Most businesses start as figurative dreams; The Beau & Bauble, however, was born from a literal dream. While working as a costumier in London, England, Kate Elia dreamt about owning “the most whimsical store for girls and women,” she describes. Her subconscious conjured up a magical little shop plucked from the pages of Alice in Wonderland — fixtures were upside down and the shop was a riot of fantastical colours and objects. For years, the dream stuck with Kate, so she decided to move home to Toronto and open a “one stop shop for chicks of all ages.”
When it came to designing her dream shop, Kate went for the weathered luxury aesthetic. The store she had dreamt about would have been a tad intense for most casual browsers, she explains. Inside, worn hardwood floors and exposed brick are juxtaposed against baroque fixtures. An antique crystal chandelier hangs above the 600-square foot space refracting sunlight across the boutique. The enchanting interior radiates with a Hans Christian Andersen castle vibe, and really, who doesn’t want to feel like a Nordic princess while they’re shopping?
The Beau & Bauble “caters to girls and women from five to 500,” says Kate, who carries apparel and accessories that appeal to every age demographic. Kids love the life-like plush toys — the menagerie on offer includes budgies, flamingos, owls and squirrels. Other kid-friendly gems include a 1000-piece Edward Gorey jigsaw puzzle, locking diaries, stickers, mustache erasers and gorgeous DIY art kits.
Whether you’re a babysitter or a Baystreeter the excellent jewelry offerings have something to suit any budget, age and stage. From $20, sterling studs in classic (knots) and quirky (foxes, skulls, cacti) styles are sure to please. Locavores will go gaga for the collection of modern tribal statement necklaces from local designer Biko. If you love brass but find Biko designs a bit too daring, Kate suggests more conservative shoppers might prefer Michelle Ross’s line of elegant Toronto-crafted baubles.
Also on offer are a few racks of Scandinavian clothing. Modern cuts with fetching patterns and eye-catching details define the sartorial selection, which is dominated by the much-coveted Danish brand Nümph. And no outfit is complete without the proper accessories. To finish the look, grab a pair of Andy Warhol-reminiscent sunglasses or snazzy felt fedora. Kate also carries a wide assortment of leather (and non-leather) goods including wallets, purses, totes and belts.
Anxious gift-givers can breathe a sigh of relief; The Beau & Bauble is a charming west-end destination for presents big and small. Kate even carries all of the necessary gift-giving accouterments including cards, stationery, stickers and design-conscious wrapping paper. There is also a growing men’s gifts section which incudes fish-shaped flasks, cufflinks, tech gadgets and wallets.
“I love the Junction,” says Kate, who appreciates how artsy her clientele tends to be. “The kids love it in here and so do their parents because they’re adults who are in touch with their creativity. They get what I’m doing here!”