Whoa, Nelly! If you’ve let go of the reins and are finding it hard to command your closet these days then perhaps an accessorial update is in order. Easy Tiger Goods is the fairly new, funky fresh lifestyle concept shop on Dundas West, owned and operated by former partner at Lost and Found, Zai Rajkotwala. Specializing in a carefully crafted mélange of home décor items, paper goods, leather goods, womenswear, unisex accessories, jewellery and gifts, shoppers are invited in by their cute design and artful displays, and stick around for a coffee or two.
Zai has been a Dundas West resident for quite some time and after years in the retail business she felt a void in her West End ‘hood. Drawing from her love of gift giving, she has now channeled her emotional and aesthetic love for such items into the mold of Easy Tiger Goods.
“I am a really sentimental person, and love the idea of gift giving,” Zai tells me. “My favorite thing to do as a consumer is buying friends gifts – finding the perfect gift is always so rewarding. Choosing things I think people will love is my reward at the shop.”
Though the name Easy Tiger Goods comes from one of Zai’s favourite catch phrases, it’s not based on sexual innuendo, as one might imagine.
“I wanted a name that was feminine, but strong. Something unisex – and something that didn’t take itself too seriously,” she says. The playful appeal of the name has allowed Zai and her crew to be creative and quirky with it. “During our soft opening, we had friends wearing tiger masks playing the ukulele outside our shop, handing out tiger faced cookies.”
It would seem like baked goods and ironic face coverings aren’t the only fun and inviting element to the shop. Zai’s cutesy coffee bar has allowed her to bring warmth into the space that’s seldom felt at your average retail store. She has borrowed the idea from Lost and Found, but when she’s able to make someone a cup and truly get to know her neighbours it gives her the community feel that she has envisioned for her store.
Such a feeling transcends far beyond the cup. From the clothing racks to the cubbies, Zai has stocked her store with a personally curated selection of craft items. From local designers like Carly Houle, Metsa, ElevenThirty, MacAusland’s Woollen Mills, Maude and Colette, Jesse Bromm and many, many more, she’s a proponent of anything that’s well made, designed and packaged.
“People work hard for their money, and like to know where things are made, and where their product comes from. It’s connecting consumers with makers, and understanding the process and construction behind the products they invest in.”
Perhaps even more noble than connecting her customers to the products they purchase, Zai is focused on accessibility – offering high quality products that many people can afford. Topping the list of her favourite new items, she’s thrilled (not chilled) by the Hendrik Lou scarves and toques. Handmade in Vancouver, they contain 80% alpaca and 20% wool, and at $90 one could really wrap their head around that… get it?
Zai’s search for pieces with classic aesthetic and her earnest ability to research new brands and products will keep a constant array of new items on the shelves. If you’re pressed for time, or out of town, it’s worth noting that Easy Tiger Goods has launched their online store as of last week. Nevertheless, no matter when you get to these products, they’re sure to conserve their character.
“[The products] all have a great classic aesthetic,” says Zai. “I like to choose things that aren’t super trendy – more classic and sustainable. Things that will last season after season and never go out of style. Timeless, is key for me.”