(Image: Jenna Marie Wakani)
Sells: Handmade crafts
Contact info: 642 Queen St. W., brika.com
Hours: M-F 10-6, Sa 11-7, Su 12-6
Toronto-based retailer Brika has been selling handmade goods online for the past two years. After hosting a few successful pop-ups, the brand (Toronto’s own Etsy) has opened its first permanent storefront and headquarters on Queen West, showcasing a selection of the website’s top gifting ideas, home products and accessories. While the online store carries products from over 400 artists, the downtown shop will feature items from a rotation of about 50 makers.
Right now, the place is brimming with cute-yet-functional goods—ceramic honey pots, indigo scarves, durable aprons—from a range of North American artists. “We’re always looking for a fresh selection—we like to delight customers with things they won’t have seen at other boutiques in the city,” says co-founder Kena Paranjape. So, while shoppers will find locally made items like Biko jewellery or Nicole Tarasick’s YYZ throw pillows, they’ll also stumble upon more than a few new things, including hand-dyed purses from Portland or sweet-smelling apothecary products from Austin. There’s also a ton of one-of-a-kind children’s gifts, which should make the place a new go-to for baby shower attendees. Our favourite items are pretty, playful and not at all practical: there’s even something called a confetti push-pop (and yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like).