Anybody driving through Smithers along the Yellowhead has probably noticed a unique little structure at the corner of Highway 16 and King Street.
Dubbed ‘The Blue House,’ this multicoloured wooden building highlights the ingenuity and imagination behind Tiny Life Supply, a growing business dedicated to providing for tiny house builders and ‘do-it-yourselfers.’
Tiny Life Supply is operated by Smithers locals Axel Whalen and Jake Daly, who started the business in 2016.
“The whole idea for the business started when [Axel] decided to build a couple of tiny houses, just sort of as a side project,” said Daly. “He’s really into architecture, and also different concepts and ideas surrounding your environmental impact, or reducing your footprint. So he built these tiny houses sort of for fun, to kind of explore these different realms – possibly to sell, possibly to live in.”
According to Daly, the idea arose when Whalen had difficulty finding resources.
“We always connected to talk about business ideas and just catch up,” Daly explained, “and when he was explaining it to me, this need… I was doing some web design at the time, and I was like, ‘Hey, why don’t we start a store? You’re already doing all the research on the best gears and appliances that need to go into the tiny house, so why don’t we become the resource?’”
Tiny houses have risen in popularity over the last couple of years due to a myriad of benefits, which Daly said includes low costs, a smaller environmental impact, and a minimalist lifestyle.
“It’s a good solution to three things that our generation is facing,” Daly said, “which is financial restraints around housing, a very real environmental tipping point that we all need to address, and then, just, kind of the almost mental health by reducing stuff.”
Tiny Life Supply appeared at the Northern Trade Expo this year, where they won best commercial booth, and recently expanded their team with a few new employees. Soon, they say, they will be starting the second round of their Tiny Life Renegades project, in which they support a group of ambassadors tackling innovative, small-space DIY projects (for more information visit tinylifesupply.ca/renegades).
As for the future, their goals sit along a wide scale that ranges from ‘not going bankrupt’ to ‘taking over the world.’
“The future… that could go anywhere, you know? Lots of ideas, and they’re all, I don’t know, really crazy and big,” said Whalen.
“The neat thing about this business is that it started from Axel’s brain, being curious about architecture and environmental sustainability,” Daly said. “And then, once we’ve kind of just grown the business organically, we’ve realized that there’s so much potential. Especially with all the networking we’ve done. There’s so much potential to just take an idea and run with it, and create a larger impact in a ton of different areas. I think we’re kind of just going to see where things flow.”
To learn more about Tiny Life Supply, or to browse their products, visit tinylifesupply.ca or phone them at 1-800-453-0124.