And it’s a great story, this Canadian ethically made story. This story started in another time, certainly a slower time, when the words fast fashion and saving the environment may not even have existed. I’d like to believe that it started with a dreamy slow boating trip (yes, that means oars not a motor) on one equally dreamy sunny afternoon on an even more dreamy lake in the quaint village of North Hatley, Canada.
Dressed in a light summer dress that fluttered in the breeze, Alice Oldland gazed at the beauty around her as she dragged her toe in the water. Her husband, John calmly handled the oars, as they chatted about what to do with the rest of their day. Alice would paint for sure, like she did every afternoon. Today, she would paint a cow.
A few afternoons later, John gazed thoughtfully at Alice’s paintings that were held so dear in Alice’s gift shop called The Little Blue House. In particular her cow designs caught his eye and with a spark of an idea and a skip (get it skip…yes, me funny) in his step, he decided to silkscreen those cows on aprons and sell them in their little shop. You know it to be true. Those aprons went viral. They quickly turned this cottage business into the company Hatley, Never has a story been so wonderfully Canadiana and so timely as we celebrate this beautiful country we call home, as we celebrate the 150th birthday of Canada.
It started with a cow, then a pig, and other farm animals, which gave birth to the mighty moose and the even mightier bear. It started with aprons that, years later led to providing the world with gifts and clothing. It’s not surprising that after many years of building this beautiful company, Alice and John realized they wanted more lazy afternoons on their beloved lake, so they happily handed the reins over to their three sons,
Those boys ran with it all with great zeal, breathless with excitement and determination. They did not disappoint as they quickly transformed and grew the company to what it is today. They developed an extensive children’s line, created comfy and on trend women’s and men’s fashion and expanded into the gift market with napkins, kitchen textiles, mugs and much, much more. They created a treasured Canadian company and we are so glad!
I sit here with puffed out pride in my own beloved Hatley dog design pyjamas (which I’ve had for a billion years and they still look like new only softer), that we feature this much-loved Canadian brand, whose mission is to create fun, well designed, nature-inspired apparel and gifts for the whole family in an ecologically responsible way.
After some soul searching, a few well-intentioned ‘green’ initiatives and some consulting fees, Hatley feels that they have figured out what Hatley and the environment is all about – quality. This is the key factor because it means that the products Hatley make are designed to last. Your PJs will make it to child number three, four and more. You won’t get tired of laughing at a pair of boxers and your raincoat won’t leak. A Hatley product will always have a place in your home and not in a dumpster.
When Hatley designs a product they try and ensure their designs are made from natural fibers, in an environmentally sensitive way and at a facility that shares their values. They visit all the factories involved in making Hatley products. They make it a priority to understand the manufacturing processes, get to know the owners and develop meaningful relationships based on trust.
Their green policy is less about any one thing and more about making thoughtful decisions every day.
Hatley designs are now sold around the world, and the three boys continue to ensure that Hatley stands for the same principles on which it started: family, good design, quality, social awareness, environmental awareness and of course, loads of laughs. Hand to heart. Emoji heart eyes. Love this whole family to bits.