Winter apparel brandCanada Goose sells its signature parkas in over 50 countries, but makes them in just one. And the company’s domestic manufacturing presence increased significantly today with the formal opening of a second factory in Winnipeg.
The new facility is spread over 103,000 sq. ft., and will create at least 360 new jobs by March 2017, the company says. “As demand grows—and demand for our product has always exceeded supply—we’ve had to continue to build manufacturing capacity,” explains Canada Goose president and CEO Dani Reiss. The company’s revenue grew a staggering 699% in the period 2009–2014, earning it the #101 spot on the 2015 PROFIT 500 Ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies.
Winnipeg was the logical place for that new capacity, because of the company’s existing labour force initiatives in the area. “Skilled sewing labour is very difficult to find—it’s a trade that doesn’t exist to the extent that it used to,” Reiss says. “But we’ve partnered with the Government of Manitoba on great training programs, and worked together for the last few years at really being able to train people and get them up to speed at being able to manufacture jackets as complicated as ours.”
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Canadian manufacturing isn’t exactly on the ups at the moment, with multinationals moving production elsewhere in their global supply chains and smaller outfits outsourcing overseas. Reiss acknowledges that many apparel brands are now factoring offshore. But “Made in Canada” is critical to Canada Goose’s brand. “They say it’s more expensive to produce stuff here [but] we feel that we make a better product, and a product with a soul,” he says.
The production from the new facility will be sold primarily into international markets. Reiss says the United States will be Canada Goose’s biggest market for the first time every this year. The company recently launched an ambitious new advertising campaign built around a short film from Crash director Paul Haggis. The five-minute video features five adventurers braving the elements in Canada Goose parkas.
Reiss explains the campaign using that modern branding buzzword: authenticity. “I think a lot of brands today don’t have much substance to them—all they really have is a logo on a piece of clothing with some kind of marketing story,” says Reiss. “In our case, we don’t just put logos on clothing, we have a real story to tell and our product is really born out of function.”
With the new expansion, “Made in Winnipeg” is set to be an even bigger part of that story going forward.
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What do you think of Canada Goose’s expansion plans? Do you still manufacture your products domestically? Let us know by commenting below.