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Luxury Eyewear Retailer Opens in Toronto’s Yorkville Area in Unique Adaptable ‘Gift Box’ Space

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All Eyes on Me, a luxury eyewear and optometry boutique, recently opened its new location on Cumberland Street in Toronto with a new concept in the Yorkville area.

Sim Bains

Sim Bains, owner and founder of the company, said the store was conceptualized as a jewelry box.

“What I wanted to basically bring to Toronto, I was figuring out how can I give a gift to the city. So what I wanted to do is not only hold the integrity of brand but also make sure that we’re servicing the right client base for Cartier which obviously is located in that community. We knew it would be a destination shopping area as the world opens up and tourists are coming back into Canada they have a place to visit as well as for the greater surrounding area,” he said.

“I had the idea of the store as a gift box, or jewelry box, because I wanted to elevate the level of service for a curated eyewear experience and at the same time we wanted to make sure that the space would be able to be used for multiple scenarios and partnerships. When you walk in, it’s supposed to feel like you’re in a  jewelry box. There’s a curated selection of frames with partnership brands from Kering the fashion house as well as some other luxury brands on floating shelves and the centre is almost like a jewelry collection where we carry the Precious material and the Noble materials from Cartier and we do their rimless program.

All Eyes On Me
Image: All Eyes On Me

“The space is dedicated for partnerships where we can showcase handbags and shoes, champagne, art. It’s a multi-functional space and that was all done in hopes in the future being able to build the partnerships to have a multi-faceted retail opportunity and even pop-ups on a particular day with a fashion brand, a large company like Kering where they can essentially show products in the centre and one day potentially show shoes, handbags or any other accessories from the floating shelves.”

Bains opened his first store at the age of 28 in Milton, Ontario and turned it into a destination store for eyewear. After seeing opportunities on the medical side, he opened a full-scale medical optometry clinic in 2019 in Oakville.

“That’s what the concept for what we just did in Yorkville came from. It kind of began in Oakville. I initiated the program with custom Cartier eyewear which was available in the United States at this particular time but wasn’t readily available in Canada because I saw a gap in the market and I understood the culture that comes behind it,” said Bains.

He came up with the idea of a private showroom to elevate the level of service and experience for Cartier. In Oakville, a private Cartier showroom was built in June 2019.

Bains said when the pandemic hit he started posting products on social media and “it exploded.”

Image: All Eyes On Me

“Over the pandemic, I turned into a top three retailer in North America because the world was standing still. I was progressing. I decided I wanted to raise the level of service and standard care for eyewear to something that hasn’t been readily done in Ontario or North America so far from what I’ve seen through my travels,” he said.

“It was really the integrity of the brands. Build an exclusive shopping experience with the partnership with Cartier and basically through the pandemic I was communicating with them and we turned it into the Cartier eyewear flagship for Canada as well as a full medical optometry clinic with full-scale medical care and personalized one-on-one care and service and private shopping.”

Bains said the retailer is currently planning its next five years.

“I don’t know exactly what the direction is. I don’t know which model I’m going to scale because I’ve had a lot of success with my medical optometry model that’s situated in Oakville which is also luxury shopping and medical optometry but made more for everyone to be comfortable whereas the flagship that we have on Cumberland is more of a premier destination for eyewear, a premier service that we offer. Based on what happens in the next two years in Yorkville, there’s potential for either of those concepts to scale. I haven’t decided which one,” he said.

“What I want to do is I would like to open stores in major cities across North America.”

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He now works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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