Labour of Love
Labour of Love isn't your standard gift store. Located in the hub of Cabbagetown, this shop has everything you need from luxury jewellery to unique gifts and even select bar supplies. Though their location is new, the shop has been running successfully for over 6 years, stemming from the owner's original 14 year business, Propoganda on Yonge St.
Located a few doors down from Free the Children's headquarters, it's no surprise that the space was previously home to Me to We, the flagship store for Free the Children.
Regina Sheung, Labour of Love's owner, said the reason for the big move was due to a Toronto landlord who doubled their rent overnight. But Regina says it was a blessing in disguise, and she already looks right at home in the new spot.
Upon entrance I am welcomed by walls of greeting cards, and I'm impressed by the selection. From Emily McDowell's empathy cards, "I know #fuckcancer doesn't help you get through it. I'm here anytime you need me" ($6) to Smitten Kitten's "Shit Just Got Real" overlaying a cat photo ($6), there's a card here for any occasion, and any level of humour.
Which is Regina's model for the business. "Customers come in and ask for specific gifts; wedding, house warming, feel good products, etc. Our goal was to create a one-stop shop for any personality, on any budget," the owner comments.
Looking for jewellery? There's a great selection, with prices ranging from $20-$500. Most of it is behind glass doors, but Regina encourages me to try everything on, proving the quality is worth the price tag. She's right.
Alexis Bittar, TwoA, Dean Davidson and Michelle Ross are but a few designers Regina has featured, from Canada and the US, and I'm drawn to Alexis Bittar's handcrafted lucite necklace with a hinge collar ($525).
While statement pieces are in healthy stock, there are also some simpler pieces, with small wishbone charms or "love" script hanging on a gold chain.
Regina's gift selection is curated just as carefully as her jewellery; This spot is truly a labour of love.
From Canadian themed tea towels to cottage inspired gifts (think wool socks with highway numbers silkscreened onto the top and essential oils insect repellent), you will find something to buy (even if you don't need it, like their emergency mustaches - move over Urban Outfitters). Looking for Toronto themed gifts? You'll find that here, too.
Regina isn't worried about competitors. "It's how we put the store together and how we are the brand ambassadors for the products we carry. It's the experience." Regina goes on to mention their growing stock has been a result of their loyal customer base that are moving into the next chapter of their lives, explaining the growing selection of baby clothes and toys.
Regina's plans for the future? "Being a small guy is great. You can keep evolving."
Photos by Hector Vasquez.