VICTORIA, British Columbia, May 14, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) After seventeen years, Canada’s purposeful goods-that-make-the-outside-better company, Sitka is renaming to demonstrate their commitment to durable clothing, sustainably produced in Canada. Driven by the team and customers, the name ecologyst was selected.
Since 2002, the company had grown and expanded to 125 wholesalers with production abroad, using petroleum-based products. With 37% of plastic waste in seas and rivers coming from clothing, this conflicted with the values of the company. In 2014, the company drew a line in the sand and brought production back to Canada and sought new fabrics and new partners to develop ethical, sustainable outdoor clothing and gear.
The focus was on new fabrics that were long-lasting, high-quality garments and in designs that people want to keep wearing. The team has pushed the limits of natural fibres; working with the Materials Engineering Department at UBC, to find better ways to recycle cotton more efficiently and turn it into new fibres.
The change in business model, ethical, local production, with sustainable fabrics, selling direct to the consumer didn’t just make sense for the planet, it made sense financially. Between 2017 and 2018, revenues grew 235%. The US outdoor recreation products industry is $185B (2017, Outdoor Industry Association - Outdoor Recreation Economy Report 2017) and sustainable clothing industry is $64B (2016, McKinsey & Company - State of Fashion 2017), suggesting there is a lot more market share that the company can go after, and seek to influence the overall $3.4T clothing industry (2017, McKinsey & Company - State of Fashion 2018).
Having changed so much in the business, it made sense to explore a name change to align with the values and purpose of the company. Driven by the team and the customers, ecologyst was chosen.
René Gauthier, Founder and CEO said, “The core of our brand has always been about fostering a deep connection to nature. In our early days, we did that by making surfboards. As we grew, we faced the reality of fashion’s disastrous impact on the environment—so we worked to eliminate plastics and petroleum from our product line. Today, we’re defining a different model—with natural materials, local factories and a new endeavour to make our community co-owners of our brand. We wanted to reflect our new way of doing business, plus our growth identified challenges as we moved into new geographies. ecologyst really reflects who we are, where we are going and how we want to get there.” Gauthier added, “We’re keeping the Sitka tree as our icon, it’s our heritage, but ecologyst is our future, it shows that growth and sustainability can co-exist.”
The company reached out to members of their loyal following to help with the name selection to communicate the new way of working. The company will be raising funds through crowd equity fundraising on FrontFundr to grow the business with a new e-commerce site, a new larger store in Whistler and to implement the name change. Yet another example that people and planet can be profitable, and that profit can be used for good.
ecologyst - the brand known & loved as Sitka - Canada’s west coast outdoor clothing and gear. Creating ethical apparel in Canada using sustainable or recycled fabrics and fibres with the latest technology and designs that are made to last. Part of 1% for the Planet. To keep up with ecologyst visit our Website www.sitka.ca or find us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Vimeo - here to leave it better than we found it.
We’re seeking co-owners, invest in ecologyst, all Canadians can head to FrontFundr for full details.
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