Five years ago Darci Barrett walked past an empty storefront on Bayview Avenue and knew it was where she’d open her clothing and accessories boutique.
“I saw the frilly sign in this window and it was honestly, I’m sorry to my landlord, but it was the ugliest building,” Barrett says from the back of the store on Bayview Avenue near Belsize Drive. “It was all brown and it had orange tinted windows, I looked through and I could see that the walls were orange and blue and it was just terrible and I was like, ‘this is it.’ ”
Barrett, who opened the store under her maiden name MacPhee, gained experience in the industry working at her mom’s former store on Eglinton Avenue near Avenue Road for many years before studying fashion design and marketing at Ryerson University. She continued running the shop when her mom fell ill but packed it up when the lease ran out and the building was put on the market.
“Three days after I closed her store, she passed away,” Barrett says. “And I kind of for the first was given the opportunity to decide if it’s what I wanted to do. I took some time off that summer and I went to the bank and met this amazing woman who really helped me figure out all these different things that were available to young entrepreneurs and women in business.”
Dew, which stands for day, evening and weekend, features everything from casual wear like sweat pants to cashmere sweaters, brand name clothes, shoes, denim by J Brand, Paige and Joe’s Jeans, winter coats and hats from Moose Knuckles and Canada Goose.
“There’s a little bit of something that can appeal to everyone and we can make it appeal to everyone in different ways so it’s sort of people that appreciate fashion, people that like to look good in all different aspects but can still be comfortable in what they’re wearing and how they look,” she says, adding their customers vary from young girls to young professionals to moms returning to work all the way up to women in their 70s and 80s. “We’re sort of known as the little store that’s big on fashion.”
Over the years she’s been able to meet many of the designers she carries, including Paige Adams-Geller from Paige Jeans, Vincenzo and Anita Cavallo of Mimi & Coco, and Yummie Tummie founder Heather Thomson, who is now a cast member of Bravo’s Real Housewives of New York City.
“We were the first store to carry Rebus, which is Toronto-based, they’re lazy pants, they’re sweat pants and we were the first store to carry him and now he’s evolved and they carry him all over Toronto and in the States so it’s kind of neat when you help people start off and you see lines evolve,” she says.
Dew also recently celebrated their five-year anniversary packed with photography, promotions and sparkling pink lemonade, and Barrett’s return to work after a four-week maternity leave.
“It was really neat to see when I came back that everyone was so excited to see me, and so excited to meet the baby and it was just really cool,” she says.
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