[attach]5430[/attach]Jean Brown and Michael Allison were up until 4:30 a.m. getting their store ready before opening for business several hours later in December.
“We were pretty loopy the next day but I remember being very excited and the feeling of walking home after locking the door for the first time I was like, ‘this is our business, I just locked up our business’ that was definitely exciting,” says Brown.
The husband and wife duo’s newly opened fashion jewellery store Allison | Brown offers lines such as Nina Ricci, D’Orlan, Rachel and La Scala.
“A lot of it is made in Canada, made with Swarovski crystals, very good quality,” says Brown. “Then we do have a bit of gold, some sterling silver and watches, wallets, that kind of thing.”
One of the reasons why they chose their location on Yonge Street near Albertus Avenue was they felt there was a need and an opening for their type of high-quality costume jewellery since the nearby stores specialized in artesian or fine jewellery.
“I think we really fit a different kind of model,” Allison says. “I think especially on this street people really appreciate knowing who they are working with and I think that there is a niche for us.”
As newcomers to the city, they decided to move near the store so they’d be able to walk to work. They say they were also welcomed to the community and received many helpful tidbits from their customers on where to get groceries and what’s in the area.
Both Allison and Brown also have a background in jewellery as Allison worked at his family’s wholesale business and Brown worked as a store manager.
“We want people to feel comfortable to ask us questions and we want people to feel confident that we know what we are talking about because we feel like we really know the jewellery very well,” says Brown.
They say the store has a range of modern and classic pieces, which are all lead and nickel free, to appeal to people who collect pieces from known designers as well as those who are into the latest trends.
“We try to follow what we like,” says Brown. “We know that we’re not going to like everything that another person would like but as long as we can say it’s good quality, it’s nice, we definitely feel like it will appeal to someone.”
Since opening they say some of the highlights to date have included witnessing kids come in to buy gifts for their moms for Christmas and people who stopped in after the holidays to say they were happy with a gift their partner purchased from the store.
“It’s been a lot of local people who live in the area so that’s been really nice,” says Allison. “It’s been pretty good, just getting to meet our customers, getting to know them.”
“There was one mom who came in right before Christmas and she had a list that her daughter had written and it said ‘a wallet from Allison | Brown they have some nice ones’ and I think hearing the name of our store read back to us, that was really exciting,” adds Brown.