Homegrown Business: Fenella and Laura, Co-Founders of Kookn

Kookn is a Toronto business that connects people to unique modern collectibles. We spoke with Fenella and Laura, Co-Founders, to find out more about them.

Kookn

What is your business called and what does it do?

We are Kookn.

Kookn is a place that connects people to unique mid-century modern collectibles and sought-after rare finds—lovingly used pieces that bring joy in the ceremony and celebration of cooking, eating and entertaining. We are a destination where Scandinavian/Finnish vintage design lovers can buy, consign or rent from us.

What made you want to do this work?

We are design curators and makers with a love of vintage cookware, tableware and serving ware.

It all started during a weekend antique outing when we found ourselves crossing a room to reach for the same yellow Dansk Enamelware Pot from the 70s. Beyond the stunning design aesthetics and impeccable condition, what drew us both was the fact that not only had it lasted for years, it also still had so much left to give!

And so, in April 2021 Kookn was born: a place where we could connect people to unique mid-century modern collectibles and sought-after rare finds—lovingly used pieces that bring joy to the celebration of cooking, eating and entertaining.

What problem did you want to solve with the business?

Essentially, we want to promote, celebrate and encourage reuse. These beloved pieces are timeless, beautifully designed and are made to last. Our goal is to get these stunning pieces out of a dark cupboard or a box on a garage shelf and back into consumers’ hands, kitchen and table, to add to their enjoyment for many years to come.

Who are your clientele/demographics?

Our clientele spans from Boomers who are downsizing to Gen Z, Millenials and X’s who love vintage finds and have a passion for cooking and entertaining.

How does your business make money? How does it work?

We mainly buy from online auctions and customers who are ready to downsize their beloved pieces. Each find is cleaned up, repaired if needed, researched, photographed and added to our online store Kookn.ca. In addition to our vintage collection, we also carry our own product lines. Trae Balm is a wood conditioner that is easy to use, food-safe, organic and suitable for any wood. We offer Kookn Tiny Taper candles that are imported from Denmark, made from the original Dansk recipe from the 1960s that does not drip or soot. It means that people who have these Dansk vintage candle holders can actually use and enjoy them. There are also our Kookn Pot Holders that are locally made using repurposed vintage Scandinavian fabrics.

Although we are a new business that is in startup mode, we also feel it is important to give where we live. In 2021, we committed to donating 5% of our sales to support the Parkdale Community Food Bank.

Where in the city can we find your profession?

Our collection is available in our online shop. We’ll also be selling at local markets and pop-up stores in the Toronto area. We believe that it’s so impactful to see, feel and experience the quality and beauty of these special pieces.

What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.

Many of our customers ask us how the vintage Dansk and Copco cookware performs compared to new cookware?

We get very excited when asked this. Not only are they stylish and elegant enough to join you at the dinner table but they are durable, excellent performers and a joy to use.

What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?

We love the treasure hunt to find our collection and the personal stories and history behind the pieces that people share with us.

Although we love sending our collection to new homes where they will be loved and appreciated, it can be sad when we say goodbye to a “hard to come by” piece.

What is your favourite joke about your own profession?

Because the cookware is in excellent condition, we often hear “is this stuff new?” or “are these reproductions?”. After learning they are vintage and between 50-60 years old, our answers are always followed by “wow”, and then we just smile.

Where can we follow you?

You can follow Kookn on Instagram and Facebook. It is a great place for our followers to see new collection pieces and Pop-up dates.

PAY IT FORWARD: What is another local business that you love?

We are loving a local Toronto company Sock Footage. They are a social enterprise that sells cool graphic socks. For every pair sold they donate a pair of socks to those less fortunate. Founder Marisa Sheff started the social enterprise knowing that socks are the most needed and least donated clothing item. You can buy their socks on sockfootage.com and from a vending machine, they have at Dufferin Mall.