Fashion's fresh out of the LAB

[attach]5555[/attach]Lauren Baker came up with the idea for her business during the recession in 2008.

“Everyone around me was cutting back on their discretionary spending and I thought that a consignment store would be a great way for women to recycle their clothing and make some money while doing it,” she says.

Baker started by selling online and hosting pop-up sales around the city before opening LAB Consignment in the back of a studio on Ossington Avenue in 2010.

“With any new adventure there is always a bit of anxiety but this whole journey has been extremely rewarding,” she says. “I’ve worked very hard but I have very supportive friends and family that have helped along the way and to whom I am eternally grateful.”

This February she relocated to Avenue Road at Felbrigg Avenue inside the former space of Labels or Love after being approached by the shop’s owner Meytal Algranti.

“There had been a designer consignment store in the space … for the past three years and the owner reached out to me to see if I was interested in purchasing her business,” she says. “I had already been thinking about growing my business for some time and knew this was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.”

Even though the space is bigger, she says her vision of offering gently used contemporary and vintage clothing, shoes and handbags for women of all ages will remain the same.

“I want to offer my customers a great experience when they’re in my store with a range of products at a range of prices,” she says. “Something for the daughter, mother and grandmother.”

Baker says her husband grew up in North Toronto and he has been schooling her on all the different businesses that have been on the Avenue Road strip for decades, which has made her feel more familiar with the community.

Over the years she’s had celebrity encounters with the likes of Rachel McAdams and says members of Madonna’s staff borrowed a dress from her for a potential red carpet screening during the Toronto International Film Festival last year. Even though she didn’t wind up buying it, she says the fact that Madonna had one of her dresses was still exciting.

Baker says LAB, which stands for her initials Lauren Anne Baker, will be going back to its roots and taking part in vintage pop-up sales downtown over the coming months.

Although she misses the regulars at her first location, she says she’d feel really special if they wind up making the trip north to her new store.

“I’ve only been open on Avenue for three weeks and I already have a regular customer who I really enjoy that had never been in the previous store,” she says. “I want them to walk away with a smile and a desire to return.”