- Words by Angela Cowan Photography by Lia Crowe
At 21 Kristen Russell has already made a successful foray into the business world and is on her way to even bigger ventures. She and her mother, Karlin Russell, opened up Bayside Goods in Mill Bay just over two years ago, and have created a go-to boutique that’s become a well-loved fixture in the community.
“The community support and community love has been so strong here. It’s been really cool to put our roots down,” she says. “My family moved over to Mill Bay three years ago from Vancouver, and we noticed there were a lot of super fashionable, stylish people here that didn’t want to go all the way into Victoria to shop.”
She adds: “We do what we like to call elevated basics, so there’s a little bit of something for everyone. Our youngest customers are 12 and 13, and we also have people in their 90s.”
Kristen, who had recently finished a theology diploma in Germany, says opening the shop had long been a dream for her mother and her.
In the throes of realizing another dream, the family purchased just over 30 acres in Mill Bay about three years ago: Pine Lodge Farm, which was previously a spectacular wedding venue.
“We’ve spent the last three years restoring the gardens, and in the past two months we’ve added livestock back onto the property. We’re hoping to expand into cattle and beekeeping,” says Kristen. “We want to be able to provide food for our families, and then food for our neighbourhood, and finally to provide food for our community in the Cowichan Valley.”
The 7 Sins
Whose shoes would you like to walk in?
As a huge fan of the ’90s, I have to say Victoria Beckham. She really has done it all and carries herself with poise and sophistication. I’m addicted to her beauty line and her fashion brand is to die for. She also has a beautiful and successful family. Victoria is a true girl boss.
What is the food you could eat over and over again?
I’m in love with the lobster roll from Ironside in San Diego. It’s my uncle’s restaurant, and I get the lobster roll every time I visit.
You’re given $1 million that you have to spend selfishly. What would you spend it on?
I would love to build my dream home on my family’s acreage. I want a space big enough to have cocktail parties and big family dinners.
One of my biggest pet peeves has to be people who are unkind. I think this past year has really shown all of us how much kindness can make a difference. How you treat others can make a positive or negative impact on them. Choose being kind and positive every time!
Where would you spend a long time doing nothing?
I spent several years of my childhood living in Europe, and one of my favourite holiday spots was the South of France, specifically Provence. I could spend ages drinking wine while walking through the lavender fields. The markets there are fantastic, with so much fresh produce and pastries.
What is the one thing you’re secretly proud of?
I love how close-knit my family is. My mom and I run Bayside Goods together. She really is my best friend. Every night my whole family has a screen-free dinner together. We’re all super connected and close.
What makes your heart beat faster?
Nothing gets me fired up more than ripping my skis down a mountain on a powder day. I downhill ski raced for a number of years and it is still my favourite way to get outside and connect with nature.