Monica Frangulea, the designer behind the Toronto-based fine jewellery line Musesa, strives to make a statement with the jewellery she creates.
Read the full profile of Frangulea and her plans to expand retail distribution for her jewellery line on Retail Insider.
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.
Some of the high-end jewellery featured at Made You Look at 1338 Queen St. W.
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.
Merchandise at the boutique at 1273 Queen St. W.
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.
Garage sale season is well underway, and in an effort to get in on the action, jewellery retailer Made You Look has launched an outdoor sale of its own.
The brand new Vendors Market, which launched June 4th, will operate each Saturday throughout the summer next to Made You Look Accessories in the Parkdale neighbourhood.
A joint venture with other businesses and residents in the area, the market will feature discounted handmade jewellery from some of Made You Look’s 100-plus designers, along with a wide variety of other local products and services.
The idea is to bring local businesses together and to showcase what Parkdale has to offer, says Sarah Hamel, founder of Made You Look.
Other vendors participating in the market include:
- ShopGirls Gallery Boutique, offering Yoga Jeans demonstrations
- The Well of Alternative Medicine, offering $1-per-minute massages
- The Rustic Cosmo, selling homemade jam
- Parkdale Prana Room, selling iced tea and offering free tarot card readings
- Café Taste, offering cheese samples from local producers
- Fringe Salon, offering discount coupons on hairstyles
- Mangez, offering free samples of handmade treats
In addition, local residents will collaborate to sell second-hand clothing, vintage clothing, handmade cards and other repurposed finds.
The market will operate rain or shine, as it’s protected by large tents.
The Vendors Market presents a great opportunity to check out the various retail offerings of the trendy Parkdale neighbourhood. So instead of garage-sale-hopping this summer, swing by this one-stop-shop for all of your bargain-hunting needs.