Tag Archives: Designer Labels

Personal meets digital at new Shoes.com store

One of North America’s major online footwear retailers is making the transition from e-commerce to bricks and mortar, with a new Toronto store that combines elements of online shopping and in-store browsing for a modern retail experience.

Shoes.com, which offers a dizzying selection of more than 500 brands through its websites Shoes.com, ShoeMe.ca and OnlineShoes.com, opened its first physical store on Queen Street West this week.

Shoes4

New Shoes.com store in Toronto, located at 356 Queen Street West.

The move is, in part, a strategy to cater to shoppers who aren’t comfortable shopping online. A large proportion of consumers likely fall into that category when it comes to shopping for shoes, given that sizes tend to vary slightly between brands, and the opportunity to try them on can help shoppers avoid ending up with a pair that doesn’t fit quite right.

By incorporating online shopping stations right into the store, Shoes.com hopes to make new customers more comfortable with the online shopping experience.

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 6.14.37 PM

Shoeme.ca website homepage.

The establishment of a physical retail presence also allows the company to develop a stronger connection with its existing customers, according to Jonathan Zhu, assistant store manager, who offered tours of the store during a media event this week.

“Being a really stable online retail space, we want to make that personal connection. We want our customers to see the people behind the shoes and behind the website, and this is our opportunity to do that,” Zhu says. “To be a part of the community is really important to us.”

Shoes3

Interior of the new Toronto store.

The store is divided into three main sections:

1. the “Home Room”, at the front of the store, aims to reflect the home page of the Shoes.com website, showcasing a variety of different popular styles and brands;

Shoes5

The Home Room.

2. the “Dressing Room”, in the middle of the store, is set up as a boutique that will put a spotlight on five to six specific brands;

Shoes6

Maians shoes on display in the Dressing Room.

3. the “Editor’s Room”, at the back of the store, aims to reflect the local community, showcasing merchandise from various designers and entrepreneurs from the city in which the store is located.

Shoes2

The Editor’s Room.

“More so than a corporate space, you’ll get the feeling of a boutique from us, and the fact that we’re really in tune with our community,” Zhu says.

Each store that the company opens will be unique, with the Editor’s Room being the key differentiating component. In the new Toronto store, for instance, the Editor’s Room will initially feature Toronto-based hat designer Jason Mitchell and his brand Coup de Tete, as well as Armed Jewelry, a local brand founded by designer Desiree Girlato.

Shoes1

Armed Jewelry on display in the Editor’s Room at the Toronto store.

“Every one of our stores is going to have a different vibe,” Zhu says. “There’s going to be different personalities from the community incorporated into the stores.”

The online shopping terminals will be available for customers to browse and order items not available in store, using the company’s new artificial intelligence-powered shopping tool, called Smart Shopper. The tool helps customers narrow down their search by learning their style preferences and displaying the merchandise that is most relevant to each individual.

Shoes.com plans to open a second store in Vancouver in September, with other locations likely to follow.

Leave a comment

Filed under Boutiques, Fashion, Retail & the Web

Treat yo self: Shopping tips from a pro

We all have our guilty pleasures. Whether it’s designer handbags, digital gadgets or daily Starbucks Frappuccinos, we each spend our money in our own way, on things we enjoy.

And as long as you’re sensible about these indulgences, there’s no reason to feel guilty about them.

That was the key message from Angela Koszuta this week, at an event on affordable luxury.

Thanks to her career as a fashion stylist for TV and print, and the writer behind the Toronto Star’s ‘Shop Like A Pro’ column, Koszuta spends much of her time shopping, and so she has plenty of advice to offer when it comes to finding value and scoring deals.

At the event, hosted by Buick Canada, Koszuta outlined some of her top tips for living the good life, guilt-free.

Since I’m personally a fan of sales and deals, I could relate to many of Angela’s tips and tricks for affordable luxury.

Here are five of her tips, and some of my personal insights on why I think they make sense:

  1. Calculate your “price per wear”: A little basic math goes a long way. If that gorgeous leather jacket is $400, but you know you’ll wear it regularly for at least three seasons, it could actually end up costing less, per wear, than that trendy $30 top that you’ll likely wear only once.
  2. Online shopping: This is a bit of an obvious one, but do your research. A quick Google search lets you compare prices at multiple retailers, so you can check whether that dress might be 10% or 20% less at another store, before ringing in the sale.
  3. Outlet shopping: Why pay full price for designer goods when you can find them for as much as 80% off? When it comes to big purchases, it’s often worth the trek to the nearest outlet mall. And the GTA will soon be home to many new outlet options, with the brand new Toronto Premium Outlets opening next month (Bringing bargains closer to home).
  4. Buy timeless pieces: If you’re going to splurge on a designer item, choose one that will serve you well. Avoid spending a lot on a trendy item that will look dated next season; opt for one that you’ll be able to wear for several seasons to come. A high quality handbag in a neutral colour, for example, could last for years.
  5. Loyalty programs: Rewards can add up quickly, and since many loyalty programs are free (Indigo’s Plum Rewards Program, for example – Make room in your wallet for more rewards), there’s really no downside to joining these programs at the retailers you visit regularly.

