These days, Levi's has a customized jean service, Adidas offers tailor-made tracksuits and Louis Vuitton makes handbags according to client whims (all at a premium price, of course). Largely limited to traditional tailoring until recently, bespoke services have become a big trend, fuelled by a desire to make customers feel special (and to give them something Internet shopping can't – a personal experience). Even Infiniti, the luxury-vehicle division of the Japanese automaker Nissan, launched a bespoke design department not long ago to ensure that drivers get, quite literally, the cars of their dreams (Bentley is also reportedly opening one soon). What other unusual custom services are out there? Following are three, from wallpaper to workouts, now available in Canada.
Yoga by design
A "wellness concierge," as she calls herself, Toronto's Rachelle Wintzen creates private yoga sessions for zen-seeking clients craving tailored workouts. The one-on-one classes are held at CHI JUNKY, the former dancer's spacious studios in the city's Leslieville neighbourhood. "We offer small, custom classes with no more than six people at a time working closely with instructors who are well versed in how to modify an exercise program to suit a client's specific needs," says Wintzen, who opened her facility in late 2013 as an alternative to large-scale workouts in anonymous gyms. Every detail is customized, right down to the choice of music. "All fitness classes and private training are designed to avoid injury and allow for maximum attention and care," Wintzen continues. "It's the un-gym, a workout with no machines, with a trainer just for you and without anyone staring at you while you sweat." Every detail – mats, water, tea, towels – is taken care of; snacks are available in an on-site wellness boutique that Wintzen "curated" herself, selecting only items she personally consumes or uses. "In a way, we do the work for you," she says. "All a client has to do is show up."
Jonathan Nodrick and Anita Modha of the Toronto company ROLLOUT offer customized "architectural surface materials" – that's wallpaper, in layman's terms – featuring imagery inspired directly by their customers, specifically their ideas about what they'd like printed on their walls. "We are continually learning from our clients," says Nodrick, who, with Modha, uses the latest technology to create large-format 3-D imagery for residential and retail clients across Canada. "People come to us for ideas, insight and experience and push us to make them something that solves a challenge they put before us. In turn, they allow us to push them in developing a product that is bold and innovative enough to get noticed." Originally founded in Calgary, ROLLOUT was based in Vancouver for a time; in 2011, operations were moved to Toronto so Modha and Nodrick could be closer to the head offices of their corporate clients, among them Holt Renfrew, Shaw Communications and Hudson's Bay. Since then, ROLLOUT has created custom designs for international companies as well as celebrity homes. "Why do we offer this level of customization?" Nodrick asks rhetorically. "As creative people, we are compelled to see what we can do with this medium and where we can take it. We are continually experimenting and innovating in order to take what we have learned and apply it in new and exciting ways."
Located in Montreal, ECKSAND employs skilled craftsmen to create one-of-a-kind engagement rings, wedding bands and personalized jewels made in direct consultation with the client in person, online or over the phone. "Everything is hand-crafted and unique, using the highest quality eco-materials, including metals and gemstones," says Erica Bianchini, a McGill economics grad who co-founded her luxury jewellery business in 2010 with Yoan Gehant, a Frenchman from Tahiti whose family has been in the pearl business for generations. "It's about giving people what they never had in the world of high-end jewellery." A consultation typically begins with a gem being chosen from among Ecksand's hand-selected collection of pearls, diamonds and other precious stones. The design evolves from there, usually with the shape and irregularities of the stone infleuncing the creative process. "We have a website component, but usually we ask customers who can't come into our shop to pick up the phone and call us so we can put them in touch with one of our jewellery designers," Bianchini says. "There is a lot of back and forth until the customer gets what he or she wants, including price point and precise measurements." The end result is a piece of jewellery no one else in the world has. "That's the ultimate luxury," Bianchini feels. "Having something original and uniquely your own."
Editor's note: A previous version of this story misspelled Jonathan Nodrick's name.