Sherlock Clothing Expanding ‘Envy + Grace’ Banner with Focus on Ontario Stores [Interview]

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Sherlock Clothing, with its roots in Atlantic Canada, is in expansion mode these days with plans to continue growing its business, particularly in Ontario.

The retailer has under its umbrella three different brands – Envy + Grace, PSEUDIO and Samuel & Co. 

“We’re a husband and wife duo. I started Envy 22 years ago but about five years sold it to my husband with his company so that we could expand,” said Nancy Holmes. “Sherlock Clothing is a company my husband (Glen) started 38 years ago.

Image: envy+grace
Image: envy+grace

“Sherlock started with the PSEUDIO store concept 38 years ago. About five years ago it purchased Envy from my company which was Samuel & Co. apparel. At the time, I only owned nine Envy stores when I sold it to my husband. Now there are 16 Envy stores opened with a couple more on the horizon.

“The concept became Envy + Grace when we decided to expand into Ontario. So it was Envy on the east coast for 22 years and then we opened a store in Kelowna, BC, and we were unable to get the trade name Envy in British Columbia, somebody else had already owned it, so we came up with the name Grace who is named after my grandmother and we had eight Envy’s and one Grace. So when we decided to open in Ontario we thought we would marry the two together and become Envy + Grace. Our first Ontario store opened in November of last year.”

All stores are now branded as Envy + Grace. PSEUDIO currently has 33 stores open today and Samuel & Co., which is strictly east coast, has nine. PSEUDIO is located in Atlantic Canada, Ontario and Alberta.

Image: Pseudio

“Envy grew out of Samuel & Co. because Samuel & Co. is a very mature brand. It targets more the career and I wanted to have a fun, fashion forward branded store. So that’s how that started. We’ve remained that. We’re always on the hunt for whatever current trends are, whatever the girls are looking at on social media, the looks that females aspire to be,” said Holmes. “We have a little bit of an edge. We have some romantic. We’ve got sexy. And then we still have like the cool, casual look. So basically Envy + Grace is just about what’s trendy, what a girl wants right now.

“PSEUDIO is unisex. That would be the biggest difference. It caters to more definitely a denim house. It carries a lot of branded fleece, branded apparel and dabbles in fashion where Envy would be just full on fashion. East Coast lifestyle is a massive thing down here. And actually does very well for us out west. Honestly, there’s so many transplants in Ontario that it’s got really good traction right across the country because it’s got such a big presence online . . . More of a casual brand than Envy would be. Casual with a little bit of fashion.

“Sam is your classic career and casual. She’s the girl who grew up, got a big girl job, maybe pushing a baby stroller, or the 50-year-old that is traveling a lot and is looking for just stylish, good quality clothing.”

Holmes said continued growth is expected with the Envy + Grace and PSEUDIO brands. 

“We bit off quite a bit in one year by opening up that many stores in Ontario. Considering we only opened in November (2021) and it’s September, we opened 16 stores in the past year. For Envy + Grace, eight have opened in Ontario in the past year . . . We’re super excited to be part of Ontario, the reaction has been fantastic. The fashion girl is loving us. We couldn’t be happier. 

“It’s been very exciting, it’s been very hectic. We are very optimistic with business going forward. The pandemic, while it was a terrifying time for retail, looking back it allowed us to take stock more of our business. Dial in better with our product mix, who our customer is, refine the business and has been very solid.”

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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