Boutique Street: DEW

Uptown boutique Dew has Leaside teenagers, moms and new young professional homeowners alike covered with day, evening and weekend wear (Dew). Located on the Bayview strip, just north of Davisville, Dew offers a one-stop shop for everything from loungewear and formal wear to gifts and even a selection of bikinis. Staple brands include YP favourites like Rich and Skinny, Sanctuary, Laundry, Michael Stars, Alternative, Joie, Nation LTD, Canada Goose and comfy weekend wear like beloved Rebus sweats (one of our at-home favourites), Kings of Cole sweats and sweats by Jet Set and Sanctuary. 

Dew offers a selection of denim, with a designated corner of the store reserved for jeans and includes coveted brands like Joe’s Jeans, Hudson, J Brand and Paige Denim. In-store now are Joe’s Jeans in vibrant colours like pink, turquoise and yellow skinnies as well as a selection of amazing jean shorts if you still have the legs to pull them off. If you’re looking for the perfect maxi dress this season, Dew has you covered with a rack set aside for the flowing dresses in all kinds of patterns and bold prints. In particular, a tie-dyed dress by Tosh James caught our wandering eye. 

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For dressier affairs, Dew offers an assortment of dresses for everything from a Sunday baby shower to a formal night out. Supplying Hunter Boots for half of Leaside in the winter months, Dew has a wide assortment of shoes compared to the typical boutique, with brands like Mia Shoes, Koolaburra boots and more. Not just clothing and shoes, Dew is the type of store that you notice something new each time you look around the colourful space, with its eclectic mix of accessories, picture frames, greeting cards by Toronto-based Erica Mills, knick-knacks, Hanky Panky undies and even the Vapur anti-water bottle.

In the summer, hot pink Muskoka chairs are staples outside the store, encouraging shoppers to take a break and enjoy a drink and the sunshine. The owner is Darci MacPhee, a Toronto native who followed in her mother’s footsteps in owning and operating a clothing shop. She shared a little insight on Dew and what it takes to operate a boutique.

What is the story behind Dew?
I studied fashion design at Ryerson and knew that a career in fashion was in the cards in some capacity. My mom owned a store on Eglinton near Avenue Road for ten years, which provided a source of inspiration and knowledge behind running a successful store. I opened Dew five years ago.

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What makes the clothing at dew unique? 
The best thing about Dew is the variety of brands and styles we carry. The theme of the store is lifestyle items that can carry to all aspects of one’s life, whether day, evening or weekend. Our clothing is versatile and offers options that are easy to mix. We offer an assortment of different pieces, not full collections. These little groupings mean we are always receiving new merchandise through weekly shipments. I do my research and travel for work and am influenced by New York and LA fashion. I go to NYC and Vegas twice a year and LA once a year to source the best in fashion. Also, we try to stay as local as we can in terms of the brands we carry, especially for things like accessories and greeting cards. We really pride ourselves in our ability to respond to environmental factors. For example, we offer more of a selection of shoes than most boutiques because there are not any other shoe stores nearby. We fill requests and demands.

Why is Dew a desired location for the young professional?
The mix of price points makes it an attractive option for young professionals. We offer affordable brands like Dex and Point Zero to more luxury brands like Joie and Laundry. A t Dew, you can buy a $30 blouse and pair it with a $200 skirt. Or buy an inexpensive skirt and pair it with a $350 cashmere sweater.  YPs like to splurge and save strategically between investment pieces and trendier pieces that may only last a season. We also offer gifts of comfortable price points that are perfect for birthdays, housewarming parties and showers.

How to you market yourself?
We have a loyal clientele of local Leaside residents who have a distinct style that is reflected in the store. These women are marketing machines for the store and spread the word of Dew from word of mouth with their friends, co-workers and neighbours. Of course, we also engage in social media channels but we don’t even have a website. We also do parties, events and trunk shows in-store and have bus shelter advertising that asks, “Why go to Bay and Bloor” when Dew is right in the neighbourhood.

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What is your typical day?
The morning is usually occupied by buying appointments, then I head to the store to interact with customers and receive and price merchandise to get it on the floor quickly. We do personal appointments for clients for everything from functions to jean fittings to finding the right style to fit any body. I often do wardrobe consulting at people’s homes, revamp clients’ closets and find new ways to pair existing pieces. 

Can you offer advice to YPs wanting to open a store?
It isn’t the comfy, squishy job that it seems. It is a lot of work! There is only so much work that you can do during store hours and the long hours can get stressful. You have to remember also that you are not just shopping for your tastes, but the tastes of your clientele and the brand in general. To stay relevant, you always need to stay on top of industry trends and environmental factors and constantly think of ways to reinvent and attract new customers.

Can you offer any advice on managing others?
There is a fine line between being a boss and a friend and sometimes this is difficult to manage. I currently manage eight employees, some full-time and some part-time.

What are your plans for the future?
I would eventually like to expand and open another store.