Canadian Fashion Brand ‘SOIA & KYO’ Opens 1st Permanent Storefront as it Launches Retail Expansion

Date:

Share post:

Popular Montreal-based outerwear brand SOIA & KYO has opened its first permanent store and has plans to open many more locations as it strives to create a stronger brand experience for its customers.

SOIA & KYO, known for coats that are both fashionable and functional, recently opened its flagship location at the CF Toronto Eaton Centre. It comes a year after the brand opened its first retail store, a temporary location at Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. Although the Square One location has been operating for more than a year, it was designed as a pop-up location, according to Ilan Elfassy, creative director at SOIA & KYO.

In contrast, the CF Toronto Eaton Centre store was designed to be a permanent space that truly represents the look and feel of the SOIA & KYO brand.

“I want the customer to feel and understand the brand,” Elfassy says. The goal of the physical store strategy is to build a stronger connection with end customers and to enable customers to appreciate everything that the brand has to offer, he says. Although the wholesale channel has been effective for SOIA & KYO, that approach typically only enables customers to see a small selection of products.

“I don’t think they’re getting the right value, the right feeling of the brand [through the wholesale channel],” he says. “It doesn’t really present who we are, what I am designing.”

By operating its own stores, SOIA & KYO is able to display its full selection of products, ranging from lighter fall jackets to heavy winter coats, as well as accessories such as hats, scarves, and gloves. Whereas many customers associate the brand with winter jackets, Elfassy wants to showcase the diversity of its collections.

PHOTO: SOIA & KYO (CF TORONTO EATON CENTRE)

“When you have a store, you have the full experience – from wool to down, leather, accessories, trenches – you can appreciate what you see,” Elfassy says.

The 2,000-square-foot store, located on the second level of the CF Toronto Eaton Centre next to Victoria’s Secret, was designed by high-profile New York design agency Kramer. A bright and inviting space, it incorporates rocks, greenery and other accents that create a natural, outdoorsy feel. Dominated by neutral colours, the space also features bamboo accents and large mirrors.

Another benefit to operating stores, Elfassy says, is the ability for the company’s staff to interact directly with customers and get feedback on the designs. “The store is an experience to see how customers react to the product,” he says. In fact, midway through Retail Insider’s interview with Elfassy at the new Eaton Centre store, he paused to listen to a customer’s feedback on a jacket she was trying on.

PHOTO: SOIA & KYO (CF TORONTO EATON CENTRE)

Since launching SOIA & KYO in 2004, Elfassy has focused on designing outerwear made with luxurious fabrics and refined construction.

“It’s all about the silhouette, the fit, and the quality,” he says. “For me, that’s very important. With quality, there’s no negotiation.” Many of the Elfassy’s designs boast unique features such as asymmetrical zippers and dramatic hoods. Versatility is also a key theme, with many jackets featuring removable layers. The brand is popular among many celebrities, such as Taylor Swift, Meghan Markle, Reese Witherspoon, and others.

PHOTO: SOIA & KYO (CF TORONTO EATON CENTRE)

Although SOIA & KYO hasn’t announced any specific plans for additional locations, Elfassy says the brand intends to add new stores in the near future. Jeff Berkowitz of Aurora Realty Consultants is the broker representing SOIA & KYO.

“We are for sure going to open more stores,” Elfassy says. “We are looking into the right locations that will fit well with our customers.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More From Retail Insider

Flexible Work Company ‘LAUFT’ Discusses Expansion Plans and New Government Collaboration [Interview]

Founder Graham Wong discusses the Canadian company's plans for new locations, enhanced spaces for events and content creation, and a future in places such as airports and hotels.

Ice Bath Spa Concept ‘Othership’ Opens 2nd Toronto Location with Expansion Plans for Major Markets in Canada and NYC [Interview]

The company's co-founder discusses the concept that began in his back yard in 2019, which is now a big business with a new Yorkville location and plans for Manhattan and other urban centres.

Anatomy of a Leader: Peter Mammas, President and CEO, Foodtastic

The man behind the food empire got started in Montreal where he wanted to be a pilot, then an architect. He eventually worked his way up in the world of foodservice, where he found his passion.

Nostalgia vs Reality: Exclusive Poll Shows Canadians Warm to Zellers’ Return but Hesitate to Shop One Year After Relaunch

Zellers relaunched a year ago as shop-in-stores at Hudson's Bay, and a poll done for Retail Insider shows that Canadians' think the current offerings fall short.

