Q&A: How long has Au Lit been around?
In our ongoing Q&A series, we answer your questions about Au Lit's products, care techniques, and history. Please send any inquiries you have to firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to answer your questions!
A: In 2016, Au Lit will have been in business for 35 years. Peggy Byron opened the doors to Boutique Au Lit in 1981, on rue St-Denis in Montreal. Peggy was a true visionary; her dream was to bring fine linens made from pure cotton to Canadians, rather than the treated polyester ones that were popular at the time. The 700-foot boutique opened to great success, and you could often find a line forming down the street. After a short time of selling sheets from other companies, Peggy set her sights on a new vision: producing her own in-house collection of fine linens crafted from pure cotton.
Peggy began to search for a workshop that could create the high-quality sheets she had dreamt of, and she found her match in Ghislane Dion and her dedicated team of sewers. Ghislane and her team shared the same commitment to excellence that Peggy did, and together they began to produce fine bed linens made from natural Egyptian cotton that had been milled in Italy; each piece cut, sewn, and embroidered by hand.
Peggy (right) at Boutique Au Lit, Montreal
Store displays at Boutique Au Lit. 1981
Our factory in Montreal, circa 1980s
After many years of success in Montreal, Peggy set her sights on a new challenge: Toronto. In 1996, she made the decision to move the retail end of her business to a boutique on Mt. Pleasant Avenue, in the blooming North Toronto neighbourhood of the city. Boutique Au Lit was reborn as Au Lit Fine Linens, and Toronto quickly embraced the beautiful new boutique. Peggy expanded her selection to include bath products, sleepwear, furniture, and even designer fabrics.
Peggy (left) at Au Lit Fine Linens, 1996
Au Lit Fine Linens (Mt. Pleasant location), 1996
By 2003, Peggy realized that Au Lit was ready for growth and expansion, and moved the boutique to it's current Yonge Street flagship. This 5500-foot store was almost ten times the size of her first, a true accomplishment for this natural born entrepreneur. The boutique later expanded to include an outlet and a thriving e-commerce boutique two doors down, all located on Toronto's historic Yonge Street.
In 2014, Peggy passed away. Her daughter, Joanna Goodman - who has developed her own passion for design and fine linens - is running the business with her husband, Miguel. Au Lit still uses the same Montreal factory to create their linens that Peggy founded, under the guidance of Ghislane and her own daughter, Martine. We created this beautiful Legacy video to celebrate Peggy's life, entrepreneurial journey, and courageousness. Hope you enjoy it!