Longtime Langley resident Trevor Carss had his aha moment while shopping for clothes.
“I was not really connecting with the available designs. Also, I wanted to connect with a cause when buying my apparel,” said Carss, a Walnut Grove Secondary alumni.
“After not being able to find something that connected with me, I created T-shirt designs myself and partnered with international organizations to give back 10 per cent of the profits. After mentioning the project, my close network has been incredibly supportive in this new venture.”
So the 27-year-old launched his eCommerce store this month. Called Carss Clothing Co, it’s a a collection of apparel to raise donations for youth mental health initiatives.
Carss said he struggled with mental health throughout high school and into university. That’s why it was so important to pair partial profits from his clothing line to mental health programs.
It feels good to connect your clothing to a cause, he said.
Carrs Clothing has clean designs. His apparel includes wide-brim hats, toques, T-shirts, socks and more designs are being created each week, he said.
“I came up with the designs myself to start, then I had input from my fans as to what I should create next. There was a big debate on the banning of pineapples in Iceland, so my fans insisted I launch a playful design to coincide with that current event,” said Carss about bright yellow pineapple toques.
The Iceland president jested that pineapple should be banned on all pizza in that country. His comments went viral and for a while were taken literally.
“I always focused on creating designs with a positive, uplifting theme. Someone should look at the design and feel happier from it. If I can make people smile, I’ve accomplished my goal with the artwork,” he said. “Since childhood I was obsessed with the Nike clothing brand and how they stood out among the rest. I love the idea of building a community with clothing, as it’s a self-expression of who we are and what we like.”
Carrs went to Simon Fraser University for business and marketing and is now using those skills to market his clothing line.
“I got started by researching ways to produce T-shirts, and with e-commerce platforms like Shopify and Woocommerce, I quickly realized that it was possible to start a clothing line in a few weeks, with a little elbow grease and hard work,” he said. “I bought a domain name under my conceived brand, started sketching ideas and transferring them online, then I partnered with a drop-shipper to handle the manufacturing processes so I could focus on the business, sales and marketing.”
It was important for Carss to have his apparel made in a sweatshop-free environment.
“I chose LA to help position my brand as an international clothing line, while gaining the opportunity to make quality apparel. I could not find a Canadian drop-shipper who could handle markets outside of Canada, without there being a significant cost. The other advantage is the T-shirts are made in America, with American fabrics, in a sweatshop-free environment.”
People have started to buy the clothing, and support started locally in Langley and Surrey, through word-of-mouth, he said.
The challenge is building credibility and trust with the online shopper, and that takes time, he said.
Shipping costs are around $6US.
“My hope is to provide clothing that will make people happy, while giving back to a cause that can make a difference in people’s lives.”
Check out Carss Clothing Co. at carss.co.