New Bloor West Village shop Periwinkle taps into DIY trend

New Bloor West Village shop Periwinkle taps into DIY trend

Periwinkle owner Cindy Yong, at right, with salesperson Sheila Mazhari (Photo by Tabassum Siddiqui)

For years, Cindy Yong juggled a day job with producing her line of enamelled jewellery, called Cupcake, and selling it at weekend craft fairs. Then she realized that there were other people like herself looking to expand their business without committing to a brick-and-mortar store. That’s why she opened Periwinkle, a cozy gift boutique in Bloor West Village, in October.

Tucked into a low-rise brownstone on the edge of High Park, the shop is capitalizing on consumers’ increasing interest in locally handmade items. Yong rents shelf space to over 40 designers, who make one-of-a-kind jewellery, housewares and art.

“A passion for do-it-yourself often starts as a hobby, but it can quickly become a full-time thing,” says Yong. “Few of these designers could open their own store, but I figured a collective approach would work.” The concept, though not new in Toronto, is popular in Asia and works similarly on-line with Web stores like Display space at Periwinkle starts at $1.25 per day. The response from crafters has been so enthusiastic that Yong has started a waiting list for hopeful vendors.

So far, Toronto’s Mint jewellery is one of the best sellers, with its feminine designs made with Swarovski crystal, freshwater pearls and sterling silver. Chain-link necklaces with a flower detail fashioned out of pearls are $65. Ontario artist Sarah Smile’s painted and embroidered canvases with scenes of dandelions and birch trees ($45–$150) and throw pillows made of a felt-like material made from recycled water bottles ($29 for medium size) are affordable decor options. Periwinkle is also one of a few spots that carry Tweek accessories, which are fashioned from vintage ties, including cheeky necklaces with a tiny tie pendant ($20) and wide hair bands in preppy prints ($34–$42).

January is a good month to visit the store; it’s hosting a sale throughout the month, with items marked down 10 to 50 per cent. This spring, look for new designers and a special focus on wedding-oriented items and giftware.

Periwinkle, 2137 Bloor St. W., 416-551-2553,