Cracking the Newcomer Code: Study Urges Canadian Retailers to Adapt for Inclusivity as Immigrants Reshape Retail Trends [Feature]

Making newcomers feel at home could mean increased sales for retailers. Ian Large of Leger says retailers should collaborate with communities as Canada's population changes.

Italian-Themed QSR Chain Fazoli’s Announces Major Expansion into Canada with 25 Locations Planned [Interview]

The chain could open even more locations according to its development officer, who discusses Fazoli's success being rooted in quality ingredients and speedy service.

Toronto-Based Fashion Designer Adam X Discusses Inspiration, Retail and Designing for the Future [Video Interview]

Craig and Adam X discuss the the founding and ethos of Adam X Atelier, a Toronto-based haute couture fashion brand which is rare to find in Canada.

Swatch Opens Flagship Store in Downtown Vancouver as it Expands Across Canada [Photos]

It's the 12th store in Canada for the popular Swiss watch brand, which almost doubled its store count in this country in less than a year.

Economic Strains Dampen Montréal’s Retail Growth, But Luxury and Transit Projects Could Spark Revival: JLL Report

Montreal retail has struggled recently and leasing activity has been particularly slow downtown, while a new luxury mall and a growing transit network could help things this year.

IKEA Canada Launches ‘Second-Hand Tax’ Initiative in Protest of Government Policies [Interview]

Ikea dropped the tax on its 'as-is' marketplace, stating that second-hand goods should not be subject to the same taxes as new products.

Significant Variances in Food Price Changes Not Reflected in Statistics Canada Numbers [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois says that StatCan numbers on food inflation do not reflect the reality of what consumers are seeing at the grocery store.

US-Based Women’s Fashion Brand Windsor Announces First 5 Canadian Stores, Plans National Expansion [Interviews]

The fashion brand is expected to be a runaway success in Canada, with an existing customer base and a void in the market.

Chop Steakhouse Set to Open in Downtown Toronto, Continuing an Influx of New Restaurants to the Financial District [Feature]

Chop Steakhouse is joining a number of new restaurants and dining options that have opened recently in the Financial District, as the area starts the journey back from a pandemic that took a huge toll on the core.

Virtual Reality Arcade Concept ‘Ctrl V’ Expanding in Canada and the US Following Pandemic Setback [Interview]

The world's first and largest VR arcade franchise is opening new locations across Canada and the US, seeking spaces of about 4,000 square feet.

Good Neighbour ‘Lifestyle Department Store’ Expanding with a New Flagship in Toronto’s Summerhill [Interview]

The unique retail concept that launched 10 years ago in Leslieville has grown its offerings with its newest location catering to locals with a range of produces and a beverage lounge.

Anatomy of a Leader: Ian Rosen, President and COO of Harry Rosen

Rosen discusses his life up to becoming head of the luxury menswear retailer, and discusses what's been happening with the family as new leadership emerges.

Mid-Market Retailers in Canada Navigating Challenges and Opportunities as Consumers Shift [Op-Ed]

Jared Gordon discusses challenges facing mid-market retail, such as declining consumer interest and competition from discount and luxury sectors. Mid-market retailers need to adapt to survive he says.

Canada Ranks Highly for Seamless Retail Experience, Embracing Digital and In-Store Integration: KPMG Report

The report says that Canadian retailers are improving blending online and in-store with a majority of Canadians preferring an in-store experience, necessitating seamless channel integration.

Indigo Books & Music to Go Private After Sale to Schwartz-Controlled Holding Company: Expert Commentary

The Canadian retailer is able to turn itself around privately after much public turmoil, according to experts, though its future remains uncertain with limited scrutiny.

Shift in Yorkville Retail as Harry Rosen Prepares to Relocate Bloor Street Flagship [Podcast]

Craig and Lee discuss Harry Rosen's flagship store moving from Bloor Street to Cumberland Street in Toronto's Yorkville, marking a significant shift in the area's retail landscape.

RECENT RETAIL INSIDER VIDEOS

Advertisment

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Subscribe

* indicates required

RECENT articles

Flexible Work Company ‘LAUFT’ Discusses Expansion Plans and New Government Collaboration [Interview]

Founder Graham Wong discusses the Canadian company's plans for new locations, enhanced spaces for events and content creation, and a future in places such as airports and hotels.

Ice Bath Spa Concept ‘Othership’ Opens 2nd Toronto Location with Expansion Plans for Major Markets in Canada and NYC [Interview]

The company's co-founder discusses the concept that began in his back yard in 2019, which is now a big business with a new Yorkville location and plans for Manhattan and other urban centres.

