The power of “Made in Canada”

Canada Goose benefits from sharing a brand with a country that knows cold. PLUS: why a three-star Michelin chef is trying to give up his ranking

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The power of “Made in Canada”

Canada Goose has become an unlikely fashion icon in recent years, equally beloved by Arctic scientists and Hollywood starlets alike—even making a memorable appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated. An anti-fashion fashion brand, Canada Goose has made a virtue of its utilitarian looks, not to mention its identification with Canada, where all its jackets are still made. The brand association with the Great White North turns out to have been worth more than the labour cost savings that could have been had by moving production offshore:

In the early 2000s, when other Canadian companies like Roots and Arc’teryx moved production to Asia chasing cheap labour and higher profit margins, [CEO Dani] Reiss decided to be the exception. As the company grew, Canada’s dearth of skilled sewers provided yet more reason to consider relocation. Instead, Reiss launched sewing schools—first Winnipeg and now in Toronto and Montreal as well. Today he is proud to directly employ more than 2,000 Canadian workers, and it’s more than just an exercise in good karma. “We have a great legacy of craftsmanship, of being made here in Canada, and we felt that was an asset worth protecting.”

Link: Canadian Business

A Michelin star fizzles out

Sébastien Bras is in an enviable position: the acclaimed French chef has three Michelin stars, an incomparable mark of achievement in the restaurant business. Michelin has called the food at his restaurant, Le Suquet, “spellbinding,” and as a result he can count on a full house night after night, the dream of nearly any chef. But it’s also proved to be an enormous source of stress. To try to regain the freedom that allowed him to make such transcendent cuisine in the first place, Bras has become the first Michelin-starred chef to ask to drop his stars:

He said his job had given him a lot of satisfaction but there was also huge pressure that was inevitably linked to the three Michelin stars first given to the restaurant in 1999. He asked to be allowed to continue his work with a free spirit and in serenity away from the world of rankings, without tension. He said he wanted to be dropped from the guide from next year. Bras, who took over the family restaurant from his parents 10 years ago, later explained to AFP: “You’re inspected two or three times a year, you never know when. Every meal that goes out could be inspected. That means that, every day, one of the 500 meals that leaves the kitchen could be judged. “Maybe I will be less famous but I accept that,” he said, adding that he would continue to cook excellent local produce “without wondering whether my creations will appeal to Michelin’s inspectors”.

Link: YouTube

The most powerful playlist in music

Over the last few years, streaming music services like Spotify and Apple Music have quickly become the dominant way that fans discover and spread new music, and this shift has brought equally swift changes to the way hits get made. Unlike the impressionistic, Billboard-era lists of the top new music, streaming services provide down-to-the-second metrics on what tracks are getting the most plays, giving a clearer picture than ever of when a song is connecting with audiences and when it’s falling flat. Instead of the iconic DJs of the radio era, today’s tastemakers are those who curate the playlists, and the world’s biggest playlist is Spotify’s Rap Caviar—a continuously updated collection of the 50 hottest hip hop tracks. That playlist is controlled by one man:

[Tuma] Basa is the global programming head of hip-hop at Spotify, which puts him in charge of RapCaviar, a hand-picked, 50-song grouping of, in Basa’s estimation, the very best new hip-hop songs. “RapCaviar reminds me of Hot 97 in the early ’90s,” says Joie Manda, executive VP at Interscope Geffen A&M Records, referring to the powerful NYC radio station. “When Hot 97 played ‘Protect Ya Neck’ by the Wu-Tang Clan, that was it. It went all over the country. RapCaviar has that influence right now. A song goes in RapCaviar and everyone pays attention. And lucky for us, Tuma’s an expert. He knows what kids want.”

Link: Vulture

WATCH: The four stages of design

In the early ’80s, Apple Computer had a peripheral product called a mouse that was going to come attached to its Lisa line of computers. But existing mouse prototypes were incredibly expensive to produce, clocking in at nearly $200 each. Apple turned to a then-new design firm called IDEO, and gave it a creative brief that was simple in one sense, and devilishly complex in another: reduce the wholesale price of a computer mouse from $200 to less than $30. We know how that turned out: the mouse became one of the dominant user interface tools of the late 20th century. In this short video, Tim Brown, IDEO’s CEO and president, explains the company’s design process, which breaks down into four main steps: Observation, Ideation, Prototyping and Testing. Repeat that cycle a few times and you might just have something that changes the world. Or at least helps you click on it better.

Link: YouTube

Earnings reports today

Canadian publicly traded companies of note scheduled to report quarterly earnings today:

Fission Uranium (FCU)

Thanks for reading! Have a truly excellent day.