2018 has come and gone and now we have a New Year upon us at Local Laundry. If we had to use one word to sum up our feelings about 2019, it would be “Excited”. We are excited about what we have in store, our plans and our vision. We are excited for the people we are going to be working with, for the things our team will do and for the ways we will build community.
2018 was an interesting year at Local Laundry. It was the first full year where I went full time with the business; the first full-time employee. We had hopes and visions of taking on the country and grabbing the year by the horns. We felt that 2017 was the year that Calgary really got to know Local Laundry and we wanted 2018 to be the year that Canada got to know us. We had the Winter Olympics just a few months away and we felt poised to be in a perfect position to build community on a national stage in 2018.
For the first few months of 2018, we did exactly that. We launched a successful Olympics campaign where we donated to the Canadian Sports Institute and saw our Canada gear make its way to Korea for the games. The year was looking strong. That is, until late April, when we were out with one of our mentors, talking about the future of Local Laundry. He had asked “Why isn’t Local Laundry Made In Canada? You are called LOCAL Laundry, it should be made in Canada”. After that conversation, we couldn’t ignore it any longer. We had dipped our toes into some Made in Canada items previously but we knew that to continue to grow, develop, and give back to the community, we had to become completely Made In Canada. In doing this, we could really double down on the benefits to the community and every stakeholder that is involved with Local Laundry.
We dove head first into the notion and committed to only producing Made in Canada clothing from that point on. This meant having to sell through ALL of our non-Made in Canada gear, and re-launch our most popular pieces with Canadian Made versions. The transition was awkward, clunky, frustrating for those retail partners who joined us on this ride, and not as well planned out as we would have liked BUT it did solidify something for us. It solidified our vision for Local Laundry and what we wanted to accomplish with the company on a bigger scale.
Making the transition to all Made in Canada forced us to think where we wanted to take the brand over the next 10 years and what it could do for the community. We realized that we don’t have to try and take on the whole country with our limited resources just yet, but that we could focus instead on the community we have built here in our own city. We can continue working with the partners that we have and deepen the existing relationships we’ve built. It allowed us to take the brand to the next level, put more substance into what we believed in, to truly live up to our values.
The amazing thing was that once we made that initial stand and decided this was the direction and road we wanted to go down on, the support from the community and our partners was overwhelming! We had to raise prices on all our gear and we were worried that we would be shooting ourselves in the foot and pushing people away from the brand, but the community embraced it. They understood that it costs a bit more money to ensure our clothes are made using Canadian labour and environmental laws, that they were made by employing Canadians who would contribute to our Canadian economy, that it meant our clothes were being produced and shipped from a country where they don’t have the same standards as we do. They saw the increase in quality that came with the transition and saw the increased cost as an investment into their wardrobe and their community. We would not have made it had it not been for the support from the community.
It was absolutely amazing to see and be a part of, and for this, we will always be eternally grateful. If Local Laundry were to close its doors tomorrow, we would be so proud of what we have achieved and accomplished already in our short time.
Now we are on the other side of the transition to Made in Canada production. We have a firm vision of what we want to do and where we want to go. Our dreams for Local Laundry and the community have only gotten bigger and more ambitious. There are some big, exciting, and fun projects coming down the pipeline that will build community, support Made in Canada clothing and we can’t wait to share them with everyone. We have a rock-solid core team in the four of us to go out and achieve this vision, we have the support system of some of the most amazing people, partners and new friends that will be there to pick us up when we stumble, and we have an absolute army of community builders, fans, customers and people who want to make a positive impact behind us to carry us through to our goals.
2019 - look out! We are coming for you.
Chief Laundry Folder