The Ryan Nugent-Hopkins collection offers professional athletes the opportunity to create their own personal brand with the ability to create and build communities within their city or network. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins selected KidSport Edmonton as his and his wife, Bre, charity of choice for this collection because Ryan and Bre understand the financial strain participating in multiple sports growing up can have on a family.
Both Bre and Ryan value that every child deserves a chance to play sports regardless of their family situation or socioeconomic status. By releasing their own limited edition collection, Ryan and Bre found it a positive way to give back to children and families participating in sport and hopefully help kids play organized sports and have fun growing up, just like Ryan and Bre did.
To listen to the full episode of Proudly Made in Canada featuring Ryan & Bre Nugent-Hopkins, Laurenne Mercier of Treadstone Sports and of course your co-host for the episode Connor Curran, follow the link here, or continue to scroll and read the full story below!
Live from Studio B this is probably made in Canada by Local Laundry. We are your co-hosts and co owners of Local Laundry, Connor Curran, and Dustin Paisley.
Today, we have a very, very special guest, probably one of the most exciting episodes I've ever been part of really excited. Today we're launching a new campaign in collaboration with Mr. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Who's a professional hockey player, plays center and is altering captain for the Edmonton Oilers. We're launching a partnership collaboration line with him and his lovely wife, and we're very excited to have him on the show. And we also have Lauren Merci here from Treadstone Agency, the magician behind it, who put all this together. Thank you so much, both of you for being on the show. How are both of you today?
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (00:57):
Doing well, thanks all for having me.
Mine also. Thanks Connor and Dustin. We are happy to be here.
Yeah, no problem. So Treadstone Sports agency is a full service marketing agency that specializes in bridging the gap between athletes and businesses with a like-minded brand and vision, which is so cool because I think that's exactly what you've done here. You know, we got connected with Lauren about a month or two ago. I had a mild freak out on Google Hangouts because she flashed her x ring, which means that her and I went to the same university. And so we instantly became best pals. And we started talking about our business and what we do and how we make Canadian made garments. And we want to partner with those that have those community building values. And within like an hour, she calls me back and she's like, I think we have the perfect person for this partnership. And it was none other than Mr. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. So Lauren, maybe you can kind of talk to us about how you kind of met Ryan, how you kind of got involved working with him and how this partnership kind of came to be.
Yeah. So with Treadstone sports agency, I guess, as you mentioned, Connor, the biggest thing for me is to connect athletes with brands and organizations that are authentic to them so that it creates a genuine partnership and honest partnership. And in that way, I just find there's so much more engagement. So I actually used to work for the Nashville Predators and then because I'm Canadian, wasn't able to stay there. So then started with the Oilers and worked a year there. And that's where I first met Ryan. And he's very engaged in the community and very authentic and genuine and kind of everything that Treadstone stands for. So when I had my conversation with you guys at Local Laundry, who also had very similar views and opinions and all that, as I do, it seems like the perfect fit to try and involve someone like Ryan, who is also a Canadian guy playing for a Canadian team and a team that he's been with for nine years too. So very involved in the community. And my biggest passion is the philanthropic side of what I do. So that's kind of where it came from on my side.
Awesome. And so Ryan, what was the inspiration behind wanting to start your own clothing line, your own brand?
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (02:56):
Growing up, I never thought I would be able to do this, but the longer I'm in Alberta, I mean I spent two years in Red Deer before I went to Edmonton. So been in Alberta for 11 years now and I just thought it was a cool way to kind of give back, to charitable organizations. And it's a little bit unique and I mean, as the brand grows, it's kind of a stepping stone, a starting place for my personal brand to start here and give back a little bit to the community, to get more involved in and see where we go from there.
Awesome. That's fantastic. Now I know you've got some help with this collection and this line, this brand, from what I understand your lovely wife, she's helping in it as well. I'd love to know how long have you two been together and what is it like to work together on something like this?
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (03:37):
She's also an Alberta girl. She's from Red Deer. We've been together for 10 years now and got married last summer in Hawaii. So we've obviously been together for a long time and Bree's definitely fashionable. I mean, she's a lot more fashionable than I am, so she knows a little bit more about the ins and outs of clothing than I do. [inaudible 00:03:59] That can definitely probably help us out with that. She is quite knowledgeable about it and I'm a little bit in the dark, but she's already having fun. She likes everything that we've seen so far. So yeah, it's fun to kind of partner up with her as well.
