A little over a year ago, Micah Cameron was the women’s wear fashion director for Hudson’s Bay. Today we’re at her mews-style home while her son Marlon Wolf won’t take a nap because he knows there’s company and he wants in on the action too. Just like mom, he isn’t sweating the lost winks. He’s all smiles and going with the flow while we find out more about Micah’s other love child, Frankie’s Surf Club, a lifestyle and online shop that’s just a few months older than her babe.
She says her new venture is helping her rediscover the highs of her early career as a stylist: Weaving stories through her personal style and the flex schedule of being her own boss. Now she’s got mad corporate skills which combined with her nomadic-beachy-rocker vibe is bringing her lifestyle and online shop to the next level. Based in Muskoka and neighbouring her partner’s resto (that’s Colin Tooke of Grand Electric, Grand Electric Muskoka and Electric Mud), she’s unearthing must-haves that are relevant to bohemian babes/beachy mamas/cottage jet-setters, and even better, her biz is giving her time and space to hang out with Marlon while she’s remapping her career.
“I started rethinking my career while I was pregnant. Of course I had a little bit of anxiety like ‘am I crazy? I’m the only person leaving a job before mat leave’, and thanks to Colin, he convinced me to make a move and operate at a healthier and slower pace while I was making the baby. To be honest, I didn’t just make the change for Marlon. Before I worked at Hudson’s Bay, I was a freelancer and then I was thrown into this super corporate environment which I worked really hard at and enjoyed for seven years. However, I missed making my own hours and seeing my personal style and vision come to fruition.
Frankie’s is a true creative outlet for me. Everything that we sell are things that I love, things I’ve found on vacation or brands I always wanted to partner with. I personally use, recommend and bless every single item. As a fashion director, my job was to take all of the major trends that were happening on the runways, on the streets and even pop culture and make those trends accessible for everyone who shopped at the department store. As you can imagine, it’s difficult to create a point of view when you’re trying to cater to so many different people. With Frankie’s, it feels a lot more natural to me. Everything is still on trend but it’s much easier to edit because I’m curating for a specific lifestyle and personality that isn’t about just one season. I’m a true believer that fashions fade and style is eternal, so I like to think that every piece I choose for Frankie’s are things we can love for the long run.
The first summer the store was open, we blew through the stock quickly. Sales were better than I expected, and I think it’s success and growth is in part thanks to my corporate grooming. Over the years, I’ve trained my eye to spot the people and things who are doing something special; editing is my strong suit (I mix hits with things that are little bit too kooky that I’ll have to hustle to sell but it’s worth it because they have a great visual story). And I’m well-versed in corporate speak (a language unto its own), which has helped me negotiate exciting collabs with big retailers and brands.
How do I do it all with a baby? To be honest, work-life balance isn’t really an issue for me so far. Colin and I are really laid back and easy going. While attachment parenting is nice in theory, Marlon doesn’t completely rule our day-to-day lives. We work around his sleep-eat-play schedule and make sure we’re accommodating him but we prioritize our needs too, which means we’re not stressed out and he isn’t either. Since Colin is a business owner, his schedule is slightly flexible and my headspace is generally in a, ‘not-a-big-deal’ mode when things have to get done. Last Friday I had to fly to New York for work, and Marlon came with me. I flew in and out in one day and it sounds crazy, but it really wasn’t because I didn’t see it as stressful. Plus, I’m used to schlepping around big bags of clothes when I was a stylist so carrying a baby for a day didn’t feel like a burden.
“While attachment parenting is nice in theory, Marlon doesn’t completely rule our day-to-day lives….we’re accommodating him but we prioritize our needs too, which means we’re not stressed out and he isn’t either.”
Overall, becoming a mom has taught me to work a lot faster and get better at time management. And how I operate changes every day because he’s only 11 months old. For his first few months we were up in Muskoka and it made sense to keep his bassinet in the shop. Then in the Fall, we came back to the city when he was more curious and mobile. Now I have to figure out when I can fit in two hours of work or when I need a babysitter for a couple of days so I can catch up on admin and finish my orders. I used to work from 9-to-5 and then shut my fashion brain off completely. Now with my own business, I never really stop—I’m always thinking about things—so it feels busier.
