“I didn’t think business would go so fast!” she says. But business had every right to go quickly because no two items at the store are the same. The clothes, shoes, bags and iPhone cases are all handpicked individually by Layla. They are imported from Japan, Korea and China to Toronto, where she collects them herself. Together, her collection showcases the very best of Asian fashion in casual, formal and party styles.
“A t-shirt in Asian fashion can be simple, but it would also have small details like lace ornaments to make it special,” she explains. “Western fashion is more about the overall look.”
For $29 to $69, the outfits in her store are practically a steal because it’s unlikely they can be found anywhere else in Halifax.
Layla had travelled from China to Halifax, where she studied economics at Dalhousie University. But she soon realized that what she really wanted to do was share her sense of style with the rest of the Halifax.
“The first time I went walking in the streets [of Halifax],” she says beaming, “I ran into a cute girl who asked me, ‘where did you get your dress? I’ve never seen it before.’ I remember being so happy and wishing I could send it to her as a gift.”
Her boutique certainly is a gift to Halifax. Everything in the store from the pastel colour scheme to the bouquets of fresh flowers distributed around the store is intended for customers to feel whimsical, delighted and unique.
“I love seeing people’s happy and natural smiles. Sometimes, when customers try on my clothes and get that look, I invite them to model for me,” she says.