With the pandemic affecting the fashion industry all over the world, small businesses have really taken a hit as non-essential businesses close down again to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Recently extended Ontario lockdown procedures have advised against all unnecessary travel and are urging people to stay home whenever possible. This has caused local businesses to focus on online orders and curbside pick-up to limit the amount of social interaction between customers.
Supporting small businesses and choosing to shop local is important now more than ever, as many non-essential businesses struggle to stay afloat during financially difficult times. If shopping more locally or sustainably is one of your goals this year, then check out this curated list of some Toronto-based small businesses to support going into 2021.
The Silk Labs
Toronto-based business The Silk Labs is making their mark on Toronto’s local business community by providing high quality hand-sewn silk goods. The small, local business has been featured in Chatelaine, Flare Magazine and Vogue Italia due to their wide range of ethically produced silk products at fair prices.
Jenna Labiak, founder of The Silk Labs, started the company in her last year at Ryerson University. After learning about the beneficial properties of silk on all hair types, he found that there was a gap in the market for silk hair accessories and was disappointed with the range of colours, patterns and price points for silk products. Left unsatisfied with this gap, Labiak decided to start her own brand with a focus on high-quality, ethically-made silk hair care essentials for those passionate about hair, health and beauty.
The brand focuses on the benefits of silk on all hair types. Silk has many proven benefits for hair; it reduces friction and hair tugging, reduces split ends, and prevents hair from becoming coarse. Silk is also beneficial to the skin—the material is naturally hypoallergenic and helps retain the hair’s natural moisture barrier, preventing aging.
Labiak’s brand offers a range of silk products for customers. The Silk Labs offers scrunchies, sleep eye masks, headbands and pillowcases. They also sell wide tooth combs available in three different colours: pearl, dusty rose and tortoise shell. Their most popular item, silk scrunchies, are available in a range of patterns, colours and sizes. There are three sizes for the scrunchies, including slim, medium and ‘thicc.”
The brand has also partnered with Sarisha Beauty, a natural, plant-based beauty brand, to create a hair oil.
The Silk Labs prides itself in its corporate responsibility through its equitable silk production practices. Labiak continuously communicates with her suppliers to ensure that all silk materials are being produced ethically.
Divine Decadence Originals
Once a village in Toronto, Yorkville is now a beautiful and hip neighborhood, home to unique shops and boutiques, including Divine Decadence Originals.
Divine Decadence Originals is a vintage family-owned boutique that sells clothing from different time periods and parts of the world. Located at 128 Cumberland St. in Toronto, Divine Decadence Originals sells stunning vintage couture. Their selection is reminiscent of a 1950s ball —selling event gowns, cocktail dresses, bridal gowns, prom dresses, evening purses, and jewelry.
Carmelita Blondet, the owner of the shop purchased the store after it gave her a sense of nostalgia of her time in Peru.
“When I saw Divine Decadence it brought me back to the country and culture of Peru, where we have such beautiful, historic, legendary, and meaningful pieces of art all throughout our history,” she said, the store took her on a trip down memory lane of the elegant and legendary art pieces of the country and stole her heart enough to buy it.
The store has been a spot for many A-listers who have worn and admired their clothes. The store carries an autograph book filled with signatures and messages from hundreds of celebrities like Lady Gaga and Kate Moss.
As the years have gone by, Divine Decadence Originals has adjusted with the time, but kept its roots. Now on social media, their accounts have amassed a large following of people who love their clothing, and they’ve even opened up an Esty. You can check them out @divinedecadenceoriginals on Instagram, @divinedecorig on Twitter and DivineDecadenceOrig on Etsy.
Specializing in hand-made and hand-assembled dainty gold- and silver-plated jewelry, Unsalted Honey has sold over 4,000 made-to-order jewelry pieces on Etsy. The company was founded in 2017 by Toronto-based jewelry designer Tiffany Turchyn, known on Instagram as @thatgirlnamedtiff.
All their products are made in small batches —their Etsy store only features the main collection and new limited-edition pieces. Pieces range from $26 to $34 dollars on average, offering an affordable and local option for handcrafted jewelry.
Unsalted Honey has a wide range of jewelry, from timeless letter necklaces and chains, to their bestseller Angel Baby necklace and trendy smiley bracelet. The brand, carrying a variety of styles from classic to eccentric, means to be easily layered and mixed with your current jewelry.
By Rachel Caria, Apurba Roy, and Megan Ebreo