You may have noticed we often sign off on our notes as “♡ J&J.” It’s about time we formally introduced ourselves!
Hi! I’m Jess and this is my partner, Julian. We make up "J&J" and are the owners of Free Label. We started the company together in the summer of 2015. At that time I was the buyer for a Canadian-made active wear boutique in Toronto and Julian was working in marketing at a bank. I had a lot of trouble finding great quality and flattering active essentials that were also made ethically in Canada. The solution? We decided to make them ourselves.
Julian and I researched the best factories in Toronto, pooled our paychecks together, and set out on designing a single perfect tank. After a few months of sampling, choosing eco-friendly fabrics, and finalizing trims, the Betty Tank was born (named after my mom for the number of times she drove us to and from the factory that summer – thanks mom!). We took the leap and spent all of our savings to make 120 White Betty Tanks and 120 Black Betty Tanks. It sure was scary, but luckily the risk paid off. Betty Tanks flew off the racks at the boutique, and soon other boutiques started reaching out to stock the top. To our happy surprise, there was a whole wack of people who wanted the same things as us: quality easy-to-wear, and ethically made clothes. And so Free Label was born.
Since that first season of just one tank in two colours, Free Label has moved to Vancouver and grown the collection to include pants, t-shirts, sweaters, dresses and even a best-selling bra (Andie Bra shoutout!). The brand is now stocked at over 30 amazing boutiques and stores across North America, and as of December 2017, I left my full time job to pursue Free Label whole-heartedly. It’s a terrifying risk, but I believe that you cannot make a big splash without a big jump. With more time committed to Free Label, I hope we can further contribute to an ethical shift in the fashion industry.
Some of the projects we are working on for 2018 include introducing: a wider range of sizes, body diversity in our product photography, a menswear capsule (men want conscious clothing too!) and meaningful blog posts on topics such as minimalism, healthy living, capsule wardrobing, ethical fashion and more. One great benefit of being a small business is that our customers’ voices have a great echo in the choices we make. So, if there is something you would like to see from us, please email us or comment your thoughts below and we will genuinely take them into consideration! On behalf of Julian and I, we look forward to sharing more of ourselves and our company with you this year.