Soop Soop, Toronto
Soop Soop is Toronto’s go-to source for fashion magazines. As well as stocking everything from Pop, Lula and Tank to lesser-glossy independents like NOON and Marfa Journal, Soop Soop sells designer clothes and a range of brands from the 80s and 90s. This week, we catch up with co-owners Christina and Jordan to hear more about what fashion publications are currently in vogue in Canada.
When and why did you set up Soop Soop?
We set up shop at our current location about a year and a half ago, but have operated online for a little over 3 years. We started the shop as a way for us to enjoy the things we love, really. But there was also a bit of a hole in the Toronto boutique shopping scene for fashion-focused publications. Essentially, we were having a hard time tracking down the titles we were after personally, so we decided to sell them ourselves! Now we stock 80+ titles, and growing.
How do you lay out the magazines around the shop and how did you decide on that set up?
We have a main magazine wall at the front of the shop, which houses all our current printed stock. We keep the shop window clear of display so that its easy for people to spot issues they're after from the street. Instead of a 'shop window' we've converted the riser at the front of the shop in to a cushioned area where people can lounge and read. We also like to use the magazines as merchandising tools around the shop, in amongst the clothing and other products we sell. We buy full seasons based around colour stories, so a beautiful cover or coloured spine can tie things together visually.
Who are your customers?
Our customers are a pretty mixed group. Lots of locals kids, most of whom are artists or work in creative fields, which makes sense. But we also get a lot of people who, like us, have a hard time finding specific fashion titles in Toronto. For many of the magazines we carry, we're the only stockists country-wide, so people often come in on a mission to stock up. It's remarkable how much of a demand there is, particularly for independent fashion publications, which can be pretty hard to come by in Canada.
What’s your best-seller this month?
C-Heads no. 33 is selling quickly, as it always does, and there was a lot of excitement around the 35th birthday issue of i-D, which flew off the shelf. Monthly best sellers ebb and flow, depending on their content and any online hype. Consistent best sellers include 032c, Ponytale, Marfa Journal, Novembre, Buffalo Zine and The Violet Book.
Do you have a favourite local magazine?
Bad Day and Frische are a hands down favourites. While very different from each other, they're both consistently excellent. The Editorial Magazine is from Montreal, so not as local as they come, but close enough. It’s a really exciting one to watch. We’ve only had it for the past couple of issues, but it has grown immensely in that time.
What has the biggest challenge been?
One of the biggest challenges is literally getting the magazines in the shop. Distributors can be a bit tough to deal with - we have some titles that we've been waiting over a year to get in. Being in Canada, we often have to wait weeks for an issue to get to us from overseas, and shipping costs are out of control. Still, even when we're taking the hit, we feel it's worth it for us to stock every magazine we love. But it really is harder than you'd imagine!
What changes have you seen in the magazines since you opened?
Many of the magazines we stock have ever-growing digital platforms, which takes a bit of magic out of their printed issues. But at the end of the day, printed magazines are a luxury item and more and more people are beginning to appreciate that, so we've definitely seen a big spike in the number of independent publications starting up. We don't believe the 'dying industry' hype, if anything we see plenty of evidence proving the opposite! That’s very exciting.