What inspired Connor to start the company? He credits his parents for introducing him to entrepreneurship and community building.
“My parents immigrated from Ireland with no money and no education, but they worked very hard to do what all Irish immigrants do when they come to Canada; open an Irish pub. I was able to see how, through hard work and sheer determination, they were able to build a life for themselves; be their own bosses, provide for their family, and give back to the community, all through entrepreneurship. I knew I wanted to create something that I could use as a vehicle to give back. I was always fascinated with the idea of clothing and how it can express one’s values and thoughts. So, with little to no experience, I did what any Millennial does; just hit up the ol’ Google machine with ‘how to make a t-shirt company’ and watched a tutorial.”
What makes Local Laundry a unique Canadian clothing company?
Unlike the other big Canadian clothing companies, Local Laundry produces only made-in-Canada garments to support Canadian manufacturing, jobs, and the economy. Despite starting out with overseas manufacturing, Connor saw an opportunity to make his laundry even more local by washing, printing, warehousing, and shipping garments in Canada.
“We made the switch to local manufacturing, and it was the greatest decision we ever made because it also separated us from all the major players. Few of the big Canadian clothing companies, if any, make their clothing here, so instead of having to compete by price or other means, we were competing on quality and supporting Canadian values,” says Connor. “People are willing to pay more for quality, sustainable and ethical sourcing, and supporting the products that were made here.”
Local Laundry uses their Canadian apparel to make a difference in their community by making monthly charity donations (with over $60,000 raised to date), organizing volunteer and networking events, and designing unique gear for social movements. Their mission to give back is supported in part through collaborations with other Canadian community builders, such as Lululemon, Brewsters, and the Canadian Institute of Calgary.
“What shocked us was that not only do Canadians want to support Canadian-made, but organizations do as well; they wanted to source locally, and create garments that people were proud to wear and that they look good in. We have the ability to make it here, we just need people to support us.”