Laura Wolstein: The Woman Behind the Brand

For International Women's Day, elebrating the woman behind the brand: Laura Wolstein
Credit: Laura Canada

In honour of International Women’s Day, we at Laura Canada wanted to spotlight the woman who started it all: our eponymous founder, Laura Wolstein.


Where It All Began

About 91 years ago, in 1930, Laura Wolstein made a decision that would impact both her family and the Canadian fashion industry forever. When it was not yet commonplace for women to go out and work, she decided to defy convention and open a clothing boutique on Montreal’s very own Saint Hubert Street. And thus, 10 years before women in Quebec had the right to vote, the first ever Laura store was born.


Mother and Entrepreneur

As a mother of 5 children, Laura’s career aspirations were no small feat. Still, her immense ambition and drive lead the way as she embodied the perfect balance between caregiver and entrepreneur.

An undeniable trailblazer of her time, she had a vision. She knew change was underway and wanted to make sure women could be dressed beautifully for every occasion that presented itself to them. Most of all, she wanted to share her love of fashion with her community.

Following her dreams, she sold only top-quality garments and tended to every customer with specific attention and care—values the company still stands by and emulates on a nationwide scale today.

For International Women's Day, celebrating the woman behind the brand: Laura Wolstein.
Credit: Laura Canada

Laura’s Style Favourites

Almost a century has passed, but Laura’s iconic fashion sense has stood the test of time.

Her signature style staples are pieces you can find within our current collections: chic cardigans, flattering skirts and dresses, and carefully chosen accessories. She loved a bold pattern, a statement sleeve and of course, an immaculate fit. She believed in women expressing themselves through their clothing all while feeling comfortable and confident.


A True Retail Pioneer

Once a simple passion project, Laura Wolstein’s modest Montreal boutique became 140 stores across Canada and a business with over 2,000 employees.

Every day, we are reminded that she is the name and also the soul that lives within the brand, and we simply wanted to share her story with the world. It is one we love to tell and her legacy is one we are proud to uphold.

A loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, a savvy business woman and a retail pioneer through and through, we celebrate Laura on Women’s Day and every day.

 

* * *

 

This March 8th, Happy International Women’s Day to all the stunning and inspiring women out there!

Who are you celebrating this year? Let us know in the comments below.

Written by Erika Spedding

When it comes to fashion, as well as other aspects of life, Erika firmly believes that the rules were meant to be broken. Born and raised in Tiohtià:ke (Montreal), she is a product of her city. A self-proclaimed writer and artist, she has always been drawn to the creative, dabbling in poetry, film photography, modelling, and more. She appreciates work that makes people feel something, loves a good self-care day, and will likely try to figure out your zodiac sign upon meeting you.

34 Comments

  1. I am so proud to be part of her legacy each day as I lead my Laura Team! What a truly amazing Lady with a heart for her clients – a pillar of our Laura Culture today!

  2. I have loved your clothes and almost exclusively, worn your gowns to weddings and special occasions!
    As Mother-of-the-Groom last week, I worse your gown to my son John’s wedding!
    I will try to attach a photo

  3. amazing woman ….and yes, you can still enjoy that feeling of hers today. The flattering clothes, the service and the caring. I love your store. Just wish it was on Vancouver Island Central

  4. Laura will forever be a part of Canadians lives, her employees and all passionate for fashion.

  5. I never knew this story and that is a Canadian store. I have always like the quality of the clothes. I have pieces that are still in good shape ( no stretching, rips or lose of buttons. )
    But I am older and rounder, the 2X piete is now longer around so I can’t shop there any more. The styles are mostly for very tall younger girls. Which is good too.

  6. Wow what a Remarkable Woman ❤️ Laura’s Fashion Designs are well chosen, for Women from X Small to XXLarge! The styles look Great and suit women of all sizes.

  7. Very interesting article. Enjoyed reading about Laura. Always wonder how stores come to be and whether the name of the store is significant. I didn’t realize it was Canadian.

  8. This is a very nice story. Thank you and congratulations for sharing.
    all Laura boutiques still have the same “thinking”
    I would like to know if there is still family members or inherit person to her still in the management
    Thank

    1. Hi Lise, we’re so glad you enjoyed her story. Her grandson, Kalman, leads Laura today, and many family members work within management and the company.
      Thank you for your comment!

