EDITION 04 // NEW YEAR, NEW OPTIMISM // JAN 01 2022
Welcome to the Optimist’s Outlook, Edition 04 — our quarterly communique with updates on how Optimism is coming to life through our product innovations, community collaborations, and our efforts to give back.
Today is New Year’s Day, and there’s no better time to dream boldly and plan for what we want to accomplish in 2022. The new year ahead is abundant with potential just waiting to be seized. But first, let’s glance back on the last quarter, and the year we just wrapped.
THE GRAND TOUR
Last quarter began with the long-awaited re-opening of our flagship Gastown shop. To the delight of our local community, we opened the doors of 165 Water Street in September, debuting a larger-than-life #ThingsOptimistsSay mural which creates a tremendous focal point in the shop. We invited local media in to tour the space and to chat about our brand vision to Amplify Optimism, and what this means for our design studio and the collections we have planned. We were met with enthusiasm for our sustainable design and product assortment, which was featured in articles in the Vancouver Sun, the Calgary Herald, Curiocity Toronto, the Narcity blog, and Vancouver Magazine’s e-commerce blog Add to Cart.
“IT’S A NEW YEAR, NEW OPTIMISM VIBE, AND WE’RE READY TO HIT THE GROUND RUNNING WITH ALL OF YOU.”
SMALL GESTURES, BIG IMPACT
November is always a busy month, with Black Friday sales segueing into our annual Giving Tuesday initiative. This year we chose to support Food Banks Canada and their mission of helping Canadians living with food insecurity. With the support of our guests, we were able to donate 20% of all November 30th sales to Food Banks Canada — Amplifying Optimism for the holidays with nourishment. Thank you for making a big difference with a small gesture.
We also extended our Frontline Thank You initiative in continued support for frontline employees. We’ve navigated yet another year through the ever-changing landscape of our world in the wake of the pandemic, and our gratitude for the efforts of the frontline remains constant.
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
The most wonderful time of the year brought with it our annual Holiday Gift Guide. This latest edition, titled This Season’s Best, showcased our favourite spots in Vancouver. The full day photoshoot took us all around the city as we captured our models strolling with coffee, running errands, snuggling into cozy winter styles at home, and making memories out on the town with friends in the evening, Polaroid cameras in hand. Putting it all together with our talented production team was a blast and resulted in a fitting tribute to holiday-ready styles big on comfort and sophistication.
With loyal fans from coast to coast, we were also honoured to collaborate in December giveaways with partners across Canada. Our friends Jillian Harris (@jillian.harris), Justin Pasutto (@justinpasutto), and Allie Beckwith (@alliebeckwith) released their much anticipated gift guides in early December, featuring the All Day Long Puffer Jacket, Mac Puffer Coat, and our Lounge Sets. We love the momentum of the season and appreciate all our Community friends for sharing our holiday spirit!
SOMETHING DELICIOUS IS BREWING
Rich brews and good conversation have long filled our Sorry Coffee Co. space in downtown Toronto. Now, as we plan for a relocation of the adjacent Bloor St. Kit and Ace shop (coming in 2022), we’re excited to announce our BC opening of a second Sorry Coffee location! We opened the doors at 4342 Gallant Ave in North Vancouver’s Deep Cove in early December. If you’re on the west coast, come by to try the delicious coffee blends and locally sourced baked goods that Sorry Coffee fans swear by. And a fun fact: In my careful selection of the beans from our local roaster, I got a crash course in specialty coffee, and was fascinated to learn about all that goes into the process from the bean to the cup. It even inspired a Dad Joke: How did the hipster burn his tongue? A: He drank his coffee before it was cool.
2021 was a year of great strides as we developed a framework for our Amplifier Program and strategized how best to connect with Optimists in our communities. We introduced our first official Optimism Amplifier, Matthew Astorga, in the Spring and it’s been inspiring to support his journey in rolling out his Food Power Tour. He’s spreading awareness around food security and sharing the stories of the people in our food system, all while navigating the logistics of filming with the ongoing changes in pandemic-related travel restrictions. The first episode of Food Power debuted on December 4th, featuring Stella Sehn of @Sweetpurehoney. Catch the premiere episode and follow Matthew’s adventures on social @ foodpowertv.
We look forward to further expanding our Amplifier Program in 2022 and growing our roster of Amplifiers. It’s been a learning process as we work around health and safety restrictions in planning live events and community photoshoots, but we remain committed to building partnerships rooted in storytelling, connection, and authenticity. If you’re making waves of positive change in your community, or know someone who is, we can’t wait to meet you!
Our Community is at the heart of our mission to Amplify Optimism, and so it’s only fitting that we celebrate with a soundtrack. We’re getting ready to launch the first volume of our Sounds of Optimism Spotify playlist, featuring curated tracks that keep our Shop teams pumped and that we hope will bring a smile to your face. We can’t wait to share it with you!
Our holistic 360° view of our retail business means ongoing initiatives to elevate the omni-channel shopping experience for our guests. The end of 2021 saw the debut of our free ship-to-shop shipping option, now available at all three of our shops. Guest feedback so far has been resoundingly positive, and we look forward to integrating more of these types of flexible options and e-commerce innovations, to make your life easier.
