly at the ready to embrace change.
“Change. Yes. I’m good with it. You have to keep evolving and changing, you can’t stay static. I don’t think you can do anything worthwhile without changing sometimes. Business is about making changes.”
It requires reflection, and analysis to see where some products need to be expanded, or to let go of the things that are taking up too much space. It sounds a lot like the kind of questions I have to ask myself in my own home, and my own life sometimes.
Although, as anything that is truly unique and special, Cocoon is a bit of a paradox: while Stephanie embraces change on her team and in her business, you may notice that they do not use a POS system to complete their sales. She was glad and excited about the way technology is changing business, but she loves to write up a receipt by hand for people and hand it to them, as another staff member delicately wraps your purchase in their branded Cocoon bag.
It’s as efficient a process as I’ve ever seen, but it also makes me feel like I’m somewhere different than the mall. It’s the little things.
In addition to the carefully chosen pieces that fill this store, the smiling faces of the staff make your visit feel like a calming retail experience – one where you can imagine yourself serving friends with their dishes or tucking a child in to the beautiful bedroom display they have at the back of the store.
What kind of place do you want your home to be? What is your style? What makes you feel most like yourself and how can you make others feel most like themselves? All questions you can ask yourself as you peruse the treasures of Cocoon on Main Street, Grimsby.