Business Spotlight: Local Laundry Charity Initiative in Calgary
Local Laundry is a clothing retail store that wants Calgary residents to be proud of where they come from, to share their stories with the community, and to join them in having a positive social impact on local charitable and non-profit organizations. Every month Local Laundry donates 10 per cent of its profits to causes chosen by its customers. Recently, the company has committed to only selling made-in-Canada clothing, to support the Canadian manufacturing market and its labour force.
With an agenda that is community focused, Local Laundry is experiencing success as both a retailer and as social engineers. Connor Curran, Chief Laundry Folder, explains, "Everyone has embraced us with open arms, including other small businesses, influencers, artists, non-profits, professionals, students, etc. The amount of support we can count on from all different members of the community is irreplaceable and we wouldn't be where we are with them."
Local Laundry Humble Beginnings
Curran speaks to the company's humble beginnings. "When we start Local Laundry, we just Googled "how to build a T-shirt company?" and watched a YouTube video! We didn't know the first thing about e-commerce or shirt production or anything. We kind of just figured everything out and we still do to this day.
"When we started, we focused strongly on community shirts, and our flagship YYC design was an afterthought. Now we put the focus on the YYC and CAN designs and build a community around those instead. We will always have the Calgary community shirts and that will never change; they are the heart and soul of the company."
Although there are many clothing retail companies in Calgary, Local Laundry differentiates itself by leveraging social media, working closely with members of the digital community, and focusing on giving back.
How Local Laundry Gives Back to the Calgary Community
"We are always working with a wide variety of community builders, such as photographers, videographers, artists, small businesses, and influencers and are relentless in planning photoshoots, content creation, and more," says Curran. "When you work with a ton of different people who have an impact on the community in many different ways, it allows you to engage with a wider type of audience. Our favourite thing about the business is how it has become a vehicle to meet other passionate people who want to make a positive impact in the community, whether through their art, business or personal efforts."
"When was the last time you got out of the shower and didn't have a towel to drive off? It's a horrible feeling!" Curran goes on to note that while some can simply go get a towel from the linen closet, that is not the reality for far too many Calgarians. The city's shelters and the at-risk population do not have enough towels for adequate hygiene, and while it may seem like a small thing, the thought of going without a towel after a shower leaves you cold — in more ways than one.
"After seeing an article from The Mustard Seed on the need for towel donations, we realized the need all shelters and homeless agencies have for towels for their clients," Curran explains. "Which is why we wanted to bring attention to the lack of towels and utilize our network to try and get as many towels into these shelters as we can. Our goal is to absolutely stuff them with towels so that they never have to ask for them again!"
The Impact of the Alberta Economy on Local Laundry
Like every small business, Alberta's changing economic landscape is having an impact. Local Laundry chooses to turn those challenges into streamlining the business. "We run a pretty lean ship. Everything we do is bootstrapped. we have very little overhead, no office, and just a few employees. That helps us ensure we can bounce back and don't have too many fixed costs if situations beyond our control affect sales."
Local Laundry loves Calgary and everything it has to offer. It is pleased to produce YYC branded goods that get the word out about all the great things the city has to offer.
Local Laundry Has Plans to Remain in Calgary
"My favourite thing about Calgary is definitely the welcoming entrepreneurship spirit. Calgary has always been a pull-up-your-socks and go-get-the-job done type of city, and when people are out there trying to build something, there are always people wanting to support you and see you succeed," says Curran. He also loves, "The many different cultures and backgrounds that the city has to offer. There are so many cool stories in this city and they always come back to us as inspiration to become something that is inviting, representing everyone and the very best of the city and Calgary."
Local Laundry has plenty to look forward to in the future. Curran concludes, "We have just made the transition to all made-in-Canada products, so we are very much looking forward to showcasing the very best that this country has to offer and instilling that sense of pride and support that only comes from supporting local Canadian manufacturing and a diverse Canadian economy."