It all began in 2004 when Doha Lindskoog (’04 BDes) and three friends in the Faculty of Arts’ Industrial Design program decided to enter a Canadiana-themed design exhibition together. “We felt nervous about entering our first design show and felt strength in numbers,” says Lindskoog.
They called themselves ‘Loyal Loot’ and entered several submissions with rustic themes, including a bowl made from a cross-section of a log and a hand-loomed rug in the shape of a bear. Not only were their designs accepted to the exhibition—which was held both in New York City and Toronto—but they received international press.
“We were completely shocked. Every piece of press we got blew our minds,” says Lindskoog. Loyal Loot was noticed by high-end glossy magazines like Wallpaper, Dwell and Azure. Even more surprising were the order requests coming in from retail stores. Even though the quartet hadn’t graduated yet, they had the makings of a design firm.
So, the four students—Lindskoog, Carmen Douville, Dara Humniski and Anna Thomas—decided to make a go of it. They formed a company and began selling their handmade furniture and housewares to retail stores across North America, and to customers directly via their online store. Since 2004, the ladies of Loyal Loot have exhibited their creations in cities around the world, including London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Milan and Stockholm.
“The Industrial Design program at the U of A was amazing.”
These days, the business is a partnership between Lindskoog and Thomas (’04 BDes), but the other two founding members still contribute designs on occasion. Loyal Loot continues to reel in press mentions (recent publications include Elle Decoration UK, Western Living, Wallpaper and the Globe and Mail), which has helped the company weather the economic downturn, says Lindskoog.
Almost a decade later, the log bowl that the collective submitted to their first design show—the result of a self-directed project Lindskoog completed while still at the U of A—continues to be a bestseller. Other items in the company’s collection include a sleek stand-alone coat rack made of birch, maple clothing hooks shaped like shirt collars, and a walnut side-table with a white Formica surface resembling a table cloth.
At the moment, most of Loyal Loot’s products are handmade by designers, but Lindskoog says the company is moving towards manufacturing their items locally in order to grow.
Lindskoog says her education helped make Loyal Loot possible. “The Industrial Design program at the U of A was amazing,” she says. “There is such a fantastic wood shop/production facility there, and our techs were so helpful. Anything you could imagine up, they would find a way to help make happen. There was a great balance of structure and freedom to follow your own direction.”