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by Josh Dixon March 21, 2022
As you may know, March is Women’s History Month. What you may not know, however, is how many woman and non-binary owned Toronto businesses there are in this city that deserve our support. There are more than 360,000 self-employed women in Canada, with a 30% increase in women-owned businesses across the country in the last ten years. In Ontario, the share of woman-owned businesses is higher than the national average with many such businesses calling Toronto home.
We know this to be especially true in Roncesvalles, home of Scout’s first storefront, where 40% of the businesses are woman-owned. While these numbers indicating growth are promising, new research has also suggested that woman-owned businesses across all industries are taking nearly twice as long to recover from the effects of the pandemic when compared to their male counterparts. Considering this, we’ve curated a list of just a few of our favourites for you to check out this month and beyond. Read below to find your new favourite.
MFMG Cosmetics is a Black-owned makeup line that specializes in the makeup and beauty needs for deeper skin tones. Tomi, the founder of MFMG, found her way to the cosmetics industry after growing tired of a continued lack of diversity in the industry. In fact, MFMG initially began as an Instagram page where Tomi showcased her favourite beauty bloggers of colour in an attempt to share them with a larger audience. Today, their community has grown immensely with Tomi creating her own line of cosmetics where you'll find an endless supply of shades.
JUS by Oreya is a natural hair care line that prides itself on its suitability for all hair types. What started as an ambition to develop a professional and premium hair mask that people could use anytime, anywhere has grown to include multiple products for all kinds of people. JUS products are made with all natural ingredients with premium fruit and vegetable extracts showcased. Not only are they based in Toronto but their products are made here as well!
Aadhe Clothing is a unisex streetwear brand designed here in Toronto by Aman Gill. Gill’s brand blends street art aesthetics with sustainable fashion pieces to create elevated basics that are vibrant and statement making. Aadhe Clothing also strives to give back to their community by hosting many online and in person events which showcase local talent.
Grape Witches is a Toronto natural wine shop and club. Nicole Campbell and Krysta Oben got their start by hosting parties and educational events where they shared their favourite organic, biodynamic and natural wines. This eventually grew to a dream of creating inclusive spaces where wine lovers could gather without any heir of pretension. This led to dance parties, trade shows and even the world's largest natural wine booze cruise! Today, Grape Witches have expanded to establishing their own natural wine agency and have cultivated a dedicated team of people who are making natural wines approachable and available.
Passionfruit is a queer-owned clothing and accessories shop in Toronto. Their mission is to create inclusive clothing and accessories that showcase pride and community building. The folks at Passionfruit are passionate about creating a sense of togetherness, visibility and bright futures for LGBTQIA+ youth. Their goods are curated, produced and designed “by queers for queers” with many items featuring hand-drawn art. Whether you’re part of the community or an ally, you’re sure to find something that is both stylish and meaningful at Passionfruit.
Juniper and Eve is a sustainable and inclusive genderless underwear line based here in Toronto. Eva, the company’s founder, began her mission after realizing how hard it was for their trans friend to find quality underwear that properly suited their body type. This quickly grew into a passion of creating sustainable undergarments that could combat the slew of fast fashion we’re often confronted with.
All of their products are made one by one, with high quality, earth-friendly fabrics in their own studio. They are committed to providing a safe and inclusive space for all people regardless of their gender identity and expression. With Juniper and Eve, you’ll find a welcoming space and designs that capture feelings of inner peace and comfort. While their business continues to grow, Juniper and Eve remains, for the most part, a one-woman operation devoted to creating undergarments for everybody and every body.
The Petal Pop Up is a Black-owned plant boutique and event-maker that provides interactive DIY floral and succulent arranging experiences across the Toronto area. They are available for any type of event you can imagine and their hosts will guide you through every step of the process. All materials are provided so you and your group will be able to sit back and enjoy all of the fun that comes from floral arranging. At the end of the event, you’ll be able to take your creation home with you including a stylish vase. In the meantime, you can shop their array of plants available to purchase on their website.
Grrrl Spells is a line of apparel, art and accessories founded in Toronto by En Tze, a queer and non-binary Malaysian illustrator, graphic designer, tattoo artist, filmmaker, and production designer. With such a storied resume, their line of products is wide-ranging and inclusive. Their products are unique and hand-crafted allowing you to find something that fits your individual style.
As you can see, there are many opportunities to support woman and non-binary owned Toronto businesses. This March, Women’s History Month, is a great opportunity to support these businesses in your community to take steps towards building and fostering a more inclusive city.
Let us know what your favourite woman or non-binary owned Toronto business is in the comments.
Josh Dixon (he/him) is a writer and information specialist based in Toronto. His writing has previously appeared in Feels Magazine, RFD Magazine, Chosen Family, and Queer Toronto. When he's not writing, he's living his best Virgo life enjoying books, music, and terrible reality TV.
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405 Roncesvalles Ave
Toronto ON M6R 2N1
416 546 6922
1140 Queen St E
Toronto ON M4M 1L1
647 748 1140