Huntsville-Based Wolfe Co. Expands with New Store, Wholesale Program, and Upcoming Sister Brand [Interview]

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Canadian based clothing brand, Wolfe Co., is going to be adding more locations in Canada, has a new wholesale program, and is in the process of developing a new sister brand.

The brand opened its first flagship store in 2021 in Huntsville. Consumers can find a variety of Canadian made products and Brit Powell, the founder and CEO of Wolfe Co., designs all products and has them made in Toronto or Vancouver. Everything from the stitches to the labels are made in Canada as staying local is important to the brand. Consumers can find a variety of clothing options for men, women, and children.

Almost two years after opening the flagship location in Huntsville, Powell has opened a second location in Muskoka in Minett, but as a pop-up location. The seasonal location is 400 square feet and opened last month and will remain open until Labour Day. Consumers can find its “newest and hottest” products.

Image: Wolfe Co.
Image: Wolfe Co.

“This year I jumped on opening another location and it has been exciting. It is nice to expand because as much as it is still in Muskoka – Muskoka is still a big place and there are a lot of cottagers. Muskoka’s Summer Experts, puts on a pop up village in two of their locations. They have Minett and they also have Port Carling. They basically have a collection of shipping containers that you can rent out for the summer season and it really took off a few years ago,” says Powell.

Along with the brand, Powell says consumers can find other retailers such as Waxon, Lululemon, Roots, and more.

New Wholesale Program Coming Soon

Image: Wolfe Co.

A few years ago, Powell said the company tried opening a wholesale program; however, due to the demand of being a small business – Powell had to put the brakes on. Fast forward to today, and Powell is ready to open the program across Canada and internationally.

“It was difficult as a startup to maintain a wholesale program in addition to trying to sell directly to consumers online and in-store. So we decided to dial it back and just focus on ourselves for a while, but now everything is pretty settled and we have a good collection of items that are here to stay now. So, we started building applications to retail stores across Canada and internationally and there has already been some interest, so it is exciting.”

Powell said she has been focused on Ontario for the past few years, and now she would like to move beyond, and now with the wholesale program she can expand. The program has already received applications from California, the West Coast of Canada, Ontario, and more are starting to roll in.

The earliest consumers will be able to see retailers carry its products will be Spring of 2024. Powell said she would like to see retailers in Toronto, Halifax, Victoria, and Vancouver carrying her products so she is keeping her eyes open for locations. Instead of big box stores, Powell said she is looking for independent retailers.

“We are looking for more independent small to medium sized retailers. We do not really want to get into big box stores at all. It just does not fit with the aesthetic or the brand’s values. So we are looking at stores that typically stock local, sustainable, and ethically produced high end brands – that is what we are going after.”

Powell said she decided to open the wholesale program as it is a perfect way to expand the brands presence without having to put any of their own resources into it.

Upcoming Sister Brand

Image: Wolfe Co Apparel (38 Main Street East. Huntsville, ON)

“Still fairly confidential, but what I can say is right now we are working on a sister brand for Wolfe Co. and the first few products are already in production – so we should be seeing that in the very near future.”

Powell said the sister brand will be focusing on menswear and a couple of the products will be available this upcoming Fall. The new brand will be focusing on using a lot of natural fibers, will be “very rugged in the same way that Wolf Co is already, but will be a lot earthier, neutral, and will have a lot of wool and linen cotton.”

The sister brand will have its own website and digital presence, but until those are ready, Powell said they will be rolling out the new products on the Wolfe Co. website.

Expansion Plans

Image: Wolfe Co.

Within the next five years, Powell says she is looking at expanding by adding a few more locations – either permanent or pop-up locations.

One pop-up location Powell says she is working on will be in Toronto.

“We are working on the possibility of another short term pop-up location in Toronto later in 2023, but I have not finalized any details yet. We have a lot of people up in Huntsville who are from the GTA, so it just makes sense to meet them where they are and try to see what our success would be like in a bigger city like Toronto.”

Powell says the pop-up location would be around November during the holiday season. As for other locations, Powell said she is keeping an eye out for locations in Nova Scotia and British Columbia.

Powell, along with nine other women, won the Visa grant for IFundWomen. This is the fifth year of the organization and Powell said the top ten recipients from 3,500 applicants across Canada, received grants of $10,000. The winners also receive memberships to different business organizations across Canada and a one year mentorship program through York University.

“It was a shock for sure. They held a big networking event, had an entrepreneurship panel, and a big catered party last week in Toronto, so it was very exciting. We got to showcase all of our products and connect with Visa executives so it was a great opportunity and has driven a lot of attention to the brand.”

Shelby Hautala
Shelby Hautala
Shelby Hautala, based in Toronto, is a new Journalist to Retail Insider. She has experience writing for local newspapers and also internationally for Helsinki Times while she lived in Finland. Shelby holds a Bachelor of Journalism Honours degree from the University of King’s College and a Social Work degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax.

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