Lori Endes and Jennifer Masters

The Story of IN | A Love Story About Social Innovation, Retail and Design

Author: Adrianna LeBlanc

2018 is an exciting time for designers. Opportunities to create next level designs are continually growing and companies are realizing the value of the creative mind. George Brown College is producing talented multi - disciplinary designers left right and center and IN has the ability to hire them before they enter the workforce. This is the story of how the IN Store and Studio are fostering the growth of talented interdisciplinary designers with strong collaborative and design thinking skills.

 Lori and Jen from the IN Store

The Beginning

Conceived in 2014 and launched in 2015, the IN Store is the School of Design’s hub for entrepreneurship, community and creativity. The focus of the store and studio is to help fund student scholarships, provide a place for students to gain experience outside of the classroom and to grow the design culture at George Brown College.
IN’s name came from a collaborative ideation session between Lori Endes, Sisley Leung, Elise Hodson, Esther Phua, and Connie Wansbrough.
“...we came up with “workshop” and we all got super excited about it only to discover that somebody else had workshop. And then we came up with IN and the simplicity of IN just really worked for us. So I’m glad that we had to throw our original idea out the window. Which is so much like design, the one thing everybody gets excited about sometimes isn’t really the right thing. So we became IN and IN is perfect for what we do.” says Lori Endes
Besides the fact that “IN” looks so good graphically, IN fits as a community design hub because it implies a place someone would go into. IN your home. IN your studio. IN is a place to gather, share ideas and grow at the School of Design.



Lori Endes, the Special Projects Coordinator at George Brown College (and one of our kick butt #girlbosses) has always been a busy bee. When I asked what Lori did before working as the Special Projects Coordinator at George Brown College, she laughed and said “about 18 different projects at once”. Lori was hired by the school while she was a student at the Institute Without Boundaries in 2009 and has played an instrumental part in helping launch and run the IN Store since 2014.


Jen Masters was hired as the IN Store Coordinator in 2016. The store needed someone with a strong concept of design and industry experience to better mentor peer coaches through the design process and Jen was perfect for the job. Jen graduated from the GBC Graphic Design program in 2011 and after working in the industry for a few years returned to GBC for the Interactive Media Management program to enhance her web, motion graphics and 3D skills. Jen explained that “As a student I always felt connected to the school so when I graduated it was almost a ‘no brainer’ to look for an opportunity within the school. This way I could continue to be a part of a creative community of students, faculty and industry partners."
 Lori and Jen
Together, Lori and Jen have worked to create a culture of mentorship, creativity and positivity at the IN Store. The dynamic duo will be working side by side to push the store even further over the next few years.


The Future of IN

So where are you going to see IN in the future? “EVERYWHERE.” says Lori. You’ll see IN products on our website, in stores across Toronto and eventually across Canada. We are working on new partnerships for social good and innovative products (expect a collaboration with George Brown College’s Fashion Exchange next year).


The opening of the Waterfront Campus means we’re going to have a brand new market not just for products, but for events. IN Store workshops will be able to reach beyond the School of Design to the public. Between OCADU, Artscape and a number of other organizations, we’re going to have a bunch of new design friends. And a beach! We’re excited for all of the endless possibilities.

IN Love with Product

Person holding the Toronto key chain

The first IN product was launched in 2015: the Toronto Keychain designed by then Graphic Design student Sisley Leung. Next came the wooden desk kit which is still sold in store and online. Our original products are amazing, but IN needed to move into existing products to give graphic design students a place to put their design work. So in 2016 original and existing products with graphic designs by George Brown College students began lining the shelves of our store (if you haven’t seen our cards and glass trivets, you absolutely should check them out!).

Bison flowers trivet

IN Store Squad Superstars

IN is constantly looking for new students to join the team. Here’s what Jen and Lori had to say about what they look for in potential employees:
  1. Accountability
  2. Responsibility
  3. Collaborative (here at IN, we work as a team)
  4. Communicative
  5. Multi tasking
  6. Flexibility
  7. Resilience
  8. Open mindedness
  9. Being a good designer helps, but attitude is more important
“Even if you’re weak in certain areas, Lori and I will help students to gain those skills and grow stronger” says Jen. IN employees also take time to mentor students in the school, creating a platform for peer to peer connection. We’re looking for students who see not just what IN is, but what it could be. IN gives students the opportunity to branch into multiple design disciplines where they may not have had the chance before.

Lori Endes and Jennifer Masters

The End

IN not only helps students grow as designers, it teaches them soft skills and how to work in varying disciplines in a world that demands flexibility. The growth of IN means more students will get to expand their skill sets and work on interesting projects. It means that new designers will enter the workforce ready and experienced. It means that the School of Design will continue to grow as a design and community leader in Toronto. IN advocates student success and design and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.
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