That's great. I love it. I'll let you in a little secret. My wife actually came up with the name Local Laundry. That was all her idea. We were living in Sweden at the time and she was half asleep and I had a nightmare of a round with our terrible washing machine. And I was like, why don't we call it like Calgary Community Shirts? And she's like, that's a terrible idea. So you should call it something better, like Local Laundry. And I was like, you're a genius. You're so much smarter than me. Ever since then, she thinks she's like the chief marketing officer. Be careful, she will take over, which is okay.
So we decided to go with something simple, something classic. You know, we wanted to go with a simple crew neck sweater in black. Simple Snapback hat, everything entirely made in Canada, which is really cool, but we kind of wanted to make the center of the design 93, right? The number nine three, which is your number. I believe it's also the year that you were born if I'm not mistaken. Ryan, tell me a little bit more about the significance of nine three, what it means to you.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (05:06):
Yeah, for sure. Like you said, it's the number I've been wearing my whole career in Edmonton. I grew up wearing the number for most of my minor hockey days as well and born in 1993 too. So quite a lot to me. And I also thought it was just kind of a good way to get more people in the communities involved with the hats and the shirts and stuff like that. I mean, you don't necessarily have to be a fan of myself or hockey in general. It's just kind of cool. I mean, you can wear a hat with 93 and have no idea what it really means, it just is a cool logo. And I think a good way to kind of get more than just the hockey fans and the hockey community. You kind of get everybody a chance to wear it and get involved with it.
Absolutely. Yeah. Right on. I love it. I think it's really great.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (05:49):
Yeah, I'm excited about the logo for sure.
Ah, thanks man. It was really fun kind of creating this. I have a personal vision for this. I'm like I want to make the number 93, absolutely synonymous with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins so anytime anyone thinks of any kind of player number, whether it's hockey or whatever. They think 93, they think of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. That's my personal goal. I think, yeah, our designer [inaudible 00:06:11] Lawrence did a bang up job. You can wear this 93 and not even be a sports fan. You know, I just think it's a good look.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (06:17):
When you and I were talking, you kind of approached us and we kind of talked about what we could offer. And we said Canadian made is at the heart of everything that we do. These hats are made here in Canada. One of the few people that actually make our hats here in Canada, Lauren, I wanted to ask you how important is it connecting athletes to create their line, but having that line Canadian made?
I think it's awesome. I think it's such a nice added touch point. I think, especially in these days with COVID happening, like everyone is so pushing support local and all that kind of thing. And so that supporting locals so beneficial, but also the ability to say that it's come straight from Canada. That's like, you mentioned very hard to come by and yeah, it's important to you. It goes back to that authenticity piece with Ryan being both playing for a Canadian team as well as from Canada and I'm born and raised in Canada. And I absolutely love it here. So I think that's a really awesome piece and kind of something to be proud in and just adds a different element to the line beyond just, it goes back to a charity, but then it also adds that element of being local and Canadian made and things like that. [crosstalk 00:07:18] the last year our Canadian team won the cup.
Oh really? I did not know that. That is a shame. I like that. But you touched on a lot of the other... The charitable aspect. You know, a big part of what we do is one of our pillars of building communities. We have to find a way to give back, to make this place a little bit better than where we left it. And so we left it up to you and your wife about what charity you guys wanted to support. And you guys came back and said, Kids Sport Edmonton was really near and dear to your heart. We do a lot of work with Kids Sport here in Calgary, but I want to know how come you chose Kids Sport Edmonton, and what makes that organization so special to you two.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (07:53):
Sports has always been a huge part of my life and growing up as a kid, I mean, I played multiple sports, but as a family, we never had the most money and we knew how expensive it was to play in minor hockey. You go to tournaments with traveling, pay for equipment. If she wanted to get new stuff, it all costs a lot of money. And I know those prices are still going up. I mean, Brianna and I both feel like every kid deserves a chance to play sports, whatever sport that is, hockey, baseball, lacrosse, doesn't matter. I think every kid should have the opportunity to play sports growing up regardless of what their family situation is. So we thought that this was a good chance to give back to them and just hopefully help some kids play some organized sports and have fun just like I did growing up.
