Queen Street West is by far one of my favorite shopping destinations in Toronto and for shoe lovers, it just got a whole lot better. Young and Tae is a new women’s shoe boutique that was opened late last year by the husband and wife duo, David and Jenny Kim. “We opened the store with one mission in mind – to decrease the gaps between quality, style, price, and design,” David explains. “We weren’t looking at how much money we [could] make. We wanted to know how much money we could save.” And with a retail mindset like that, they’re crushing all the stereotypes that typically follow independent boutiques.
The first generalization they’ve gunned down? Prices. While independent boutiques are notorious for high prices, shoes at Young and Tae start as low as $60 for a pair of flats and cap out at $190 for over-the-knee boots. Almost everything in-store is handmade with pony or calf hair, leather, and suede. They’re able to keep prices so low because Jenny’s parents actually own a distribution factory in Korea and have been manufacturing shoes for over 34 years. Aside from costs, another benefit that comes from cutting out the middleman and keeping business within the family is the ability to customize orders.
Young and Tae recently introduced a mix and match program – a program that allows customers to customize and even design their own shoes. The process gives shoe junkies the ability to swap out materials, expand widths, special order sizes (they typically carry sizes 5.5 to 10), adjust heel height and even modify heels to suit your preference of wedge, chunk, kitten or sky-high. The best part about the service is that it’s no more expensive than the shoes they carry in-house (depending on materials) and the whole process only takes 2-3 weeks.
Another stereotype squashed is the intimidation factor. Open the front door to Young and Tae’s bright space and you’ll quickly be greeted by the world’s best store mascot, Billie. David and Jenny are pretty amazing hosts as well. Though they’re the new kids on the block, it definitely doesn’t feel like they’re new to the shoe game. They are extremely helpful with everything from selecting styles to finding the perfect feel and fit. I happily walked away with a pair of Reva boots, which are super comfortable, light and attract compliments with every wear.
Learn more about Young and Tae:
Website | www.youngandtae.com
Facebook | Young and Tae
Twitter | @YoungandTae_