Karen King creates homeware with an edge (think: matching pillows that read “FUCK”, “YOU,” “LOVE” and “ME”, coasters that read “Oh Look, Coasters”) for her line Said the King. All of her products are manufactured in Toronto with responsible materials. 

SDTC: How did you get started making your designs?

Karen King: It all started when I decided I wanted a bookshelf with a ladder. Once I had that, it became pretty obvious that people don’t buy 8-foot bookshelves every day. Ever since I’ve been working to create more and more new items. And I’m so glad I started it. It’s so satisfying to be in charge of my own brand – I get to make what I want and work with other talented people in my network when I need their expertise.

SDTC: What’s your favourite thing you’ve ever made?

KK: My favourite thing would have to be my ‘Fuck, you love me’ pillowcases. They’re two two-sided type pillowcases that say ‘fuck’ and ‘love’ on one side and “me” and “you” on the other. The idea is so simple but they’re like the product version of “Are you a Beatles person or an Elvis person?”– If people like them or at least smirk, they’re definitely a Said the King person.

SDTC: What advice would you give to young business owners? 

KK: Take some time to figure out your brand, both visually and what type of thing your brand would make. Now that I’ve got a handful of products I can look at a new idea or design and figure out if it’s on brand or how I can make it more in line with the brand. And once your brand has its graphic design language figured out it becomes a lot easier to create new packaging or branded content.

SDTC: What’s the best reaction/story/experience you’ve ever heard in relation to your products?

KK: Actually, the best reaction I’ve had happened really recently. My products got a great review on BlogTO; Said the King was one of a few vendors featured in a larger write-up on July’s Gladstone Flea. It was so nice. It’s great getting positive feedback from people you know, but when an absolute stranger has such kind things to say, it’s almost shocking.

SDTC: Why should people come to the Flea?

KK: Gladstone Flea is a great place to buy local, well-made items from truly nice people. Last flea I browsed, cocktail in hand, sun shining outside. It was ideal, really.

(Left) ‘Higher ground,’ said the king Storage for the adventuresome. Eight feet tall with a ladder that sits flush with the shelf face, this bookcase features a ladder that pulls out to reveal three steps. Generous handholds and custom sliding brackets make the ladder easy to open and close, while felt under the feet protect your floor. Designed and built in Toronto using reclaimed lumber or sustainable hardwood.

(Right) ‘Fuck, you love me,’ said the kingPillows that get to the point. Leave a message for your partner or see what’s waiting when you wake up. Each side of these pillowcases features a different word: “love” and “fuck” on one, “me” and “you” on the other. Just don’t forget to arrange them accordingly when your mom pops by. Hand printed in Toronto on 100% cotton pillowcases.

(Left)‘Shots!’ said the king Shot glasses that say ‘I give a damn’. Filled to the top these shot glasses hold 1.5oz of your chosen beverage. Glazed ceramic on the outside to keep it classy; unglazed crown detail on the bottom to keep it regal. Designed and made in Toronto. Food safe. Available in snow white or gunmetal.

(Right) ‘Foreword,’ said the king Don’t hide your book from prying eyes. This single-serve bookshelf can be used to queue up the next title on your reading list, display your books as art pieces, or keep material near your favourite reading space. Hang just one or in multiples. Keyhole hangers allow this shelf to be hung horizontally, vertically, or at a 45. Designed and built in Toronto using sustainable hardwood.