The idea for the Ontario Clothing Company was sparked during Ryan Quinlan’s long drives along Highway 17 between Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury. The 3-hour trips gave him time to think about launching an apparel company that reflects lifestyles across the province. He bounced the concept off his co-workers at the Algoma Steel and they convinced him to run with it.
Quinlan approached high school friends Paul Maley and Liam Plourde-Kelly about his vision. At first Maley was skeptical because there are a lot of clothing brands out there and he was concerned that they would not stand out. He said, “Ryan and I talked about the idea over a several week period and I changed my mind about it when I realized there was no brand out there that truly represented everything that makes this province so special.”
Each of the men always dreamed of having their own business. So, after careful planning, in July of 2020, they officially incorporated the company, and it was launched softly with sales being made to friends and family for the better part of the year. In June of 2021, almost one year later, the company officially launched to the public with the release of their online store.
Bringing Lifestyles Together
All three business partners’ vision was to offer an apparel line that would appeal to people across Ontario, from small towns to big cities; clothing that would be as practical for a day at the camp as it would be for a night on the town. Their tag line is Bringing Lifestyles Together.
From hats and toques to sweaters and pants the Ontario Clothing Company website features items that are comfortable, resilient and will last for a long time. Maley said, “We recently launched the Weekend Warrior hoodie and it’s been our number one selling item. People have given us really good feedback on the product, and we are always open to feedback, do not hesitate to send us a message.”
Selling at Outfitters SSM
The three business partners have been successful at boosting their brand awareness. Sales are trending upward, and they’ve generated interest from brick-and-mortar retail stores as well. Tony Porco, owner of Outfitters Sault Ste. Marie was intrigued by their story. Maley said, “Tony told us that our apparel would fit well with their brand being a store that appeals to outdoor enthusiasts. The next thing you know, we reached a deal, and if you’re looking for Ontario Clothing Company products, you can find them there.”
Outfitters SSM was the first successful retail deal, Source for Sports in North Bay was the second. Maley said, “Source for Sports contacted us and said can we get you guys in our store? We really like the idea behind the brand and believe it would look perfect on our shelves.”
The three partners are keeping themselves busy establishing business partnerships with wineries, breweries, and athletes. More details on various promotions will be announced soon on their social media channels. They’re also giving back to the community. Proceeds from their August sales were donated to the Indian Residential School Survivors’ Society.
Business has been good Maley said. “We’re doing well because we’re getting steady orders every week.” The Ontario Clothing Company has introduced its first line of Canadian-made toques. It’s a popular seller that is nearly sold out.
The Ontario Clothing Company partners want to stay true to their vision and their brand. Their goal is to have a clothing line that is entirely made in Canada. Their dream is to one day have a clothing line entirely made in Ontario.
Visit their store at www.ontarioclothingcompany.ca.