About

We Are The Desert Collective

It all started in the desert...The Desert Collective is a collaboration of creative citizens, artists, dreamers and wanderers from across the globe, forever adventurous, young at heart and inspired to make this world a better place. We are a community that strives to forge sacred spaces and connections through our projects, collaborations, events and storytelling.

We create beautiful spaces. Check in to or host a retreat at any one of our unique properties designed to escape the every day.

Photographer Jaime Kowal opened iconic mid-century modern The Amado in 2013 as her flagship property before teaming up with childhood friend Anna Hardwick to open the The Ferg in 2016 – a move deeply inspired by the beauty and simplicity of Scandinavian farmhouses and the Nordic concept of hygge.

A mutual exuberance for The County shared with Aaron David led to the development of The Wilk, a gorgeous farmhouse curated with vintage decor that invokes an ultra-luxe seventies den, and located on 15 acres of beautiful Ontario wilderness.

Jaime’s love of transportive spaces and a chance meeting with writer and magazine editor Shannon Harley led to the launch of The Desert Collective Content in 2017. With award-winning experience in design, publishing, and food culture (and degrees in gastronomy and fashion) the duo was inspired to deliver
professional, meaningful and authentic stories on compelling destinations and personalities for high quality editorial clients around the globe.

Their first assignment was in the desert, and subsequent collaborations quickly followed throughout the USA, Italy, Botswana, Zambia, South Africa and Mexico for various publications. Drawing from a combined 30+ years of professional travel, hospitality and editorial experience, they share stories with those who prefer to linger in cafes, avoid the sites, unearth unconventional beauty and learn the local wisdom.

We believe consumers extend incredible collective power to shape culture and the future of our environment and so, The Desert Collective Shop (coming soon!) brings together our team’s favorite products – from both our global wanderings and from inside our hotel rooms – all brought to you by our favorite makers. When it comes to curating the shop, our philosophy is well-designed, handmade, organic, sustainable, beautiful and one-of-a-kind.

We say, if it doesn’t give you butterflies, it’s not worth doing. We invite you to live authentically, consciously and connected in our spaces, whether you stay with us, escape with us, explore with us, shop with us, or make a change with us. Cultural exchange is our language, nature our inspiration, humanity our barometer, a life fulfilled our goal and community our manifesto. Join the collective.

Giving Back

We believe in harnessing the power of all you beautiful people coming together and want to share the love. We donate a percentage of sales to a number of global charities including Avaaz - a global web movement to bring people-powered politics to decision-making everywhere. Be sure to check them out.

Our Team

JAIME KOWAL

Jaime’s 18-year career as a freelance photographer and boutique hotelier has taken her to over 30 countries spanning six continents, providing travel and lifestyle imagery for commercial and editorial clients including The New York Times, delicious. magazine, Vogue Living Australia, Dwell, and Condé Nast Traveler.

Jaime was nominated as a '40 under 40' by Palm Springs Life Magazine in 2014, featured on the cover of Thrive Magazine as a proponent of creativity in business in 2015 and featured in Travel & Leisure Magazine in 2016 as an entrepreneur to watch. Most recently Jaime has been selected by Tumi as a Global Brand Ambassador with a campaign that launched January 2018.

Jaime works between Los Angeles, Toronto and Palm Springs where over the past five years she has co-founded and designed a number of design-driven hospitality projects including The Amado, The Junipero, Ernest Coffee, Bootlegger Tiki, The Ferg and The Wilky Way.

ANNA HARDWICK

Anna is an actor working in film, television, theatre and voiceover in Toronto and across Canada. With a penchant for getting things done, Anna also writes and produces. She founded the theatre company Rip Jaw Productions and produced and performed in the critically-acclaimed World Premiere of John Patrick Shanley’s A Woman Is A Secret. Anna can be found Guest Starring as Ms. Peach on the new Disney series Raising Expectations, the brainchild of Tom Saunders (Arrested Development).

When not acting, Anna can be found on a yoga mat, a surf board, a pair of skis or renovating old homes. Anna opened The Ferg with Jaime in Prince Edward County in 2015.

AARON DAVID

Aaron David is a resourceful and experienced real estate developer who has worked on projects in both the commercial and residential realms. He is currently Head of Development for a sustainably-developed resort on Alexander Island in Prince Edward County - a stunning stretch of wildlife preserve which will soon boast an environmentally friendly collection of prefab beachfront accommodation.

Aaron is the Co-Founder of The Wilky Way with Jaime in Prince Edward County.

MEGAN WALDBILLIG

Megan is an energetic cross fit coach with an eye for design and problem solving. Megan is the Property Manager for The Amado providing exceptional service to our guests from across the globe. Megan is based in Palm Springs, CA.

Jaime Kowal

Photographer, Founder & Creative Director

Anna Hardwick

Actor, Director & The Ferg Co-Founder

Aaron David

Real Estate Developer & The Wilky Way Co-Founder

Megan Waldbillig

Design Aficionado & The Amado Property Manager

What our guests have to say