Anatomy of a Leader: Peter Mammas, President and CEO, Foodtastic

The man behind the food empire got started in Montreal where he wanted to be a pilot, then an architect. He eventually worked his way up in the world of foodservice, where he found his passion.

Nostalgia vs Reality: Exclusive Poll Shows Canadians Warm to Zellers’ Return but Hesitate to Shop One Year After Relaunch

Zellers relaunched a year ago as shop-in-stores at Hudson's Bay, and a poll done for Retail Insider shows that Canadians' think the current offerings fall short.

Cracking the Newcomer Code: Study Urges Canadian Retailers to Adapt for Inclusivity as Immigrants Reshape Retail Trends [Feature]

Making newcomers feel at home could mean increased sales for retailers. Ian Large of Leger says retailers should collaborate with communities as Canada's population changes.

Italian-Themed QSR Chain Fazoli’s Announces Major Expansion into Canada with 25 Locations Planned [Interview]

The chain could open even more locations according to its development officer, who discusses Fazoli's success being rooted in quality ingredients and speedy service.

Toronto-Based Fashion Designer Adam X Discusses Inspiration, Retail and Designing for the Future [Video Interview]

Craig and Adam X discuss the the founding and ethos of Adam X Atelier, a Toronto-based haute couture fashion brand which is rare to find in Canada.

Swatch Opens Flagship Store in Downtown Vancouver as it Expands Across Canada [Photos]

It's the 12th store in Canada for the popular Swiss watch brand, which almost doubled its store count in this country in less than a year.

Economic Strains Dampen Montréal’s Retail Growth, But Luxury and Transit Projects Could Spark Revival: JLL Report

Montreal retail has struggled recently and leasing activity has been particularly slow downtown, while a new luxury mall and a growing transit network could help things this year.

IKEA Canada Launches ‘Second-Hand Tax’ Initiative in Protest of Government Policies [Interview]

Ikea dropped the tax on its 'as-is' marketplace, stating that second-hand goods should not be subject to the same taxes as new products.

Significant Variances in Food Price Changes Not Reflected in Statistics Canada Numbers [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois says that StatCan numbers on food inflation do not reflect the reality of what consumers are seeing at the grocery store.

US-Based Women’s Fashion Brand Windsor Announces First 5 Canadian Stores, Plans National Expansion [Interviews]

The fashion brand is expected to be a runaway success in Canada, with an existing customer base and a void in the market.

Chop Steakhouse Set to Open in Downtown Toronto, Continuing an Influx of New Restaurants to the Financial District [Feature]

Chop Steakhouse is joining a number of new restaurants and dining options that have opened recently in the Financial District, as the area starts the journey back from a pandemic that took a huge toll on the core.

Virtual Reality Arcade Concept ‘Ctrl V’ Expanding in Canada and the US Following Pandemic Setback [Interview]

The world's first and largest VR arcade franchise is opening new locations across Canada and the US, seeking spaces of about 4,000 square feet.

Good Neighbour ‘Lifestyle Department Store’ Expanding with a New Flagship in Toronto’s Summerhill [Interview]

The unique retail concept that launched 10 years ago in Leslieville has grown its offerings with its newest location catering to locals with a range of produces and a beverage lounge.

Anatomy of a Leader: Ian Rosen, President and COO of Harry Rosen

Rosen discusses his life up to becoming head of the luxury menswear retailer, and discusses what's been happening with the family as new leadership emerges.

Mid-Market Retailers in Canada Navigating Challenges and Opportunities as Consumers Shift [Op-Ed]

Jared Gordon discusses challenges facing mid-market retail, such as declining consumer interest and competition from discount and luxury sectors. Mid-market retailers need to adapt to survive he says.

Canada Ranks Highly for Seamless Retail Experience, Embracing Digital and In-Store Integration: KPMG Report

The report says that Canadian retailers are improving blending online and in-store with a majority of Canadians preferring an in-store experience, necessitating seamless channel integration.

Indigo Books & Music to Go Private After Sale to Schwartz-Controlled Holding Company: Expert Commentary

The Canadian retailer is able to turn itself around privately after much public turmoil, according to experts, though its future remains uncertain with limited scrutiny.

Shift in Yorkville Retail as Harry Rosen Prepares to Relocate Bloor Street Flagship [Podcast]

Craig and Lee discuss Harry Rosen's flagship store moving from Bloor Street to Cumberland Street in Toronto's Yorkville, marking a significant shift in the area's retail landscape.