Wear Your Label’s Sudden Success
Faced with the burden of sudden success, the Fredericton mental-health-focused clothing company Wear Your Label is hoping to hire a chief operating officer by December.
Wear Your Label designs and sells T-shirts, tank tops, leggings and sweaters that have sayings and designs on them that can create conversation around mental health. The wording is subtle and designed to create discussion rather than scream a message. They include such messages as “Sad but rad” and “It’s okay not to be okay.”
Though the company only started selling its clothing on its own ecommerce site in August 2014, Wear Your Label founders Kyle MacNevin and Kayley Reed have recently been featured in publications around the world, including The National Post and the websites of The Today Show and People Magazine.
The explosion of publicity led to a boom in sales, with 80 percent of the orders coming from export markets like the U.S., Australia and the Netherlands.
“We went from being a two-person company with 50 orders a week to still [being] a two-person company, but trying to manage a multinational business,” MacNevin said in an interview.
MacNevin said that both he and Reed call their mentors within the business and fashion world almost every day to ask for advice about their business procedures and creative processes.
To stop these constant calls, they want a COO to help manage things like production, distribution and legal issues. The COO needs to have more than 15 years’ experience in the fashion industry and a connection to mental health. The COO won’t need to relocate to Fredericton. With a bit of funding, Wear Your Label can offer the COO a competitive salary.
“We have a lot of hair-pulling moments, like, what are we doing?” MacNevin said. “Because we’re still two kids who started a clothing line.”
Wear Your Label, which went through the University of New Brunswick’s Summer Institute in 2014, will release a new collection in the fall. The collection will still contain the mental health messages that are on every piece of Wear Your Label clothing, but the messages will be subtler and the clothes will be edgier. This collection is aimed at people who want to wear Wear Your Label in more formal settings, like in the workplace or meeting the in-laws.
MacNevin and Reed plan to apply to the Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation, an 18-month accelerator that partners with Ryerson University’s Fashion Zone. Participants work on their business model and seek seed funding.
Wear Your Label already partners with the Canadian Association for Mental Health and the Jed Foundation, an American mental health not-for-profit that supports college students. Wear Your Label has plans to release new mental health campaigns and initiatives in September.
“Young people are becoming more demanding for having multifunctional purposes for the things that they buy,” MacNevin said. “My shirt can’t just be stylish anymore, it also has to do something for someone else.”