So as of late we have been really trying to figure out what our company means to us and what we want it to mean to the people that so lovingly support us and oh boy has it been quite the process. We have been talking and trying to determine the values that are extremely important to us as a brand and asking ourselves if we have been emulating these values and we really feel like we haven’t been doing it justice so this post is an update, an apology and a plea for help in getting us there. For us the top three were Quality, Simplicity & Authenticity.
By quality we mean simply to be providing a high quality product and to never compromise the quality of the garments in order to save on some costs. Of course there are some things that make sense to cut in order to save money and we don’t plan on being unintelligent but we have chosen to manufacture our product in Canada. This costs a lot more money then to use a supplier that manufactures overseas or to do our own custom garments with a factory overseas. We are commited to this because we believe in manufacturing with integrity but we also believe that we can create the best quality garment when we can build it and work with our team in picking fabrics and fit.
Simplicity is one that we feel we have not been living up to fully and for that we apologize. I understand that many of you reading this have been with us over the entirety of the last 3 years (woah, crazy!) and there is probably some confusion as to what we are doing exactly and what our product is and all that. Too many questions raised and too much uncertainty. So let me clarify some things:
Product wise we are making everything in Canada as I had stated in the previous paragraph to ensure integrity and quality, no more Gildan, no more American Apparel and we are working at getting rid of the last of the hats that are not made by us. We are a clothing company and we want to do that well and simply. We are not going to be doing skate decks, hats, water bottles and all those other things for a while. We want to master the clothing part of the clothing company before we do all the fun little things. They are fun to dream about but I am a big believer of doing one or a few things extraordinarily rather then doing a bunch of things with mediocrity.
Now to the vision where I believe there is still quite some confusion. We were originally partnered with Compassion Canada and we absolsutely loved this partnership but it wasn’t the right fit for what we had envisioned. As a team we talked about what really mattered to us and it was bringing hope to people all around the world and what was really heavy on our hearts were orphans in Haiti. I haven’t been to Haiti yet but I am extremely excited to go as soon as we hit our target for the well. (The well? what am I talking about?) Right, so from this heart for orphans in Haiti we talked with our friends Dave and Jason Lock who have started a couple orphanages in Haiti and we asked them if there was a tangible project that we could take over that has an “objective complete” type of feeling to share with all the awesome people that support us. They told us about the Bethesda House Orphanage in Port-au-Prince and how it was in need of a well for some clean drinking water. To us that seemed like a perfect place to start and so that is what we are currently trying to raise money for. Will we be building wells forever, simply, no. We are commited to helping transform a community. To us community helping community sounded like who we were as a company. About depth of change rather then the breadth. So we have told Dave and Jason that we want a long term relationship with them and this community and we want to help out where there is need. So once this well is funded we will ask for the next need, if its school supplies, awesome! A new park for the children, an expansion so they can bring in some more girls, cool. We want to be helpful and instrumental in helping this community thrive. To help build the relationship between our community (Pocket Change) and theirs Jason has agreed to write some blogs and updates on the girls in the orphanage and what is going on there so that you can start to learn the stories about the people you will be helping through participating in what we do. We are super excited about that and we are hoping to get that to you as soon as we can.
Authenticity has a lot to do with what was talked about in the vision. A big part of that as well is transparency (answering questions before we are asked) about what we actually do with Haiti. A small step we have done to help be as transparent as we can is adding the value that is allocated to the work in Haiti right on the store. Something we are working on getting on the site is a live tracking bar showing you exactly how much is needed to raise for the well and how much we have so far so that you can see there is progression happening. A big part about authenticity for us is to also be a team that represents the brand. Our team is made up of some really awesome people. Ben, Dustin, Ross and myself all have been working on building this and you can see a little querky bio on the about page. We have also grabbed our friend Jesse James (yes, we know) and we are super stoked about his contributions towards casting and maintaining this vision. All of us are quite involved in different forms of art and design as well as a strong love and involvement in music. I want to be honest with those that may care about our involvement with skateboarding and BMX and say that none of us are super involved in those sports. I have always admired and enjoyed the culture but never really got into the sports to actively. I absolutely love cruising around on my board and I am going to be helping run a park up at Muskoka Woods, but I refer to myself as a poser because I am this guy with a “skate” company who can barely do anything on a board. Webster has gotten me out on a bike but we need to get a few more lessons before I hit the barspins to nose manuals. Incase you were thinking that we were this riding company built by riders that is my disclaimer to say, we enjoy the sport and love riding around casually but we aren’t your park rats. If this disapoints you, I’m sorry, shoot me an email and teach me some things to make me less of a poser.
If you have actually read this far into the post I want to say a big THANKS! We want to try and keep you involved in what we are trying to build and be. If you run into me and don’t think we emulate Quality, Simplicity, Authenticity then please call me out on it. I would much rather you share what upsets you so that I may shed light on the situation or completely change things around because I was blind to my own error. Speaking of transparency being answering question before we are asked, if there are any questions that you have about what we do or anything that you think is unclear PLEASE email me right away and ask, email@example.com. If you have the question there are probably many others that have the same one.
Thank you so much for your continued support, we really do love every one of you.