Bonus tip: Treat yo self. I couldn’t resist using this line from one of my favourite episodes of Parks and Recreation in the title of this post. In the episode, Donna and Tom spend the day splurging on the things they love. Since it’s something they do just once a year, they can justify these luxuries.

treat-yo-self

So, take it from Donna and Tom. Once in a while, go ahead. Treat yo self.

2 Comments

Filed under Events, Loyalty Programs, Sales & Deals

A cozy new store for a coveted brand

Luxury fashion brand Tory Burch has opened its first Canadian boutique at Yorkdale Shopping Centre.

The company, which launched in 2004, is known for its “preppy bohemian” clothing, handbags and shoes. Some of the brand’s products are available at high-end retailers such as Holt Renfrew, but the new Yorkdale store, which opened in May, gives Toronto customers a one-stop shopping destination for everything Tory Burch.

The boutique has the feel of a cozy and luxurious walk-in closet, with merchandise displayed on shelves, cubbyholes and inset racks; plenty of mirrors; and seating nooks for tired shoppers.

The shop carries a selection of clothing, handbags and shoes, with the signature cutout Tory Burch logo splashed across items throughout the store.

The chain operates dozens of stores throughout the U.S., along with several international boutiques in markets such as Dubai, South Korea and Italy.

The brand arrives in Toronto after having steadily gained popularity among fashionistas in the past few years. In the past six months in particular, shoes and bags adorned with the recognizable logo seem to have completely infiltrated Toronto’s fashion scene.

Tory Burch’s success has been helped by the fact that the brand’s merchandise is regularly sported by high profile celebrities, such as Blake Lively, Paris Hilton and Kristen Bell.

As a shopper who appreciates a nice pair of flats, I’ve become a fan of Tory Burch footwear, in particular (the ‘Reva Ballet Flats’ have been among the brand’s most popular items) and so I’m excited to see this brand become even more accessible to Toronto shoppers.

Now, if only I had my own closet as big and well-stocked as this one.

Leave a comment

Filed under Boutiques, Fashion, Shopping Hubs

Retail for “religious” denim fans

High-end denim retailer True Religion is gearing up to expand its GTA presence.

The chain will be opening a new store in the Toronto Eaton Centre in the months to come – likely around mid-October.

Known primarily for its trendy (and pricey) vintage-looking jeans for men and women, True Religion also offers a range of other casual apparel. A favourite denim brand among many celebrities, the California-based label has continued to grow in popularity since launching in 2002.

The Eaton Centre store will be True Religion’s second Toronto location, with another located at Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Also in the GTA is a store in Burlington’s Mapleview Mall and an outlet location at Vaughan Mills.

The company’s fashions are also available at other boutiques around the city, such as Stylexchange, Five O Seven, Below the Belt and Over the Rainbow.

Leave a comment

Filed under Clothing Lines, Fashion, Shopping Hubs

Vintage revisited

Fast fashion, step aside: a new Toronto boutique is proving that some fashions have a shelf life much longer than the items constantly rotating through the shelves at H&M and Zara.

Lookbook Collective, a cute new vintage and used clothing store at Bloor and Bathurst, offers a carefully curated selection of clothing, shoes and accessories. Catering to both women and men, the shop features fashions from decades’ past which reflect trends that have reappeared on runways as of late.

A handful of pleated skirts featured at the store last week, for instance, showcase a trend dating as far back as the 1930s that’s recently come back in a big way.

Bargain-hunters will find an impressive roster of designer labels in the store at very affordable prices. And accessory-lovers will hit the jackpot with the boutique’s collection of bags, belts, hats and jewellery.

In an era when it’s become common to buy an item and wear it just a handful of times before tossing it out, Lookbook Collective offers a welcome reminder that some apparel is built to last. Although some trends are short-lived, most make their way back into the fashion cycle sooner or later. Vintage shops like this one make it easy – and affordable – to celebrate those trends and re-integrate them into your wardrobe as they reappear on runways time and again.

At the official launch of the boutique last week, vintage fans and bargain hunters alike crowded into the small shop to browse the offerings while sipping on cocktails and snacking on oysters. Based on its warm welcome into the neighbourhood, it appears as though Toronto shoppers are eager to revisit the vintage looks that Lookbook has to offer.

2 Comments

Filed under Boutiques, Events, Fashion