The Labour District Diaries: Part 1

As you already know, we are in the process of opening a retail store, The Labour District, in downtown Oshawa.  It’s a lot of work, and we’ve barely just begun.

I thought it’d be helpful to write down our experiences, partly for others who are interested in pursuing retail ownership, and partly so we can look back on all the hard work it took to start a storefront business.

So let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

Picture it, Toronto, July 2013.

I’d just had an interesting conversation with my mother on the topic of my new marriage, and our plans for the future.  There was an offer put forth to let my husband and I move into her basement in order for us to save up for a down payment on a house.

So Mr Amie and I got to talking.  We were pretty much done with Toronto.  We were also intrigued by the opportunity of being able to save for our future.  But, without going into detail, neither of us wanted to be holding down a mortgage with our current places of employment.

Then we got to talking about our dream jobs.  I kept thinking about opening a sewing studio in Oshawa, where I could make clothing, teach sewing classes, and sell clothing & accessories made by Canadian artists.  And my husband told me about this vacant retail space in downtown Oshawa that he used to always gaze into, dreaming of running a skate shop.

Now skateboards and sewing don’t really mix.  However, when you take into account the fact that most sales in a skate shop come from the clothing and accessories, then you have the magical, workable combo of a sewing studio with a retail space.  And let’s be honest, do I really seem like the kind of gal who’s going to open one of those pristine, white-washed studios that’s choking on pennant banners and painted mason jars?  Pshht, I’d dirty that shit up so fast.


Once we’d discussed and agreed on the ramifications, we put our plan into action.

The first stage of action = research and development.

Coming up in part 2!


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