Novel Supply Co.
Where were you with your business before joining Factory45?
Novel Supply Co. was a distant dream. It stemmed from my passion for sustainability and clothing, which I honestly thought would never be able to co-exist. I had pondered the idea of starting a business but never thought it would be a reality until my friend stumbled across Factory45's website for a school project. She forwarded me the link and said, “This is so you!”
Tell us about your company.
Novel Supply Co. is minimalistic, casual and comfy apparel for the urban adventurer. The everyday guy or girl with that laid back style but likes to hit the trails on their days off. I have designed a crewneck sweatshirt, a tee and a muscle tank that fit both guys and girls. There are three separate options for the crew, tee and muscle tank:
1. no logo or graphic for the minimalist
2. with logo for the enthusiast
3. with featured artist graphic for the novelist
Local & Social: My line is designed and crafted right here in Vancouver where workers are paid fair wages and working in safe conditions.
Conscious Fabric: The fabric I am using is hemp and organic cotton. After having done a lot of research on sustainable fabrics, I realized that natural and organic was the way to go.
It doesn't shed tiny plastic fibres into our water systems and if it did ever end up in a landfill, it would biodegrade unlike synthetics. Hemp requires little water to grow and no pesticides or chemicals. Organic cotton is grown from non-genetically modified plants and is grown without pesticides or chemicals as well. I source my fabric from a company in the USA that uses mostly ocean freight shipping, which is the most environmentally-friendly way to ship goods from around the world.
Screen Printing & Natural Dyes: I am using water-based inks for screen printing and natural dyes to dye my garments.
How did joining Factory45 help you?
Factory45 answered all of my burning questions about this challenging industry. I thought that not having a background in design or fashion would hinder my ability to follow my true calling but Shannon assured me it wouldn't.
Although there are a lot of naysayers out there, I have managed to create my brand, source fabrics, find a pattern and sample maker (locally) and find a manufacturer (locally). These are things that never would have been possible had it not been for Shannon's lessons, connections, calls and ongoing support.
She's helped me start my business, been my guiding light and I always felt like she had ample time for my questions and for me.
What were some big or small milestones that you hit after going through Factory45?
One of the major milestones I hit after Factory45 was securing a manufacturer. It might sound like an easy task but I live in Vancouver, Canada, and finding a manufacturer locally was nearly impossible. There aren’t a lot of manufacturers here and the ones that do exist, have clients lined up out the door to work with them. I was lucky that my pattern maker had scaled up her production to include manufacturing and agreed to take me on even though I was a small fry.
Another milestone was shooting and finishing my Kickstarter video. It was a long two days at 10 different set locations and a lot of editing but the end product was more than I could have asked for. The key was working with a few other entrepreneurs who were just starting their own production company so we could mutually benefit from the experience. They gained some experience and something to add to their portfolios and I got a rad video that didn't cost me an arm and a leg.
My final and biggest milestone had to be hitting my Kickstarter goal two days before the end of my campaign. Throughout the campaign, I worked every day to boost my backers, writing and sending out media releases, creating social media content and marketing my butt off to make it happen. Hitting that goal was the biggest achievement in my life and in that moment, all the hard work paid off.
Describe your business after Factory45.
After Factory45, I feel like I have a greater understanding of the industry and I don’t feel like I am in it alone.
I always have the support system of my cohort and Shannon herself and I know I can always count on them listen, share wins and challenges and keep me on track. I have a solid foundation for the future. It definitely isn’t easy and the hustle is real but without Factory45, I never would have had the confidence to take the plunge to launch a Kickstarter to start my own business. For that, I am grateful.