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Iconic Canadian Brand Tilley Opens 1st Store Under Leadership of Joe Mimran [Interview/Photos]

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Iconic Canadian retail brand Tilley, known for its signature outdoor adventure hats, continues to evolve its concept with the opening of its first store under the leadership of well-known designer and entrepreneur Joe Mimran.

The new 1,500-square-foot store at 61 Ossington Avenue in Toronto brings Tilley to the next generation of Canadians.

The new location marks the first store opening under a new ownership led by Mimran, who has taken an active role in expanding the iconic safari product line, while reinvigorating the brand. 

“Tilley is an iconic lifestyle brand that proves fashion and sustainability can coexist. A Tilley hat is more than simply a lightweight, practical, durable, reliable, stylish travel essential. It’s a piece of fashion history on your head,” he said. 

Tilley at 61 Ossington Ave in Toronto (Image: Tilley)

“The opening of this first reimagined store brings to life The World of Tilley in a way we simply couldn’t do in other retail channels. 

“We don’t consider this a short-term journey. As consumers increasingly demand ‘no-compromise brands’ that are authentic and sustainable and ethical and fashionable and a good value, we believe Tilley has a home in everyone’s closet. And we look forward to having everyone come on the journey with us.”

Mimran today controls the company with his business partner Frank Rocchetti. The partnership took over the leadership about two years ago and began implementing changes to the brand.

“They’re pretty exciting changes for the company itself and for the brand,” said Mimran.

Tilley at 61 Ossington Ave in Toronto (Image: Tilley)

What began with a single hat in 1980, has expanded into mens, womens, and kids outerwear, apparel, and headwear, that marry form and function – high-performance materials and features, crafted into beautiful collections with character.

“This is the first Tilley store. All of the old Tilley stores have been closed down and this is the first of the renewed brand, the remastered Tilley brand. This is quite important,” said Mimran. “Even though it’s a neighbourhoood store on Ossington which is a very hot street here in Toronto and shopping centre, this is really the first look that people will have of the store.

“But we sell across Canada and the United States, UK, Australia now. We opened up Australia. And we sell in France, we sell in Spain, we sell in Germany. We have thousands of doors that we sell but this will be the first freestanding Tilley store.”

Tilley Pop-up at Yorkdale (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

Expansive windows and greenery invite shoppers in, and custom fixturing and Canadian Oak paneling create a beautiful backdrop to discover (and touch and try-on) merino, cashmere, canvas, cotton twills, technical materials, and more.

“We wanted to show the change in direction of the brand by putting it on what I consider to be an Indie street. It’s where a lot of fresh, new brands that come into the market want to hit a particular type of consumer. And it’s a street that I believe you get a certain level of credibility by being there,” said Mimran.

“It reminds me of the early days of Queen Street when I put the first Club Monaco on Queen Street way back when. It has that same kind of vibe to it. That was really what we wanted to signal to the market, that there’s this new fresh approach to the brand without taking out all of the great heritage that had been built into the brand.

“The company has been known essentially for its adventure hat . . . It’s usually worn hiking, fishing, and safari. And it has a very traditional appeal to an outdoor customer. It’s an incredibly well made product that’s guaranteed for life. But essentially that was sort of the entire business for the last 10 years. We wanted to extend that into apparel. We wanted to extend it into a winter product. It’s crazy that a Canadian company, hat company, is known for sun protection with no real winter offering to speak of. So we have amped up all of the winter offering on hats. We have introduced just a tremendous amount of apparel. We do a complete trek line. We do technical fabrics in travel type of apparel. So more fashionable but still all very functional and very outdoor inspired. This spring we’re introducing a golf line.”

Tilley Pop-up at Yorkdale Shopping Centre (Image: Tilley)

He said 70 to 80 per cent of the products are made from recycled materials or organic materials.

The brand has also just opened a pop-up location at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre. 

“With the importance of omni-channel, we think that the stores will continue to be an important part of the growth of the brand,” added Mimran.

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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