images_ben story

lvwave 3images_ben storyBEN IS OUR METICULOUS NEW WANDERER of the men’s section. With hazel hair that has the tendency to flop into his hazel eyes, and an easy smile, this charmer is bound to be one of our new customer favourites. And in representing himself and L&S, it helps that he’s a sharp dresser and a dedicated stylist.  Welcome Ben to the L&S floor!

Ben is an aspiring actor from Vancouver. Test him by making obscure references to musicals (drop a line from “West Side Story” and he’ll be more than happy to participate in a harmonious knife fight), but take our word for it, he is both serious and passionate about the stage. The stage–and art scene in general–was actually the main motivation behind his packing up a suit case and moving his life from the West Coast to Toronto. We were lucky when we found him (his lone contact in the city happened to be an old staff member who swept him in our direction), and he’s been a solid member of the team for about three months now. When he’s not busy dressing someone up with our stock, he’s usually hitting the pavement. A self-professed lover of architecture, he’s a natural city explorer, in search of the old brick heritage buildings that we hold dear. And of course you’ll find him attending some of the many shows that feature in our theatres. Having crossed the stage as Romeo in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, tap danced in a West Coast production of Chicago, he’s an avid and educated audience member. 

While he’s looking for his big break, we’re more than happy to share some good times and have him here at Lavish&Squalor. Come by and say hello to our newest addition to the team. And Ben, we can bet that you’re heading to the bigger screen and we’re all rooting for you! 




Australian, lean jean wearing machine Mike O’Dowd walked into the store earlier this year, and was hired on the spot. Today, he’ll be crossing our threshold for the last time, so we sat down with him for a chat.

L&S - Having lived in Toronto for 8 months, what are you going to miss most about it?

Mike -The people. A huge list of people, lots of friendships were started while I worked here. Toronto has the nicest people that I’ve ever met. And the summer, there was so much going on! So many events, Pride Week! NXNE! The city becomes alive in the summer. Like Pinocchio.

L&S -Did working with us provide you with any other highlights?

Mike - You mean besides the people? Getting a chance to make the coffee upstairs, it’s a creative art. Being Australian, we have a huge coffee culture, especially in Melbourne (where I’m from). It’s got the largest Italian community outside of Italy, and they take their coffee very seriously.

When he’s not causing our customers to swoon over his Australian accent, Mike gets on stage behind JR Reyne. A massive hit in Australia, they’ve made huge splashes in North America with their short tours. Next year, Mike and the band will be in Los Angeles in February, and will then migrate to Texas in March to sit down for a full recording session. He wants everyone to keep their eyes peeled, as a North American tour will definitely be on the cards later on in 2013. In the meantime, we can content ourselves with their cover of “No Expectations” by the Rolling Stones, to be dropped by Halcyon Records on December 8, 2012.

L&S - Anything else?

Mike - I  just wanted to give a great thank you! Everyone’s been great, and it’s been amazing to work with music here. It was an amazing experience, and I hope I’ll be back again soon.

We would like to take a moment now to thank Mike for adding that Australian flare to our team dynamic. He was a joy to work with, and an even bigger joy to watch when he took the stage. We love fostering a creative team, whether it be with locals, or international visitors, and Mike certainly left his personal imprint behind; he will be missed.



Saying good-bye is never easy so how about this: we won’t. Yesterday was our lovely Shelly’s last day. She’s returning to home to Sauble Beach and we could not be more happy for her. Again, it isn’t ever really a good-bye, just a see you soon.

Shelly, you’re going to be missed, your upbeat attitude and the way you work with others has truly touched every one of us here. Come and visit, you’re always welcome to Toronto’s best independent life+style market, Lavish&Squalor.