“BY 2031, OUR GOAL IS TO CONTRIBUTE UP TO 25% OF OUR PROFITS TO OUR AMPLIFY OPTIMISM PARTNERS.”
THE BEAUTY OF GREEN
Our commitment to our Made to Last Promise continues to underlie our design development as we prioritize responsible sourcing and premium construction. Our love for the planet has also inspired some resourceful accessories. We introduced Upcycled Accessories in time for holiday gifting in December, crafted from extra Schoeller fabric that we had in the studio. The resulting Upcycled Gift Bag and Upcycled Zipper Pouch gave a new life to the repurposed signature Navigator material that we’re so proud of — making a little more for you to love and meaning a little less that ends up in oceans and landfills.
We’re confident that sustainable style is the future, and it’s clear you feel the same way. Our puffy vegan outerwear—Better Than Feathers—was met with a warm welcome upon its debut this winter. These lightweight styles with water repellent shells are insulated with recycled synthetic down that looks and feels just like real feathers, but with no ducks hurt in the process. Our Winter Puffer Coats flew off the shelves when they dropped in December, selling out in most colourways. Thanks for not being down with duck-harming down!
IN THE DESIGN STUDIO
Our design studio is humming with the energy of a new year of untapped potential. We’re getting ready to launch our limited-edition Optimist Capsule Collection in mid-January to usher in 2022. These graphic styles reflect our unbridled joy and enthusiasm for colour, ease of movement, and small details that delight. Likewise, our Spring 2022 collection will feature plenty of stretchy staple styles for lives on the go, with pops of Optimism and nods to the brand—found in detailing like our signature tri-stripe. Watch for it on fan faves like the Kit Leggings, dropping in early Spring.
It’s a New Year, New Optimism vibe, and we’re ready to hit the ground running with all of you. We heard your feedback around our size offerings, and you’ll notice a greater range of relaxed-fit styles to accommodate more body types as we introduce extended sizing across our collection this Spring. This will include more XXL for men, XL for women, and XXS on a few of our oversized styles.
The spirit of rebirth and renewal is the inspiration for our classic styles as well. Structured Recycled Ponte pieces are here to transition from NYE styling to a year in which dressing up is revived. Versatile staple items with just the right amount of polish will take you from your home office to small gatherings and much-anticipated events with ease. Keep your eyes peeled for our new Merino sweaters in bright Spring-inspired tones, and new colours of men’s Micro Pique button up shirts, coming later this month. Plus, brand new for the Spring season, we’ll introduce Lightweight Woven styles like relaxedfit trousers, culottes, and pleated shorts. They’re dropping later in March, with a classic look that will endure for years to come.
If you’re ready to start fresh with a closet detox (a juice cleanse, but for your wardrobe), stock up on our softest favourites and timeless styles. It’s time to reset, reconnect, and carpe the hell out of the new year!
MANIFESTING A BRIGHTER FUTURE
A year ago we launched the Optimist’s Outlook with our first edition recapping the rollercoaster that was 2020. Now as we look forward to the new year ahead of us, we’re reflecting on the future we plan to create, both in terms of our business and for our community.
We introduced The Aesthetics of Optimism in 2021, debuting fresh new looks that complement our core line. The positive response from our guests proved that there is an appetite for clothing that delights in addition to offering superior function. So we’re excited to explore more capsule collections and limited-edition product lines this year. First up is our Optimist Capsule Collection — give it a try and let us know what you think! We take feedback to heart, as evidenced by the hand-poured candles we launched in Canada for the holidays. Aptly named Amplify and Optimism, these accessories were inspired by the enthusiasm for our April Fool’s joke, aka the At Home with George collection. Thanks for laughing with us! We may just bring more dad jokes to life through limited-edition styles in 2022.
We remain driven by our commitment to increase our charitable contributions year-over-year. By 2031, our goal is to contribute up to 25% of our profits to our Amplify Optimism Partners. This last year, we diversified our community give back program to include the following partners: the Canadian Mental Health Association, One Girl Can, Jack.org, YWCA, the YMCA Special Olympics, the Calgary Children’s Hospital, and the Indian Residential School Survivor Society, to name a few
The end of 2021 was not without its challenges. We faced immense rainstorms in BC, which only added to the inbound supply chain challenges experienced globally. But perseverance is a cornerstone of Optimism. With some creative strategizing, quick logistical adjustments, and plenty of unfaltering Optimism, we overcame the many shipping challenges as a team, and are marching into the new year with an air of resilience and collective positivity. I wish positivity for all of you as well, and so will sign off with a quote and a nod to the wonderful potential that lays ahead in 2022
“You have the pencil and paper in your hand, you write the story of the upcoming year. May your story be a year filled with positive happenings and successes, with few erase marks and full of exclamation marks.“
—Theodore W. Higginswort
Thanks to our team across the country and to all of you in our communities for your continued support as we design for a greener future and Amplify Optimism for a brighter and more connected world. Follow along on our social channels @kitandace and sign up for our email list for the inside scoop on everything we’re up to.
And as always, please feel free to reach out to me directly with feedback, questions, or community partnership ideas you’d like to discuss (firstname.lastname@example.org)
2022, here we go!
Chief Executive Optimist