#SPOTLIGHT: the store on queen
If you’ve read every #SPOTLIGHT interview that we’ve published to Written Girl, then you probably know that we started this series as a way to feature a new local Toronto business, entrepreneur or #girlboss that has the same mission as ours every week. A mission to educate, advocate for and inspire women to live their healthiest and most creative lifestyle.
However, as the series evolves and we start to feature women across the globe, we knew that we couldn’t venture outside the city until we got to speak to one of Toronto’s biggest #girlbosses, fashionistas, style influencers, body positivity advocates and overall well women – Angela of The Store On Queen, a.k.a “hubby”.
If you’ve ever strolled down the sidewalks of Queen Street West or been inside either one of Angela and her partner Valentina’s two retail spaces, (Sumwear being the second), you’d understand why their Instagram now has a following of over 56,000 people and their annual “panty party” sells out within days. You’d understand why even on a weekday there’s constant foot traffic going in and out of both stores and why women are hip to hip browsing the racks.
And you’d understand why people stop and stare as they watch Angela and Valentina pose outside TSOQ in new merchandise for photos, or why women stop to take a picture with or point them out on the street. The ladies of TSOQ have an aura that pulls people in and they just might be the most beautiful, shape and style shifting women we know.
Keep reading to learn about how TSOQ came to be, how Angela and Valentina achieve a work life balance, what their future plans are and more.
The whole point of creating this #SPOTLIGHT series is to feature local Toronto businesses, entrepreneurs and #girlbosses that match Written Girl's mission. When you two set out to open your store(s) and social media accounts, did you have any idea that you'd become so influential to Toronto women?
Wow! What an opening question! First and foremost, we are so humbled by the comment within that question and the answer is no... we're so taken back every time someone tells us that we are influential. Before the opening of the shop, (since Valentina and I were really just strangers getting to know each other), our plan was to open a year long pop-up, make some money, and have some fun. We both thought that Toronto didn't feel like home and we were both unsure about staying in Toronto after one year.
Over at WG, we find it really neat how you two have established a type of business/personal relationship in which you both have specific roles and you never seem to step on each other's toes. (Just like a husband and wife!) How did you come to establish those roles?
Why thank you! We are quite blessed to have found each other. She is my exact opposite, but our cores are exactly the same. Our goals, vision, and solutions are always parallel, we may have completely different ways of execution, but that's what makes us a great team. Her experience and expertise is completely different from mine, so our roles were definitive right from the beginning, so it was quite easy not to "step on each other's toes". There's no point in arguing about the merchandising of the store when she's been doing it for 10 plus years. It's like the saying of "you can't be wrong and strong" - we respect each other's ideas and strengths and we know that attempting to do each other's jobs would not be efficient... and we're all about efficiency. Time is the most valuable thing. Why waste it, you know?
The husband and wife relationship/friendship you speak about over social media has made the idea of having a gender fluidity identity/relationship look beautiful and badass. (We've never seen anyone look better in a suit coat than Angela). You two can shape shift depending on who you want to be and what you want to wear. Do you try and promote this free-ness of expression?
We've never been good at following rules or what we should and shouldn't do. We opened the store not even knowing each other... that's something you don't do. Vava could have been a scam artist for all I knew. We believe in following your heart and gut and doing what feels right, regardless of whether others understand it or not. Live with no regret and leave no room for the should haves, the could haves.
Anyone whose visited your stores knows that they have a certain vibe. What standards have you set for your team and your stores? What kind of experience do you aim for every customer to have?
We actually have a massive banner that states: "Every girl leaves TSOQ feeling happy, beautiful, confident, and re-energized". It's vital to us because this is our movement and what TSOQ represents. TSOQ isn't just a room full of clothes hanging on racks, it's a place people drop in because they are having a bad day, it's a place people go when they need honest and expert fashion opinions, it's a place you know you can do a complete wardrobe change because you don't have time to go home and change.
If you could briefly describe the style of your stores/merchandise, how would you?
It's the Fashion House. It's the one stop shop for all our fashion girls. It's the place where you can get the trendy/catwalk looks without the high price tags.
Anyone whose visited TSOQ or Sumwear knows that the products you carry are from different brands. What would you tell customers you shop for?
Things no one else has. Valentina searches high and low for the best of the best and she is always ahead of the curve. We always get things in way before it becomes mainstream.
What's next for you two and your brand?
Patience...you shall see!