About Us


We are 3 "Island-ish" women, mom and 2 grown daughters with families of our own. In 2015 We first opened at Departure Bay Beach just off Departure Bay Road on Wingrove Street in Bay Village.  We hoped to be a part of revitalising that area. We visited the Island in 1979 on a holiday and within days of arriving in Nanaimo we bought a house and knew that we indeed had come home.  We have pulled into our beautiful Departure Bay on the ferry so many times since then. We would always stop at "Terry's save right" grocery store for milk or gas and stop to play at the park at the only drive up beach in town and look out at that view that is so recognizeable from any tv footage you see of Nanaimo.  

The bay looks the same yet is constantly changing, maybe you will see bathtub race practices, orcas chasing Dolphins, paddle boarders, marriage proposals, supermoon tide waves splashing over the walls, kids looking for crabs or senior couples out for their daily strolls. This is where we chose to start our business selling a few of our favorite things. Island-ish things...Our family founded Mad Man McKays TV and Audio in Nanaimo during a recession and have been in retail since the 60's across Canada.  We love our community and have thoroughly enjoyed starting Island-ish in our home, doing chalk based paint workshops with so many fascinating people.  After outgrowing our amazing spot at the beach, In March of 2019 we made the exciting move to The Boardwalk on Rutherford Ridge! We call  ourselves the “current caretakers” of this special space with a long lived history in Nanaimo that started out as a farm, then  the Quilted Duck for decades! This village has grown to serve in many ways from a quaint children’s store to 2 restaurants, hair salon, dentist, yoga, bakery etc and Us! Island-ish!! It is a must see stop on the Central Island! 

To us being Island-ish (specifically Vancouver Island) is about lifestyle.  In general, we Islanders have a good balance of priorities between family/work/play.  We like lovely, cozy homes with an eye for blending with the nature that surrounds us. The island is full of beauty and that also translates into how we like to dress and decorate our homes. A mix of pretty and practical is a necessity as you might be on your way out for dinner at one of our sensational dining establishments but get caught in a downpour on your way and we all know that island cold creeps into your bones like nothing else so most of us own a good pair of boots, waterproof jacket and cozy hoody!  Many of us like a daily walk at our favorite park so we show up for school drop off prepared to head to Westwood Lake for a good hike and yet look fashionable an hour later at our favourite coffee shop or  browse through our stylish downtown. We like yummy smelling soaps that are good for our skin and look good in a bathroom display, we enjoy recycling beautiful furniture from gramma or a great garage sale down the road with a new coat of paint. We aren't afraid of a little hard work to get what we want, we've probably camped at least once in the rain or made the nerve wracking drive to Tofino, we know that in the end these things are worth the effort! As anyone who has sat around the fire when the sky finally clears or has caught a sunset at Chesterman Beach knows, the best things in life may not come without some struggle.  

We have sourced and will continue to source fine things that suit our island lifestyle. From the best chalk based paint we could find (from a Vancouver island family; Country Chic Paint, Island made art, jewelry and B.C. made skincare like Salt and Seaweed, Pink House, Sealuxe Soaps. Fashions from Grace and Lace, Joules and Italian styles that suit our Island lifestyle as well as Iocal T shirts. We are on the Nanaimo Bar Trail map with our candles, soaps, cup cozies and lip balms. We hope you enjoy browsing our products and hope you can come visit us down at our shop, admire the view, play with paint or find a treasure for your home or unique piece for your wardrobe, but most of all leave as friends in the Island-ish way.