Gillian Medina: From Dancer to Businesswoman – The Story of relevé
Welcome to relevé, the trendy shop situated in East York that sells elevated everyday wear.
Who would open a shop specializing in activewear in the middle of the worst pandemic the planet has seen since 1918? Gillian Medina, that’s who! This vivacious trendsetter transformed from dancer to a no-holds-barred businesswoman who was tired of her monotonous life and wanted something more … much more. Gillian recalls, “I wanted to finally pursue doing something on my own,” and she did just that. In 2020, Gillian created relevé, a cool clothing store in East York, for “elevated everyday wear”.
Starting up a business during a pandemic was no easy task. It certainly wasn’t for the faint of heart. Gillian feels the shop has been able to thrive during COVID-19 because of her uncanny resilience, relentless determination, unwavering commitment and the ability to adapt to all situations. Not only are those the traits of a successful entrepreneur, but they also embody the characteristics of a ballet dancer. “It also helped that my kids eventually went back to school. That really let me focus on the store.”
relevé has a plethora of fantastic brands, which attracts its loyal customers. “Alo Yoga is a fan favourite. It brings people to the store because they recognize the brand. The pieces are very simple and streamlined.” Another one of Gillian’s favourite brands? A Swiss sneaker company called On, “They’re meant to feel like you’re running on a cloud. I’ve worn them everyday since I got them.”
After talking to Gillian, it’s easy to see why she’d open her store during the pandemic. The shop is cool but not too cool, trendy but not too trendy and, most important, Gillian emphasizes, “relevé doesn’t have the ideal customer. It could be anybody and everybody, all at the same time.”