‘Tis the time to contemplate doing your holiday season shopping. Filled with excitement and trepidation we head to the malls to find just the right gift for Aunt Betty, cousin Liz, and that next-door neighbour who always gives us her home-made raspberry jam. But what we find are crowded parking lots, long line-ups, mass-produced merchandise and not necessarily the peace and joy of the season.
To have fun and find that perfect item of clothing or gift item for your mom, sister or bestie, Sheila Kelba-Warawa, owner of Queen Bea Clothing Marketplace, suggests making the 35-minute drive from Red Deer to Bentley. She often has small groups of women make the outing to Queen Bea – giving each other helpful advice and shopping ideas. Why not start a new tradition – Christmas shopping in the country.
Sheila specializes in high-quality funky, unique clothing and gift items from all over the world – Canada, America, India, Israel, Lithuania and Spain, to name a few.
“We cater to women like me who love to be stylish but comfy at the same time,” Sheila says. “Over the past five years I’ve come to specialize in natural fibres – bamboo, linen, cotton and wools.”
The styles are funky and fun – from everyday casual to dressed-up casual – definitely not something you’ll see everywhere. As one regular says of Queen Bea, it’s “a lovely little shop. It is a favourite place for a drive from Red Deer to check out new selections of classy and fun pieces.”
Thoughtful Gift Giving in Comfort
Your friend, sister or mom will cherish the thought that goes into a gift, such as one-of-a-kind accessories or decor. Sheila is quick to say that her shop is a “no pressure zone.” She wants customers to feel comfortable with their purchases. It really is about finding that perfect gift for everyone. She highlights the hand-crafted necklaces and earrings made by Vancouver’s Karyn Chopik. Karyn’s sculptural work comes in hand-forged sterling silver and bronze with chunks of semi-precious stone, and antique beads.
Free Trade and Eco-Friendly – Step into Spanish Style
Queen Bea also carries many artisanal free-trade, eco-friendly gift items such as soaps, scarves, felt decorations, slippers and an abundance of colourful Bolga baskets from Ghana. One unique item are boots from Spain by El Naturalista. These are eco-tan friendly high-quality leather that form to your foot easily and lasts for years. And in most cases the soles are made of recycled material.
For a relaxed and fun holiday season shopping expedition, visit Queen Bea Clothing and Marketplace in Bentley (closed Sundays and Mondays).