· By Arttic Fox
By: Arpita Quadir
Meet LazyBonesCozy. Like other local handmade brands around the GTA, LazyBonesCozy was founded during the COVID-19 pandemic by Toula Voikos. Prior to establishing her brand, Voikos had a background in Graphic Design and dedicated her time to working and volunteering at the Toronto Humane Society. During the pandemic, she was inspired to switch gears and pursue a new business venture centered around upcycling and producing hand-made goods. Her community was in need of masks, and so she took the opportunity to hand-make them using recycled materials. Studies reveal that the increased demand and supply for face masks lead to global ecological challenges, such as excessive consumption of resources and environmental pollution. To help minimize the negative impacts that single-use masks have on the environment, she continued to create up-cycle masks and donate them to her community.
Shortly after that, she began sewing other items. Voikos received a body comfort cushion from a friend and the unique design led her to create her first signature piece. The cushion, in the shape of a bone, became a popular item during Christmas in 2020 and the positive feedback she received from friends, family and her local community inspired Voikos to keep building LazyBonesCozy. Voikos uses recycled materials collected from interior designers and quiltors as well as obsolete upholstery sample books to give materials a new life as a part of her zero-waste, upcycled products. LazyBonesCozy offers customers with a range of reusable environmentally-friendly products like phone cushions, eye pillows, retro headbands, cooling neck ties, playing card holders, corner bookmarks and pet toys.
Voikos slowly began growing the brand by selling her products at markets around the GTA. She eventually met Nurjahan Begum, the founder and creator of Ethical Local Market and Progoti at the Leslieville Flea in 2021. Voikos was introduced to the ELM store and their goal to be a changemaker in the community by promoting ethically sourced and fairtrade products aligned with Voikos’ mission. Voikos was encouraged by Begum’s expertise and enthusiasm, which encouraged her to be part of the ELM shop located conveniently on Queen Street East. “I plan on staying with ELM as long as the doors are open, " Voikos expressed. “I enjoy the permanent physical presence it allows my small shop to have.”
The LazyBonesCozy brand is growing and Voikos hopes to continue expanding her business online while also connecting with her community in person.