While COVID-19 prevents us from visiting some of our favourite female-owned homegrown businesses and the bosses behind them in person, many brands retain a strong online presence despite the trying times. Not to mention, business operations continue at influential online, direct-to-consumer companies led by some of Toronto’s fierce females, thanks to the Internet – AKA the only thing that’s keeping most of us sane these days.
If your wallet allows, you should support these 12 female-owned Toronto businesses during your social isolation stint.
Let’s be honest; the online booze-filled “parties” are the best thing about social isolation. Step up your virtual party game with craft cocktails made with everything you need from one-stop cocktail shop Cocktail Emporium. Owned by Toronto entrepreneur Kristen Voisey, Cocktail Emporium offers everything from bitters and cocktail mixers, to glassware, recipe books, and bar tools on its recently revamped ecommerce site.
Now that you have all the time in the world to prioritize your skincare routine, Toronto-based Miracle10 Skincare has all of the products that your face and body could desire. Owner and founder, the ageless Ann Marie MacDonald, started the Canadian-made skincare line with the Plastic Surgery Skincare Clinic nearly 15 years ago, and continues to be at the forefront of new research in skin health. Most recently, the brand recently re-launched its revitalizing body care collection.
Packed with cocktail dresses and gowns of varying styles and price points, midtown boutique Poor Little Rich Girl has been a staple for fancy affairs since owner Sara Puppi opened up shop over a decade ago. But Poor Little Rich Girl can also help your social isolation cause, thanks to its well curated selection of casual weekend wear – including graphic tees, tie-dye tops, joggers, and denim – from brands like Free People, BB Dakota, John + Jenn, and Paper Label.
Leading pilates and movement therapy studio, Toronto Movement Therapy (TMT) is offering online classes for everyone from your self-isolating parents, to stir-crazy cyclists. Owner of the east-end studio, Kearsten Lyon, has taken business online, with live group movement and meditation classes taught by the studio’s beloved instructors. This includes Polestar Pilates – a program developed by a top movement specialist and a doctor of physical therapy – something you can only find in Toronto at TMT.
Prepare yourself for that sweet day when social isolation (hopefully) ends and swimsuit and summer party season begins with the stunning Kiki Kimonos from Toronto artist Marina Billinghurst. Literally a piece of wearable art, the sustainable and organic kimonos are either the star of the show of an outfit for a day or night out, or an eye-catching bathing suit cover-up. You can also decorate your walls with Billinghurst’s prints, which are also available online.
Spread some love or well wishes during social isolation with a custom designed card or print– or virtual version – by Toronto artist Nessa Lilly. Her coveted custom illustrations capture the character of the subject(s) – whether it’s that newly engaged couple or your BFF’s dog – and offer a thoughtful and personal way to let someone know you’re thinking of them right now. Nessa’s clients include influential brands like Goop, Saks, and Revlon.
Now is the perfect time to redecorate your living space – after all, it’s sort of all we have to work with at the moment. Toronto-based artist Natasha Wittke creates vibrant canoe paddles that function as art. Each paddle is made of responsibly sourced wood from Haliburton, Ontario, with dozens of designs to choose from. Perfect for hibernating, Wittke also offers cozy Canadian Shield blankets made from domestic Merino wool.
Revamp your jewellery box in your newfound down time with new additions from much-loved Toronto-based jewellery brand Mejuri – a favourite of celebs and fashion world heavy hitters. Created by Noura Sakkijha in Toronto in 2012, Mejuri is a female-focused direct-to-consumer jewellery brand that’s known for its collection of timeless (and highly stackable) pieces, like gold bands, hoops, cuffs, and bracelets.
Since its launch a decade ago, Ela Handbags has captured the attention of Gwyneth Paltrow (NBD!), and won the prestigious Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards Accessory Designer of the Year award in 2108. Designed by Ela Aldorsson, the Toronto-based brand is known for its timeless, vegan wallets, clutches, cross-body bags, totes, and belt bags. Refreshingly, everything is attainably priced, with most items priced under $100, and nothing for over $150(!).
Toronto-based skincare and beauty brand Evio Beauty offers elevated, high-performing green skincare products and cosmetics. Its website is full of lip-glosses, blushes, and cream concealers to help with the self isolation makeup experimentation, along with cannabis-based skincare products like a rejuvenating mask and serum that help with at-home self-care. The company comes with an inspirational backstory; Brandi Leifso started the brand while living at a homeless shelter.
If there’s ever a time to reorganize your closet and curate your wardrobe, it’s during social isolation. With its bespoke shopping experience, Trouvaille can help with the later part (you’re on your own with your closet). Through inspired editorial content, curated collections, and customized fashion and interior design solutions, the company – the brainchild of Britt Barkwell – helps women discover and define their personal style and create outfits. Barkwell launched the company in 2018, after working for 8 years as the resident editor of Holt Renfrew’s digital magazines.
Social isolation and comfort are synonymous – and, naturally, this includes your bras and undies. Founded by Toronto’s Joanna Griffiths in 2012, Knix has quickly become a global leader in functional underwear and as an all-inclusive brand. The ultra comfy items are made with Knix’s patented bonding technology that has created seamless, chafe-free designs, including leak-proof underwear. Now a multi-million-dollar company, Knix ships its sought-after items around the world.
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