FAREWELL TO QUEEN ST. WEST
Once upon a time, after years of dreaming of one day having a lovely little shop of my own, Bicyclette Boutique opened on Queen St. West, and all of my glittery, sartorial dreams came true.
I came up with the concept and started building the visuals and branding for the boutique during my final year of school as part of my thesis. I was constantly gathering inspiration, searching for new lines that weren’t widely available and pieces that I fell in love with. I documented the whole process on the Bicyclette blog, sharing the journey with my small but growing online community and creating a visual diary of this retail concept I had dreamt up. I also imagined Queen St. West providing the perfect home for Bicyclette, filling a gap I saw in the retail market and fitting in with the creative, eclectic, independent-minded neighbourhood.
Bicyclette grew quickly from a concept into something concrete: first as a small online shop, then into two pop-up shops. It was somewhat surreal, opening the doors on that very first day in March of 2011, as I watched my dream materialize. The concept behind the shop has always been about creating a lifestyle brand that merges downtown, city life with a whimsical twist – “street style meets fairy tale”, and Bicyclette truly has been my fairy tale since the start. Though that makes it sound all lovely and easy, anyone who has brought a dream to life knows it takes everything you have, and then some. That’s always part of the fairy tale story too.
Therefore this is an incredibly difficult blog to write, but the time has come to share some bittersweet news. Come February 2015, the Bicyclette Boutique bricks and mortar shop at 880 Queen St. West will be closing its doors for the final time.
As I’m sure you can imagine, it hasn't been an easy decision. Bicyclette has always been a labour of love and commerce - meeting our customers needs and running “Bicyclette, the business” - but the conditions in which we’re operating are changing. I’m proud of the brand we’ve built and what we’ve accomplished. The recent Vogue.com article citing West Queen West as the second coolest neighbourhood in the world, with Bicyclette receiving it’s own special mention, “… the charming Bicyclette, a local clothing boutique and lifestyle brand whose owners love glitter, DIY projects, treasure hunts and details”, was an opportunity I never could have dreamed of. The irony was, it was published right around the time I began assessing the future of Bicyclette. A year ago I wrote a post that mourned the closing of a wave of independent retail stores on Queen West. This year the grieving is a bit closer to home as we watch the neighbourhood continue to change.
But as I mentioned, it is bittersweet – so the sweet part is that we intend to have the best holiday season yet, stocking the shop with extra special treasures and sparkle. We're currently busy pulling inspiration and dreaming up our final lookbook in collaboration with some of our favourite ladies that we've had the pleasure of forming relationships with through Bicyclette, both in work and play. Though this ending is accompanied by an undeniable sadness, we're going out on a positive note, and we'd like to invite you to celebrate that with us.
Though this is the closing of one chapter of Bicyclette, it is likely the beginning of another. The essence of the brand will remain, regardless of what the next phase is. We’ll move forward and chase a new dream.
I cannot express enough how grateful we are to the community that’s supported us over the past few years. I'm so proud of what we’ve built and honestly couldn't have done it without you – our customers and our community. At Bicyclette we’ve always believed in finding magic in the every day, telling a story and offering an inspirational shopping experience. Every buying trip we take, every photo shoot we dream up, every workshop we host, every display we create – it’s all done with that in mind. And I always dreamt of creating a community around Bicyclette that held the same values, which I know we've accomplished. We've been lucky to have had the opportunity to work with so many talented, creative and inspiring individuals and brands throughout the process, and to have connected with such amazing customers, both in the store and online.
Thank you for everything you've done for Bicyclette and I – for your support and love, and for helping us make our dream a reality. We truly couldn’t have done it without you.
So this is my big news for now, though it’s not goodbye yet. The magic will continue until the end, and it will be business as usual. A shop to tend to, customers to welcome and serve, blogs to write, Instagrams to take, a lookbook shoot to plan, new products to display. Don’t be a stranger, come and be part of this fairy tale's finale.