A pair of independent jewellery stores on Queen Street West is coming of age. Sister boutiques Made You Look celebrated their 10th anniversary on Thursday, suggesting that their unique business model is working – and based on the crowds that came out for the occasion – it’s working well.
Made You Look is not your typical retailer. Not only do the boutiques sell jewellery; they feature in-store workshops where jewellery is handmade by some of the designers themselves.
The two shops are positioned directly across the street from one another on Queen Street near Dufferin. One specializes in elegant, sophisticated jewellery, including wedding and engagement rings; while the other carries pieces that are more fun, funky and fashionable.
Together, the two shops carry items from more than 100 local independent jewellery designers; some of which rent space in the stores and use it to manufacture the shiny items that are sold both at Made You Look and at other retailers.
The business model lets shoppers see firsthand where the merchandise is made, and who’s making it.
The concept is particularly popular among customers who are seeking custom-made items for a wedding, anniversary or other special occasion. The accessibility of the designers means customers can easily sit down with them to develop the customized piece they want.
Despite an annoying Queen Street streetcar divergence on the night of the anniversary party, the soiree was very well attended. Guests sipped cocktails and nibbled on appetizers, and were encouraged to browse the offerings at both locations.
There’s clearly plenty of talent in Toronto’s accessory design marketplace, and it appears this destination for this merchandise is here to stay.