EDITION 01 // LOOK BACK, LEAP FORWARD // MARCH 01 2021
Welcome to the Optimist’s Outlook — a new quarterly communique from Kit and Ace that shares stories on how Optimism is coming to life through our products, exciting partnerships in our community, and other things that fuel our joy, including amazing initiatives that our team (and you) are up to. Edition 01 is dedicated to looking back at 2020, and giving you a sneak peek of what we’re up to this year! So, here we go…
IN 2020, WE TOOK A STAND
We declared our new Vision (to Amplify Optimism in the world), bringing it to life through all creative expression. This included featuring our staff (and our community) in a conversation called “My Optimism Is”, as well as the Notes of Optimism initiative that generated over 500 wonderful postcards sent between friends and over 1,000 social posts. Our new Vision also drove us to re-think how we show up visually, and to infuse all campaign photography and video with a playful, positive energy.
In 2020, we discovered what we already knew: that the drum that beats in all of us at Kit and Ace—the beat that brought us together—can build a bright future. This focus became our new springboard, motivating our people in the meaningful pursuit of creating Joy and Optimism. And this was a powerful thing (for all of us) during a year of uncertainty and challenges. It has brought us together, and inspired us to keep going.
“In 2020, We Discovered what we already knew - that the drum that beats in all of us at Kit and Ace, the beat that brought us together, can build a bright future."
IN 2020, WE EMBRACED GREEN
There’s so much work to be done here, and we’re really just at the beginning of our journey as we envision the impact we intend to make. Our approach to sustainability has always been “Longer lasting means less waste” — which we put into words in 2020 through our Made to Last promise. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out here
Our beloved Navigator Collection is bluesign® approved, made with fabrics that meet the highest environmental standards, and cutting out harmful chemicals before manufacturing starts. We're also very proud to launch our Recycled Ponte and KAmmuter Twill products. These fabrics use recycled plastics, reducing landfill waste and fossil fuel consumption, while meeting our quality requirements. This means that they’re machine washable, and ensure color and shape longevity so that you’ll want to wear them season after season. We’re excited to see that you like them too!
IN 2020, WE EMBRACED NEW IDEAS
In a year where “adapt or die!” were the words on every CEO’s lips, we did just that. We not only adapted our product line to reflect the need for comfortable and stylish WFH pieces, we also introduced new fabric categories. These included flannel, DWR Twill, Recycled Stretch Suiting to keep you warmer in the winter, and Featherlight brrr° fabric to keep you cooler in the summer. To brighten things up, we introduced more colours, patterns like stripes and plaids, and new dress styles (thanks to the feedback from our community!)
We are also very proud of the speed with which we launched our Go Anywhere Masks in early April. They have become a popular item with our guests while providing an important contribution to Front Line workers (see below for more on that). New ideas became the new normal around here…
IN 2020, WE GAVE BACK (LIKE NEVER BEFORE)
In 2020, we partnered with many extraordinary organizations doing simply awesome work. This included:
- Providing clothing to over 15 charity organizations across Canada, including the Canadian Mental Health Association, Canadian Women’s Foundation, Jack.org, and Dress for Success, to name a few.
- Donating 100% of profits from our Go Anywhere Mask sales, generating $50,000 for two Front Line organizations fighting COVID-19: Covenant House in downtown Vancouver and TAIBU Community Health Centre in Toronto.
- Gifting $10,000 in new Kit and Ace clothing to Front Line workers to keep them comfortable and cozy after a long day’s work.
IN 2020, WE MADE SOME HARD DECISIONS
2020 was no picnic. We, like everyone else, were forced to make hard decisions that impacted people close to us (and their families). In 2020, we chose to permanently close three retail locations (our Queen St. shop in Toronto, our West 4th shop in Vancouver, and our Chinook Centre shop in Calgary), and to temporarily close our Gastown shop. We quickly repositioned our business to be an e-commerce-first experience, while mobilizing our teams to WFH (was “WFH” even a thing in 2019?!), and suspended all travel to other regions. This was hard, on the head and the heart.
We (still) firmly believe in bricks and mortar retail. We’re thrilled to have opened our doors to Edmonton again with our Whyte Ave pop up shop, and to be so wonderfully connected with our Calgary guests at Mount Royal Village. Our shops are a powerful connection point with our communities, and we look forward to re-inventing them when the time is right. But for now, we’re focused on maintaining our high standard of health and safety prioritization at our open shops, and on creating a world-class online shopping and community experience. On that note, please let us know how we’re doing and what could make it better for you.
IN 2021, WE WILL BE DEDICATING REAL RESOURCES TO AMPLIFY OPTIMISM
This year we'll really roll up our sleeves to bring to life our Vision by establishing new partnerships with people and organizations that are building a bright future. In 2021, we will dedicate staff and financial resources to enable our Amplifier Partners (and their meaningful missions) to grow. Keep your eyes peeled on social to see what we’re up to!
Beyond 2021, we commit to increasing our contributions year-over-year. By 2031, our goal is to contribute up to 25% of our profits to our Amplify Optimism Partners. This is an ambitious goal (some would say nuts), but it’s a goal we believe matters more than ever. While we’re in the business of making and selling beautiful clothing, our passion is inspiring and enabling Optimism. And this ‘revolution’ needs an army, which is why we’re building a global community of Optimists through our community initiatives and contributions.
“Kit and Ace was built on ‘Elevated Classics.’ And now is the time to introduce more color and delightful detailing to make our garments really, really special."
IN 2021, WE INTRODUCE THE AESTHETICS OF OPTIMISM
Kit and Ace was built on ‘Elevated Classics.’ And now is the time to introduce more color and delightful detailing to make our garments really, really special. We call this The Aesthetics of Optimism, and our design team has been busy creating new ideas. Stay tuned for fresh new looks that complement our core line. We hope that, one day, they’ll become classics too.
IN 2021, WE GET GREENER
Coming to your mailbox soon… We are excited to announce that our e-commerce 'mailers’ (packaging) are being redesigned as we speak, and will be made from compostable & recyclable materials. These will pair nicely with the eco-poly bags (wrapping each garment) that will launch around the same time.
All things considered, we (actually) had fun in 2020. And in 2021, we intend to have even more of it. Watch out for more Dad jokes, if you follow me on LinkedIn.
From all of us here at Kit and Ace, a sincere thank you for your business. We look forward to seeing you online and around town, be it Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Oakville, or anywhere in between. And of course, please feel free to reach out to me anytime with feedback, comments, or community partnership ideas you’d like to discuss at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To Swinging into Spring,
Chief Executive Optimist