There’s a lot to be said for shopping local—supporting your community or values you can get behind, the intimacy of small-batched products, the overall sustainability aspect.
These are the stores and companies that give the city of Toronto personality apart from the neon cookie-cutter franchises—the ones you walk past on a hot day in summer and something in the window catches your eye. Or one you ride past on a bus and think to yourself, ‘that place looks cool’. Or catch a tag mentioning them on Instagram—the businesses that arrest you with their story and online aesthetic enough to seek out their brick-and-mortar location.
Here’s a list of proudly Toronto-based businesses for you to check out—if you haven’t already:
If Tumblr and sustainably-sourced skincare had a baby, Flores Boticario would be it. (Seriously, check them out on Instagram and you’ll see what I mean.) Built off a philosophy of artisan skincare, they carry out this artistic approach through the curation of each image and each product—celebrating the individual beauty of each woman and encouraging you to make time for yourself. Flores Boticario brings self-care back to the self.
For love or money walks the fine line between business and artist in their offering of handmade jewelry—no kitschy beads or wire here, though. They make every single ring, necklace, earring and bracelet to order, worked from metal and as polished as any piece you might find in a regular department store, but much more personal. The brand also makes it a point to work with local artists to create multidisciplinary collaborations, taking custom jewelry a step further.
Zane brings worldwide design together in one gram-worthy room. Less is more with Zane—their goal is to elevate your life and your look through accessories. With brands like Fennec from Seoul, Vancouver-based Wolf Circus, the classic Baggu, Sonya Lee and Le Specs, Zane is a local shop with a global aesthetic. As an added plus, the store also operates as an event space, further solidifying its place in the Toronto community.
Supporting local artists is right up there in terms of shopping local, and Emily Taylor of Cabin Journal offers aesthetic in spades—her realm extending outside paper to include home goods as well. Colourful, whimsical, and seriously cute, Cabin Journal’s risograph prints, greeting cards, and tea towels evoke a sense of vintage that is so en vogue right now.
Quote: “It makes me so happy to think there are so many of [my prints] out in the world now, hanging on peoples’ walls and *hopefully* bringing a smile to their faces.” (from her tumblr)
You can’t deny that sustainability and accessibility are hot topics these days, but Not Magic Shop’s ethos takes out the buzzwords—uses them, neutralizes them—to build a brand that resonates. The founder, Danielle-Leigh named the shop after a quote by Charles Eames, “Art resides in the quality of doing, process is not magic.” Not Magic Shop features a charming mix of creation and curation, including a range of goods from ceramics to stationery to earrings of her own making—pieced together from brass, lucite, and even mirrors—that might be quite magical after all.
The latest natural trend in wellness and beauty? Natural deodorant. This seems kind of underwhelming until you get a whiff of the Eucalyptus Mint from Leaves and Trees—plus, it works! (The most important thing, obviously—and you get to avoid all the nasty chemicals. All hail clean beauty!) Not just limited to deodorants, Leaves of Trees is also famed for their argan oil products. Just check out their Instagram stories to watch some seriously soothing videos of how they make their batches of soaps, creams, and balms.
An added bonus: LOT also have a healthy appreciation for the importance of packaging—after all, the prettier something looks on your bathroom shelf, the more likely you are to use it, right?
Common People Shop lives up to its label of general store—a mishmash of curated eclectic, alluring, art-based products for your bookshelf, nightside table, desk, on-the-go, wherever. What’s unique about CPS is their offering isn’t limited to the goods, but also the space that holds them—the shop also acts as event space for workshops, art showings and the like, making it a home for both the artists and their work.
You’ll find everything from bags to bowls, from journals to jewelry, from tea to tech—the perfect place to get lost in on Queen West. Plus, if you like dogs (who doesn’t?) according to their Instagram, they always have a furry friend or two in store!
offline: 1694 QUEEN ST W - TORONTO
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