Editor’s note: This feature story was published in winter 2014. For up-to-date info, refer to our I Have a Crush on You store listing.
A diner-style menu board backed by a gold tinsel curtain greets you inside this second-storey Liberty Village boutique. The opening line of its message: “Holy crap!” Looking around at owner Amy Kwong’s wonderfully crush-worthy paper goods and gifts, it’s easy to mouth the same sentiment.
The shelves at the entrance showcase Kwong’s popular designs, which include Smitten Kitten’s Creepy Santa line of screen-printed cards ($5 each) – think greetings like “You better watch out!” written in a Halloween-style font below a shot of a creepy Father Christmas. Kwong’s other, more nostalgic designs – airport code–luggage tags ($10) and a line of notebooks ($20) featuring old-timey photos of the Canadian wilderness and landmarks like the Royal York – are also on hand.
SHOP HERE FOR: Apart from showcasing her own Smitten Kitten line, Kwong also loves introducing Torontonians to fun products from niche designers and brands that aren’t available anywhere else in the city. Among her finds: reusable totes with embroidered graphics that are made to look like generic plastic bags ($35) and cellphone signal–blocking handkerchiefs ($30). Other gems: Devon Hong’s limited-edition dinner plate ($75) depicting Marvel’s Magneto and Professor X in a passionate embrace, and a set of Russian nesting dolls ($50) that riffs on tradition by painting each like members of Kiss.
BEST BET: The space doubles as Kwong’s design studio, so shoppers can gain some insight into her production process. All lettering for Kwong’s funny Tomfoolery cards ($5.50 each) and notebooks ($20) is done on site using a gold foil stamping machine in the corner. Another testament to Kwong’s great sense of humour: her limited-edition Rob Ford commemorative plates and bowls, each made with repurposed vintage dinnerware and featuring a giant graphic crack. Our favourite ($60, with a portion of sales donated to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) pairs a photo of the politician with the kind of ornate floral pattern usually seen on fine china.
51 Jefferson Ave, Ste 201 416 880 6369 ihaveacrushonyou.ca