When COVID hit, some local hospitals couldn’t get medication or medical supplies. That’s why having a strong local economy is critical to the supply chain. But why is staying local so important to Connor Curran? When he and his business partner first launched Local Laundry, they did a Google search about how to start a t-shirt company. They got their shirts as cheap as possible in the beginning.
Then he started to research the conditions that those dirt-cheap shirts were created in. What had to happen from a labor and environmental point of view for him to get the shirts so cheap? They realized they couldn’t blindly buy from wherever was cheapest. They wanted these things to be responsibly made.
Consumers have all the power
Connor emphasizes that it isn’t up to businesses. It’s up to consumers. Consumers have been trained to buy more for less. You get a dopamine rush when you find a bargain and go on a shopping spree. Connor points out that our closets expand. Our houses expand. We have so much stuff. But after a year or two, it fades and rips. Then you throw it out and buy more.
Connor and his wife were just cleaning out her Grandma’s house. Everything from her table and chairs to her boots and socks—all made in Canada. The average home now? Everything is from IKEA, made in China, etc. You struggle to find one thing made in Canada.
We’ve taken the middle-class manufacturing jobs and offshored them. We’ve given middle-class jobs to China, and they’re booming. Now our middle-class is shrinking. We are becoming haves and have-nots. We need more quality garments that will last for years. Things that you can give to your kids and grand-kids.
Embrace the rabbit hole
Canadians need to support a Canadian supply chain and a diverse Canadian economy. Connor questions why we aren’t talking about making things here? Things being bought from China are getting loaded onto ships or airplanes and getting sent around the world. What impact is that having on the environment? The carbon footprint? What about dye-houses? Waters and chemicals are used to make clothing. Developing countries don’t likely have strict regulations when it comes to waste-water or economic friendly chemicals.
Once you go down this rabbit-hole, it takes you on a journey. Connors believes we’ve dug this hole ourselves. He understands the importance of getting more for less and making the dollar stretch. But instead of buying a cheap t-shirt, spend the extra money to get something that will last longer. You may find that the lifetime value of these products and the cost per use is dramatically reduced. You can’t afford not to spend money on high-quality things.
How “Made in Canada” impacts marketing
When they flipped the switch and moved to Canadian-made, customers came in droves. Some even thanked them. Sure, some people complained about the price. So Connor focused on educating them. He’ll say: “Every step of the way, this stuff is dyed, knitted, milled, cut, sewn, shipped—all in Canada. All by Canadian workers getting paid a living wage, getting benefits, and working in a safe environment.”
These people are then spending their money in their local economy. Everyone touching one of those garments is getting treated fairly and getting paid what they deserve to be paid. If someone can’t afford to buy one of their sweaters today, that’s fine. Maybe they can save for something higher quality. Connor encourages people to do their own research. Check your labels to see where things are made. All of these great brands that people love—where do they come from?
Local Laundry wholeheartedly embraces the value of obtaining locally made products. But how do they market their brand? How does Connor bring in loyal customers? He shares more about Local Laundy’s process in episode #18 of the Content Callout podcast. Go listen to learn more! ost of not supporting local businesses? It doesn’t always appear on the surface. It may be social or environmental implications—but there is always a cost.