453 Parliament St., 647-346-2324, shoppipler.com
Léonie Lilla and Alice Clarkson
In a nutshell
We look for items that have stories to tell. Knowing where something comes from and the story behind its creation is really important to us; it's all about traceability.
Léonie and I have both always been career-driven; she's been a chef and I've been in fashion. I was starting to realize I wanted something of my own that held a little more meaning. We're those people that believe that you can buy things that have a little more to say than just a price tag. It's not about being cheap, it's about being aware of what you're buying, where it comes from and what impact it has on the community – plus I really wanted the discount! And Cabbagetown for us has always been one of those neighbourhoods that is just great: People are so welcoming and it's so community-driven and diverse. In January, the space became available and I just started writing a business plan and realized we could actually do it. It happened really quick.
Everything that we carry we tried to fit into one of four categories: It's either handmade, local, sustainable or charity-driven. It's about finding brands and products that positively affect communities around them, and then our communities as well – like a ripple effect. We also try really hard to have gender-neutral products. We don't want men and women to feel as if they're bound to one section of the store when it really should be about your personal style. We have something that fits everybody and that's very important to us.
For every hat sold, one homeless person in Toronto gets a meal. (Thank You Toronto – "Home Is Here" snapback cap, $40)
This interview has been edited and condensed.