Absolutely. And like we said before, $25 from every sweater is going straight to Kid Sport Edmonton. $15 from every ad is going straight to the organization. They're a fantastic organization. They're actually celebrating a big anniversary of this year. I know down here in Calgary, the Kids Sport Calgary, I think they're celebrating I think it's like the 20th or 25th anniversary. So they've been around a long time, helped a lot of kids. And like you said, hockey is one of those sports that just has that increasing costs. Anything that they can do to kind of help is fantastic.
You know Ryan, being in Alberta for 11 years, brand's from Alberta, why did you feel that Local Laundry was kind of a good fit? Lauren, maybe you can kind of even hop in here as well. Why did you want to work with Local Laundry to kind of get your brand off the ground?
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (09:15):
Like you guys have mentioned already, it's all locally made. It's all Canadian made. I mean, I haven't been outside of Western Canada and I haven't lived outside of Western Canada, my whole life gone from Vancouver B.C to Red Deer to Edmonton. So I'm definitely a Canadian through and through. And I love the fact that this company they give back, they're all about being a Canadian brand and Canadian made and also give back to charitable organizations, which I think is amazing. And so, I mean, for me, it was an easy decision when I see the something like this department and hopefully do some good.
Yeah. I think Ryan nailed it. I think that obviously goes for me too. It's nice to be local. I'm local to Calgary as well as Canada and all the things that you guys stand for, even just as people like you guys are just so great to deal with and great to chat with and a young group and small local business too, which is all things that I appreciate. Oh, thank you. Let's keep this [crosstalk 00:10:06].
If you want to compliment us some more, you're welcome.
[crosstalk 00:10:12] let us know.
I appreciate it. I mean, we couldn't be more excited about the collaboration and we share the sentiment, Ryan, of wanting to give back to the community and kind of give back to something that we've been so fortunate to be able to be a part of. Connor And I both grew up in Calgary and for us, at least Calgary and Canada has been such an incredible part of our growing up, part of our identity. I mean, we've both studied abroad. And so we've seen what it's like in other countries. And I think that definitely gives you an appreciation for growing up to be Canadian. So for us, a big part of the brand was giving back to the community. It was manufacturing here in Canada and supporting local, and Kids sports is another great organization that does, I think it was 25 years Connor that they were celebrating.
But that brings in one question from you, Ryan. I mean, you talked a little bit about growing up playing hockey and everything else, but what is the sport meant for you?
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (10:56):
I mean, growing up, it's where I met so many of my friends, friends that I'm still probably closest with now. I mean, there's guys that I played minor hockey with when I was 15 years old. Formed some incredible friendships. I think I learned a lot about life and how to be respectful with other people, because you're always on a team, you have to be able to work with other people and you got to be respectful and get along with them. And I mean, you can learn how to be a leader [inaudible 00:11:21] sport, any team sport.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (11:22):
I think it's a great chance to learn how to be a leader and lead by example. It's definitely more than a sport to me. It's been a huge part of my life. My brother grew up playing as well and he's a physical trainer now and he coaches a minor midget team in B.C. down here, so it's definitely a huge part of both of our lives. And I've been so fortunate to be able to play this for as long as I have. And I've just been lucky with it.
Yeah, absolutely. You're a Canadian icon to so many young players growing up. And I'm sure that's a pretty motivating factor too, behind everything you do. And I mean, for anyone that's grown, playing sports, Connor for you it was basketball, for me, it was squash. There's a lot you can learn from a sport. And I've noticed as of late as well, we've seen a lot of athletes that have really successfully transitioned into being quite successful in business too. Can you talk a little bit about the work ethic or what you think drives a lot of that because obviously running a business is a lot like being a professional athletes. There's discipline. There's a lot of work that's involved in that. Tell me a little bit about kind of hockey and how that's translated into having to have a bit of a work ethic.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (12:23):
For sure. I played with some guys in Edmonton who have gone on to have their own clothing brand. I mean, I played with [inaudible 00:12:30] and he takes a lot of pride in that. And even when he was with us, he's now doing like shows and stuff about cooking and whatnot and hunting. So it definitely takes a lot of dedication and both sense. I mean, like I said about working with your teammates, if you're starting a company or starting your own brand outside of sports, you still have to be able to work with people and be respectful and learn how to do that. It takes a lot of time, takes a lot of effort. Just like hockey, it's not about just putting the skates on and going out there and playing there's a lot of behind the scenes that goes into it. So I think there's a lot of similarities there.
