The Sherwood Park News, August 13, 2010
View this article on The Sherwood Park News' website
A Sherwood Park company is sticking to its guns, with the owners refusing to adjust their business model and give into larger companies.
TerraFrog Clothing Corp., run by sisters Cori and Bobbi Windsor, both of Sherwood Park, is expanding to Kinespirit Studios in New York.
TerraFrog, which designs high quality yoga and athletic wear, doesn't have a conventional manufacturing model though.
According to Cori Windsor, most companies accept orders placed by retailers around six months prior to a season, and then the company will decide on the number of garments produced based on the number of orders.
TerraFrog produces a limited amount of garments and then send out the order forms to retailers, with sales being based on a first come, first serve basis.
Windsor said that they aren't going to change their current business model in order to satisfy a growing demand for their product, no matter how exciting it might be.
"With the chain in New York, it's very exciting and it's great for us," Windsor said. "But we're not going to increase the amount we make, so it's still on a first come, first serve basis. So New York might not get everything they want."
This risk is actually something that Windsor said interested the New York client. He believed Americans would like the fact that they are wearing something different than others due to the limited supply.
But the sisters' decision on how to run the business and starting the business came hand in hand, as they felt the public needed something new and different from Canada.
"We were getting tired, everywhere you looked, everyone was wearing the same thing," Windsor said. "There are brands out there that started out, through brand awareness, marketing that they were made in Canada, and then a lot of people jumped on the brands and then they all the sudden switched and outsourced overseas."
"We felt there was a need to have something that was made in Canada, but made in limited quantities."
Windsor said that they wanted to avoid mass-manufactured wear so that not everybody would wear the same clothing, and to make sure it would stay stationed in Canada.
The sisters also place a high emphasis on conserving the environment, which is another reason for not outsourcing their production.
According to Windsor, using the services of, and obtaining supplies from, Canadian businesses reduces the environmental impact from importing.
The company also purchases wind energy, has stated environmental policies, and donates to environmental programs throughout the country.
Windsor also believes that the company being ran out of Canada provides a necessary support to the local economy.
While their business has boomed since starting only two years ago, when TerraFrog was first thought up, retail sales weren't even in the sisters' sights.
"Our plan was not to do retail sales at all for the first four years," Windsor said. "We were going to stick with an online model and feel our way around the industry and just get confident with our plan and our product."
Things don't always go as planned though, and this time, it was a good thing.
Within two weeks of clothing first coming off the factory line, retailers were approaching the Windsors, causing them to come up with a new business model.
Because she didn't expect to even be in retail stores at this point, Windsor was surprised to be approached by Kinespirit Studios.
"We didn't even think we'd have retailers two years in, let alone be all across Canada and then have New York calling us," Windsor said. "So this is really exciting, but a little bit scary at the same time."
Scary as it may be, it only foreshadows what Windsor hopes to be the future of TerraFrog.
"What we'd like to see is to definitely increase our number of retailers, and expand further into the U.S., and maybe into Europe," she said. "We've had calls from Europe."
Still, even if the company expands on an larger international scale, Windsor said that the number of pieces made wouldn't increase, sticking to the limited production amount. Instead, Windsor hopes that they will come out with new styles and sizes, and apply the same manufacturing model to their new inventory.
TerraFrog, which is distributed across the country, has been profiled on the Rachel Ray Show and Live with Regis and Kelly, and in publications such as Pilates Style and Natural Health.
Article ID# 2710656
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