Bear+Fox owner Erica Marchand is a strong woman with a bold vision. Based out of Embro, ON, she believes in creating apparel that is fiercely supportive of its Canadian roots, and as cozy as a warm cup of cocoa. Created with the utmost quality and care, her products are made to last through any adventure you may embark on.
Inspired by the heart behind this company, and the quality of the products, Maturing Mama asked Erica about her very unique company.
“I had a successful side hustle creating custom tee shirts. Mostly for birth announcements, bachelorettes, things like that. And I LOVED it. I loved the creative process, designing and innovating. It was the perfect side hustle. It generated some income for my family and gave me a creative outlet. I am a pretty creative person by nature.
After the birth of my son, I started to realize how much time my side hustle was taking away from my family – my whole reason for doing it.
I also had my products in a local shop. One day when I was in there, I realized I couldn’t tell how people were able to differentiate between my product and any other. Maybe it was slightly selfish, or vain, but I wanted people to know they were wearing a Critter’s Creation, not a so-and-so creation.
Late one night, or early one morning (depending on your perspective, but either way it was some ungodly hour of the night), I was feeding my son and started to dream up an idea.
Maybe I could create a clothing line that had the same image printed on everything. It would save me the design aspect (and time). Then I would have more time with my family.
I could even pay someone to press the clothing because I wanted quality products. I had several situations where some of my vinyl pressed shirts were sent back because the vinyl was peeling. So outsourcing the job would ensure quality, and again free up some time with my loved ones.
And thus, the idea for Bear+Fox was born!
Creating the bear and fox images that we use was all trial and error. After some experience with the production side of things (anyone with a Cricut will know what I mean when I say – after spending some time in Weeding Hell, you start to pick and choose your projects based on how much torture it will be to weed). I wanted something simple. Nothing wild and crazy. Although many would argue my personality is wild and crazy, my actual style is very laid back. And that’s what I wanted for my apparel. Something you can wear to the cottage, hunting, camping, fishing, farmers market – anywhere! I wanted everything comfortable and livable.
I feel strongly about paying people who are good at things you are not. So I outsourced my logo to another local business, The Social Factory. Not only was Alyssa a total dream to work with, but she completely understood what I was looking for. I sent her some ideas and she came back to me with 6 logos. The geometric heads were an automatic “Hell Yes” from me. It was crisp, clean, eye catching, and gender neutral. I envisioned it on sweaters, tees, and I fell in love.
I am a strong believer in bouncing ideas. From the beginning of Bear+Fox, I was bouncing this idea off of my Tribe – my girls that give it to me straight. They know me better than I know myself (seriously, they knew I was pregnant before I even knew). I would design up some options for what I would wear and they helped me from there. Without them, I would still be designing shirts and overthinking everything!
When I was pressing my own clothes, I was using HTV (heat transfer vinyl) which is not amazing quality. It actually caused me some stress because I never wanted my product to be second rate. If I was charging people for my services, I needed it to be of the highest quality.
I outsource my Bear+Fox printing to a local company who screen prints and embroiders my products. They are extremely high quality. No shrinking, no peeling, and minimal fading.
When I was pressing my clothing, I always told my clients to hand wash and hang to dry. With Bear+Fox I have no worries. I wear my clothing hard. Hunting trips. Cottage adventures. Chasing children. Bear+Fox holds true.
I wanted my business to be 100% Canadian. The only issue, that is VERY pricey. As a small biz, I just couldn’t afford to do that. So I settled on a Canadian company, but the products are made overseas. My printing and embroidery are all done locally. Although I do have some 100% Canadian products in my store (the Canuck Christmas Sweater).
Bear+Fox is initially named after my children. When I was pregnant with my daughter, we didn’t know if I was having a boy or a girl (one of life’s fun surprises). So we lovingly called her The Cub. Anyone who knows me, knows that a mama bear suits my personality – fiercely loyal and protective of my loved ones. When my son was born, we named him Freddie, and very naturally he was gifted fox things. So, instead of naming my small biz Lo+Co, I opted for Bear+Fox.
Naming a company after your children isn’t anything original. I can think of a handful of local brands that did just that. I wanted my brand to have multiple layers in the namesake. And Bear+Fox fully nails that for me. It also pays homage to my hunting/trapping/fishing heritage, as well as my Canadian heritage. All my clothing have a Canadian spin to them, so naming the company after two of Canada’s wildlife goes right along with the overall vibe.
I have only been in business for 9 months, and I have done over 530 orders. I can only hope that as my small biz grows, I will eventually be able to source my clothing to be 100% Canadian.
I want my consumers to feel excellent in my apparel. This is why I created it to be casual and cozy. Something you can live in and make memories in. Bear+Fox has been to Fredericton, Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec, Disney World, Timmins, Ohio, Camping, Fishing – everywhere!
Bear+Fox Apparel – It’s like driving and crossing the county line and knowing you’re home. It’s the crisp outdoor air. It’s jumping off a dock into a lake. It’s a hot coffee in a cold arena. It’s sitting around a campfire. It’s belting out The Hip, The Trews, Arkells, and Alanis. It’s toonies + loonies and nickels + dimes. It’s a plaid shirt. It’s hockey. It’s the red, white + you. It’s eh. It’s wildly local + small town proud.”
You can find all of our products at: Bear And Fox Apparel.
Use promo code: “mama” for a one time 10% discount, good until December 31st, 2020.