  9. I am proud to part of her Legacy offering dresses to Canadian women that they can live, work and celebrate in

  10. Thank you for sharing this amazing story. Very inspiring. Why am I not surprised that it happened in Montréal? This city was the hub of fashion and St-Hubert street was a go-to place for beautiful elegant fashion. Before going to Laura fashion, I was an Algo and Algoette fan. The first dress I ever bought when I started working in 1967 was an Algo dress, purple with white cuffs. My wedding dress was an Algoette dress. Too bad all those names are gone. Very few remain. Long live Laura!

  11. For a staunch Laura customer I am very pleased and deeply appreciative of this article. Who would have known that after more than 10 years of only wearing Laura clothing that there truly is a remarkable woman behind it.
    Can’t wait for this lockdown to end so I can shop at my local Laura store again.

    Thank you for this article!!!!

  12. Laura’s styles cater to all ages and I’ve been a loyal shopper for many decades! I love the quality and variety of Laura’s fashions and the fact that it is a truly Canadian store. 🇨🇦

  13. Inspiring story about Laura’s beginnings & Im proud to be a patron since the ‘80s & have walked on Rue St Hubert in Montréal – perfect fit for the Peitite!

  14. I have used Laura Petites fashion for many years. Her styles fit my liking and her sizes (I’m size 4) always fit me. I shopped practically everything fashionable at Laura Petites. It suits me and it makes me feel comfortable and pretty looking!

  15. Laura opened a store in Verdun and I remember going there with my Mum and grandmother to shop . Laura was there and my Nan was a short , heavy set lady and my Mum would do the shopping for her . Laura told my Nan to sit down and she would show her some dresses . My memory of a lovely lady . I still shop at Laura’s .

  16. Such an inspiring story! I’m proud to be part of the Laura team Happy Women’s Day 2021 ❤️

  17. Thank you Laura….its so nice to know where to go and find NICE fashionable clothing for us larger girls !!!!

  18. I enjoyed very much reading about Laura Wolstein. I too, about 50 years ago started a ladies wear with my husband in a small town in P.E.I. It grew to only five outlets in the province. I really enjoyed the travelling Jewish salesmen from Montreal who came to Charlottetown to set up in the Hotel and Motels. We learned so much from them. We sold our business after 25 years. I do purchase clothing from your Halifax store, but haven’t been to Halifax for a year now. Thanks again for sharing Laura’s story.

  19. Lovely story. Thank you for sharing with us. When you have a plan and a dream any woman can succeed. Laura Wolstein: The Woman Behind the Brand succeed.

    Happy women’s day everyone.

    Sincerely yours
    Lucie

  20. Amazing! Our 17 year old daughters who buy their grad dresses at Laura need to know this story of strong indépendant wonen!

  21. Je suis tellement contente que vous vos vêtements en mode petite car il y a plusieurs femmes qui mesurent 5’4 et moins. Je vous félicite d’avoir pensé à nous.

  22. I have worn clothes from Laura’s for about 40 years. The quality and designs are definitely a cut above. I love the classic designs, many standing the test of time.

    Thank-you for sharing Laura Wolstein’s story. She must have been someone very special to start her business along with having a fairly large family. I can’t help but think that she would be so proud of the Laura business today!

  23. She is an amazing woman. I Love her clothes. They are made with quality which means they are made with care & love. I really appreciate that we have a Lauras’ in Moncton NB.

  24. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story! Laura Wolstein is a true inspiration for all Canadian girls and women. She left behind a wonderful legacy that lives through the personnel that caters to our needs. I wish to acknowledge Carmela and her wonderful Team at Laura Anjou (Montreal) that have served me for over 30 years. Each shopping trip is a true delight. Mrs. Wolstein would be proud of these dedicated women that provide exceptional service. Looking forward to celebrating 100 years of Laura Canada!

  25. Someone told me Melanie Lyne is related, is that correct? Half my wardrobe is from both Laura and Melanie Lyne.

  26. I like the Laura style fashion since a long time ago and I am one of the regular customers of Laura’ boutique.

    Thanks for this beautiful fashion.

  27. How can you not be inspired by Laura.
    She had a vision not only for fashion but mostly to provide for her family.
    Beautiful lady.

  28. Madame Laura (hair up in a array little bun) delicately fashioned in all her amazing pieces of jewelry, served me all my twenties at her boutique in Verdun. Always smiling, she often had save a special piece for me. I remember once a beautiful 2 piece suits (Pierre Balmain) it was amazing how she took care of us. Tomorrow I am heading again at Laura’s in Pointe Claire because I know I will find what I need. By the way, I am today 72 years old.

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