Yeah, absolutely. And for you, clothing was kind of the one Avenue you've explored, where do you see the brand growing and evolving and have you given much thought to kind of where you want to see this go into the future?
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (13:13):
Well, I think this is a great start for now to where it can go in the future. I think that's a great way to get more involved in the community in Alberta, in Edmonton and give back. And yeah, I mean, right now we're doing [inaudible 00:13:24] the sweaters. So maybe in the future add a couple more pieces. But for me personally, it's kind of the beginning of starting my own brand outside of hockey. So it's exciting for me. And it's exciting to partner up with a group like you guys for sure.
Now, one last question before we let you go here, what advice would you give to these young hockey players that are going to be benefiting from some of the Kids Sport Edmonton programs?
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (13:47):
Yeah, [inaudible 00:13:51] and it's something that I had always heard from the older generations, professional hockey players growing up is you got to have fun with it. You got to love doing it. I think as a kid, it's easy to love it. I mean, obviously, maybe sometimes there's pressure for parents and stuff, but I mean, you have to be able to love it and enjoy it. Whether you're the best player or the worst player, you're still out there with your teammates, having fun. You get to see them every day. And I think that is probably the most important thing. I don't think it's about being the best player at a super young age or being the worst player. Everybody develops a different stance through sports. So I think having fun and just enjoying it and obviously the work ethic, I think if you love it enough, just like anything else in life, if you really enjoy doing it, I think you're going to work hard no matter what, because you just want to get better at it. So I think those two definitely can come hand in hand.
That's great advice. I would probably give very similar advice to those looking to get in business because if you're not having fun with it, it's not going to drive you and push you. So that's going to be the first and foremost. So really great answer. One last question for you, Lauren, what advice would you give to other professional athletes or amateur athletes that are looking to kind of brand themselves or market themselves a little bit more on the individual level?
Connor, that's a hard one. I know I might sound like a broken record, but for me the biggest thing is remaining authentic. It is so obvious when someone is just doing something because they're told or because they have to, but if you really can have genuine, authentic, honest piece, that's going to kind of drive it for you, whether it's something that you believe in, in terms of locally made or a philanthropic avenue or something like that, but kind of just remaining who you are, the brand speaks for itself in a lot of ways. So building a brand around something that's already established and something that you love and to kind of elaborate on what Ryan said, if you can have fun with it, that's going to be the biggest thing. And I think speak volumes too and speak the biggest number of people, I guess. So, yeah. My biggest thing is just staying authentic and staying true to who you are, as cliche as that sounds.
Not cliche at all. It's true for a reason. So very well said, well, I want to thank the both of you for taking the time to chat. I'm really looking forward to this. Again, we have the Ryan Nugent-Hawkins Local Laundry collaboration collection, launching as a presale on October 17th, we've got our Canadian made snapback hats. Canadian made crew necks that have this really great Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 93 design. We're really excited share this out. And like I said, $25 from every sweater and $50 from hats going right back to Kid Sport Edmonton to support causes near and dear to Ryan and his lovely wife Beanne's heart.
So thank you so much, Ryan. Thank you so much, Lauren, for coming on the show and thank you so much Dustin, for joining us. This has been proudly made in Canada by Local Laundry. I am your co-host and co-owner Connor Kern and Dustin I'll leave it to you to send us home.
As always thank you everyone for stopping by, for listening, for supporting our journey in Canadian Made.
We're incredibly excited about this collaboration with Mr. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. So for those of you listening, please go ahead and help support Kids Sport Edmonton, help support the brand and we hope you enjoy this collaboration. So until next time we look forward to having you stop by.
Thank you guys.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (16:48):
Speaker 1 (16:50):
Thank you so much for tuning in to proudly made in Canada by Local Laundry. We are your co-hosts and co-owners Connor Kern and Dustin Paisley. You can find us anywhere anytime at www.locallaundry.ca for all of our Canadian made garments. You can find out what we're up to in the community at Local Laundry and all social channels, sign up for our newsletter, sign up for e-blast and you can find all previous episodes of the podcast, wherever you stream your podcasts. Until next time.