I do miss sitting front row at the shows and shopping more often than I can now. But I’m not in the headspace to go back to that kind of work, and I kinda love being creative with what’s in my closet instead of always buying the latest designer clothes. Besides, what’s most important to me right now is Marlon and I’m lucky he’s so chill that it’s easy for me to stay focused on Frankie’s and commit to what I know it can become.”
HOME TOUR A family home with loads of personal style
Her bedroom is minimal yet still swish thanks to the gorgeous original windows. The big but? They’re not efficient so they’re getting lovingly restored with modern energy smarts this year.
“Colin and I love antique picking. We go to the Brimfeld Antique Show in Massachusetts every year and bring finds, like this roughed up leather chair, for the house and for our work.”
Marlon’s wall shows off Mom’s artful genes. The abstract landscapes are from her grandfather who made them with gel oil sticks during his annual visits to Maine. (He made enough for 21 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren). She found a watercolour her uncle painted of David Bowie in the basement when she moved into the home she bought from her grandparents. And the Etsy print of a feathered headdress finds company with a painting by Sonic Youth front woman, Kim Gordon.
“My secret weapon are these built-in drawers. They keep this small room neat and tidy.” The trundle bed is also custom made and measured to fit underneath the window. For the perfect finish, finds from a trip to Morocco add an eclectic vibe.
Marlon’s bedroom used to be the kitchen when she moved in. “I remember hanging out in here with my entire family when I was a kid.” To free up space for a bedroom, she built a kitchen on the main floor.
Her laundry bin is a re-useable paper basket from Merci, a pit-stop for every fashion industry insider left wandering the streets of Paris.
This bull horn skull from Mexico looks like it’s been taken to with a brush and pigment but actually coloured threads are applied by hand in a technique that’s best described as “yarn-painted”. You can learn more about how it’s done here.
Marlon’s favourite books are these touch & feel ABC’s from French illustrator Xavier Deneux and On the Night You Were Born (not shown) by Nancy Tillman. “I can’t get through it without crying.” (We took a quick read and got teary eyed too).
This poster was picked up during one of many work trips to Paris. From graffiti artist André Saraiva, it’s all fantasy from a collection he calls Dream Concerts in the Streets.
Her house is chock full of succulents in the kitchen, living room and master bedroom. “We had to bring them home from the shop so we could take care of them through the year. I always thought they were so easy but I’ve learned their quite sensitive too.” (TOP LEFT: And those are sage and sandalwood bunches when she’s in the mood to give the air a feel-good cleanse).
While most of the house is white and bright, she added some intensity to the living room with paint in Railings by Farrow & Ball. Couch, Restoration Hardware.
Marlon gets steady with help from a leather lounger she picked up during one of her many jaunts to Brimfeld. Behind him, is a statue that came from Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Toronto. “My grandfather was commissioned to redo this sculpture for the church and they never retrieved the original one. When my grandparents moved out, I was happy to keep it.”
MY FAVOURITE THINGS
Micah’s committed to her beachy-boho aesthetic in her beauty routine too: Untitled L’Eau Maison Margiela (a unisex scent with a citrus finish); Amazing Maui Babe Browning Lotion (“ I mix it with my SPF to get a nice sheen”); Coqui Coqui Eau de Parfum in Coco (“It literally smells like coconut and sea salt”); Chanel No. 5 Bath Oil (she admits she hasn’t had time to use this since becoming a mom); F Miller Face Oil and Beach Spray (for hair) which she developed with the all natural beauty artisan especially for Frankie’s; Aesop Shine to nourish the ends of her tresses; and Nars The Multiple in Copacabana for necessary shimmer.
“I secretly think I’m Keith Richards,” which explains the rock n’ roll accoutrements in her wardrobe, namely these YSL boots that’s she’s had on heavy rotation for a few years now.
“I bought this Balmain dress for a big work event in honour of Anna Della Russo who came into town.” It suitably echoes the short hems and major sparkle of the fashion personality. The real kicker? Micah got it during an end of season sale for $1,000 (instead of the original $21,000 price tag).
What’s in every stylish mom’s wardrobe? A moto jacket, of course. “This one is from The Kooples and I love it but I secretly wish it was from YSL.” Don’t we all?
Her accessories are statement makers because of their sculptural design and neutral palette. Earrings, Marni, and bracelet, Aesa. “I could just be wearing jeans and a tee, but once I put these on, I instantly feel dressed up.”
These vests she bought in Morocco are go-to’s in her wardrobe now that she doesn’t need to wear powered up looks for the boardroom.