LABOUR OF LOVE:
242 Carlton St. (on the north side, just west of Parliament St.) | 416.923.8988
Located in a stunning 1865 building in the heart of Toronto’s Cabbagetown, Labour of Love is definitely a store we love. Owner Regina Sheung’s constantly changing collection of cards, paper, jewellery and gifts has been a welcome addition to this downtown neighbourhood since it opened in 2010.
This is Regina’s second store. After running the much-loved Yonge Street shop Propaganda for twelve years, she decided to focus all her attention on her new Carlton Street location. Labour of Love has quickly become a one-stop shop for neighbourhood regulars and visitors alike. “I am inspired by my customers … many come from the arts, film and creative world and are often opinionated and challenging, which I love.”
A neighbourhood regular who is also a bookbinder was the inspiration behind the first in a series of workshops Regina began to organize soon after she opened. The evening was a big hit with customers. “I am definitely going to keep doing the workshops. They create opportunities for people who come into the shop, the store gets exposure and they help keep my staff stimulated and challenged.”
While store visuals, merchandising and displays are her main focus (“the first thing we have to do is get people in the store”), customer service is a close second. With obvious respect and appreciation for her staff, Regina understands the connection between happy staff members and happy customers. She even encourages her employees with a points program, in which points that can be turned into store dollars are awarded for certain tasks that need to be done around the store.
Inspired by graphic design, clean lines and colour, Regina has a bulging inspiration folder and is constantly online to check out the latest design blogs and sites. She also finds inspiration from her fellow retailers. “Hollace Cluny in Rosedale is one of my favourite stores … she’s a magician with displays. Before I even go in the store, I usually spend ten minutes just looking at the window.”
Gift wrap and greeting cards are two of the main draws at Labour of Love. “I love everything about paper, from the tactile nature of it to the way I can use it in displays to tie groups of products together.”
Thanks to the store’s huge front windows, cards can be viewed easily from the street and, Regina laughs, “they help lure people into the store.” Current lines include customer favourites Waste Not Paper and Smudge Ink.
“I’m already looking forward to receiving our Christmas orders, especially Waste Not Paper’s. Cards and gift wrap are the first things I order for the holidays. Everything else in the store is based around that.”
Monday to Saturday 10am-8pm