U.K. Lifestyle Brand Toast Sets Up Shop in Brooklyn

U.K. lifestyle label Toast is bringing its mindful approach to the U.S. market.

The 27-year-old fashion and homeware brand, which offers sustainable and ethically made goods, is setting up shop in Brooklyn at 367 Atlantic Avenue in the Boerum Hill neighborhood on June 6, opening its first permanent location in the U.S. This is Toast’s 20th store overall, with all other units located in the U.K.

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“This enables us to actually act in North America in the way we do in the U.K. and stop people in their path in a busy day — slow us all down a little bit and have a joyous moment even if they’re not Toast customers,” said Suzie de Rohan Willner, the chief executive officer of Toast. “It’s a beautiful thing to see something different in a window and it doesn’t need to be a garment. It may be a work of art. It may be a beautiful bedspread. It could be just some gorgeous plants.”

De Rohan Willner explained Toast has seen a growing interest among its U.S. consumer base over the last six to eight years, and has tapped into that group by slowly building up its presence.

Prior to the Brooklyn storefront, Toast has hosted a pop-up in Hudson, N.Y., and embarked on wholesale partnerships with independent boutiques across the U.S.

Coinciding with the U.S. store, Toast is hiring its first head of brand for North America, Renda Mansour, who previously worked at ABC Home for a decade.

“I just want to make sure the brand expression is true to our roots and to what we do in London and the surrounding stores,” Mansour said. “The U.K. stores are just done with such immaculate care and so much attention to detail. I want to make sure the New York community, who we know are endlessly discerning, will have the same experience.”

U.K. lifestyle brand Toast is opening a Brooklyn store
Inside one of Toast’s U.K. stores.

Like its approach with its U.K. stores, Toast wanted to keep the integrity of the storefront when designing the space and enlisted local workers to help with the design.

The store aims to serve as a community hub similar to the U.K. locations. The brand will regularly host events and workshops, like basket weaving and sculpture making.

“We want our stores to feel like part of a neighborhood,” Mansour said. “We want people to come in and engage with our products, but also take a moment to rest, relax, enjoy being in a nice space and perhaps learn about something, like attending a workshop or sitting with a repair specialist and learning how to do a traditional technique or repair. It’s not just about commerce, it’s also about experience and making sure that people feel they have an authentic connection with the brand.”

Toast’s Brooklyn store will showcase the brand’s New Makers program, which it launched six years ago. The program allows craftspeople from across the globe to apply to have their products sold through Toast’s store and website, as well as receive guidance and mentorship from the brand.

Products from Toast's 2024 New Makers program
Products from Toast’s 2024 New Makers program.

According to de Rohan Willner, the 2024 New Makers program received more applicants from the U.S. than ever before.

“The store experience offers us the possibility to work with creatives around the world,” de Rohan Willner said. “In New York, we are going to be able to offer space up to our New Makers. When you have a brand — if you can and we are able to — we offer a voice to young creatives. I hope that in our journey with this brand, at the moment this cohort of people working for the brand are learning skills to lead in the future.”

Going forward, Toast plans to continue its slow and mindful approach to growth and will focus on establishing its Brooklyn store before expanding more in the U.S.

“We like to go slowly,” de Rohan Willner said. “I believe wholeheartedly in following the vision of the brand. Our purpose is to share knowledge, which we’re trying to do through all of our initiatives. It’s to sustain craftsmanship and leave communities enriched. That is really what we try and do. Then we go slowly. We work with our local community and we enjoy every moment of it. I’m hoping that we will one day open more stores, but it will depend stage by stage.”

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