Edmonton businesses collaborate for a cause

By Michelle Ferguson February 15, 2019

Last spring, we wrote about the city’s culture of collaboration. From beer soaps to gin and peppercorn truffles, we highlighted over a dozen unique, hyper-local offerings that resulted from local mashups

As we update our list of collabs, we wanted to highlight a particularly heartwarming trend: businesses that are teaming up to support local causes. These Edmonton Made companies are bettering the city one sweater, pendant and little black jumpsuit at a time.

Gus Sloan & Sweet {Jolie}: The Love Yourself Gus Sloan LBJ

For the past four years, boutique owner Nicole Rice has dedicated the month of February to empowering women through a campaign called Love Yourself. Not only does a portion of all sales go to an organization supporting young girls (this year’s charity is the Big Brothers Big Sisters Foundation of Edmonton and Area), but Rice partners with female entrepreneurs to create items that promote self-love.

“In February, a lot of women look for validation elsewhere,” says Rice. “We wanted to show women that they could do that for themselves.”

This year’s feature garment is a match made in heaven. Sweet {Jolie} partnered with Gus Sloan, an emerging label that aims to promote self-love and confidence through fashion, to create a custom-made little black jumpsuit. The Love Yourself Gus Sloan LBJ has words of affirmation stitched into the back to remind women they are strong and beautiful.

Justine Ma & Mini Street Kidswear: The Be Kind Sweater

Milan Wilkinson and Justine Ma combined their talents to create an ultra-soft bamboo sweater with an important message. The Be Kind Sweater was created to support Pink Shirt Day, a global anti-bullying movement that was started in small-town Nova Scotia. It is designed and handsewn by the team at Mini Street Kidswear and features Ma’s beautiful hand lettering.

As moms to young children, both entrepreneurs wanted to amplify the importance of being kind to one another.

A portion of the sales — $10 from each kids’ sweater and $20 from each adult sweater — will be donated to the Kindness Club at Grovenor School, a new student-led initiative aimed at spreading love throughout the school and the community. This year, Pink Shirt Day falls on Feb. 27, 2019.

Farm Wife Style & Blake Loates: The Blake Pendant

Each piece of Farm Wife Style jewelry is named and designed for a woman in Kim Ducherer’s life. The Blake Pendant (featured in the 2018 edition of Gifted, Edmonton Made’s annual gift catalogue) is no different. It was named after Edmonton-based photographer and mental health advocate Blake Loates.

Having struggled with postpartum depression, Ducherer admired her friend’s efforts to destigmatize mental illness through her foundation We All Believe in You. The gold-plated pendant features the Canadian Mental Health Association colours of blue and green.

Five dollars from the sale of each necklace goes to the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation in support of WABIY. Loates has been working with the foundation to create a 24/7 access centre for addiction and mental health services.

Other collabs for a cause

This holiday season Williamraedesigns teamed up with local calligraphy artist Kelly Creates to create a series of wooden signs that promote reading. Together they raised $2,500 for the Centre for Family Literacy.

Duval collaborated with Msichana, an Edmonton clothing brand that empowers women affected by poverty in Uganda, to create a limited run of Meraki Cross Body purses featuring Msichana's vibrant African patterns.

Every month Glow Juicery hosts a Food Fight. Two competitors create delicious salads at the Old Strathcona location and whoever sells the most gets to donate a portion of sales to their charity of choice. March will pit Jen Neilson of Iron Hide Woodworks against Shara Vigeant from SPVT Fitness & Athletics.

Be Kind Sweater - Blur

Collaborations are a big part of what makes Edmonton a unique place to start and grow a business. We'll be highlighting this trend through an ongoing series. Want to be featured in an upcoming collab story? Tag #yegcollabs or email made@edmonton.com.

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