Well, that went well.
Posted: Nov 30 2014
One week ago we launched Kent Street Apparel at a small gathering of friends and family in my Mount Pleasant (Vancouver) apartment. After a few locally brewed beers and sharing of best wishes we gathered around a laptop and made the first official Facebook post. That was our launch. No champagne bottles were smashed. No fancy event organized by an expensive PR firm.
It was a modest affair with close friends -- and it felt right.
My good friend Braeden Caley (right) and I at the launch party.
Since Kent Street went 'live' the outpouring of support from friends, and many strangers, has been absolutely phenomenal. Lots of people seems to really love what we’ve created. Here’s a sample of the kind words we’ve heard so far:
“Way to go guys! Love the very Vancouver style!” -- Crystal Blais
“Everything looks awesome! And I love where you are taking it with the throw backs. It's so great!!” -- Laura Ayotte
“More than just beautiful leather satchels for your everyday. Add some depth with a timeless watch and a splash of colour to those dark rainy days with a ‘Merde Il Pleut’ umbrella. Congrats Kent Street!” -- Blogger, Cindy Nguyen
Not to get too into the sales, but we’ve already sold all of our cheeky & charming ‘Merde Il Pleut’ umbrellas and had to arrange a rush second shipment. We thought the first order was going to last us through Christmas...it lasted four days. The Cordova distressed leather satchel is the second hottest seller.
Then on Friday VancityBuzz -- a hyper popular local social media site -- featured the launch of Kent Street Apparel in a post that generated lots of social media love. As of this morning the post had been shared 300 times on Facebook, and the numbers are still climbing!
I started Kent Street on a shoestring budget and with almost no connections in the apparel or entrepreneur community. I've also never started a company before. There are moments of self-doubt, and uncertainty about 'best' decisions (mostly little things around presentation). For example, what kind of photos should I be posting to Instagram? Can some be Vancouver specific? How much should I include our personal lives and personal experiences? I don’t really know. Right now I'm going with what feels right and what feels consistent with the Kent Street ethos and style. At some point soon we'll need to map all that kind of stuff out.
Whatever happens in the weeks and months ahead I feel really good about what we’ve created. It feels special.
My deepest gratitude to all the people who helped build the vision into reality:
Darian Hocking (The Field Office) who designed the charming logo & brand materials;
Stuart Hobday who designed the phenomenal website;
Greg Geipel (Geipel Photography) who took the beautiful product photos & some of the lifestyle images, &
Michael J.P. Hall (Framwerk Photography) who perfectly captured the essence of Kent Street through many of the lifestyle images.
Finally, I want to thank all my friends and family for all their support, encouragement, and love. You have no idea how inspiring you've all been. It means a lot, thank you.
Here’s to the little engine that could.
Founder & Shopkeeper
p.s. At the launch event we served a cold brew coffee by Vancouver-based Notch Coffee -- that's owned and operated by longtime friend Mike Rocksborough-Smith. It was a big hit!
p.p.s. Here's the Kent Street Playlist we curated for the party.