Rain, rain don’t go away, say shop owners

Wet weather is a chance to have some fun with your wardrobe

Frightful weather isn’t always bad for business.

Within the first month of relocating their rainwear store to Yonge and Bloor streets in October, Natalie and Bobi Jurcic experienced record-breaking sales at Raindrops.

“I think it was our second week open that the remnants of Hurricane Sandy rolled through so we had pretty crazy business that week,” Natalie says.

After over a decade on the PATH level at the Fairmont Royal York, the mother and daughter team moved to the concourse level of the Holt Renfrew Centre in need of more space to showcase their increasing selection and in hopes of more foot traffic.

“I think our main message is that rainy days should be fun,” Natalie says, adding that people often get the blues when they wake up to rain. “We really think that rainy days are an opportunity to have fun with your wardrobe. I think a lot of people maybe are more adventurous in choosing accessories than they would be with their clothing so you can have like a crazy colourful umbrella or a pair of rain boots and it’s okay.”

Over the years they shifted their focus from solely umbrellas to all kinds of rain gear including rain boots and outerwear for men, women and kids. Everything they carry in store and online is water repellent, at the very least, and designed to protect customers from getting wet in slushy weather, snow or rain.

The two most popular umbrella choices are clear birdcage umbrellas, which come down over the shoulders, are reminiscent of the ‘60s and ‘70s and have been featured on TV shows like Gossip Girl, and another style that features one panel printed in French saying Merde Il Pleut.

“We also have the English version but I think the French is more popular because it’s more coy,” Natalie says. “Here in Ontario where we are primarily English speaking it’s sort of like an inside joke.”

While Bobi heads up the web sales, Natalie mainly focuses on the storefront.

“We ship all over the place,” Bobi says. “We ship to Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, we shipped to Israel the other day, Poland, Russia, Hong Kong, Singapore, all over France, the UK.”

Although they source products from Canadian and American suppliers, a lot of their lines are European because that selection is hard to find in Canada, they say.

“From some of our travels to Europe they really treat it more like a part of fashion or a fashion accessory there and that’s sort of something we hope to bring over here to North America,” Natalie says. “It always makes us sad when we see someone running across the street with a newspaper on their head or a guy wearing a $1,500 suit with a broken umbrella that’s worth like $2 from the dollar store.”

About this article:

By: Ann Ruppenstein
Posted: Jan 31 2013 2:10 pm
Filed in: Business
Edition: Toronto