Alberta Branded began as a joke during a road trip. At the time, John Ross, one of the company’s co-owners, was attending university on the east coast and had seen the Nova Scotia–based nautical brand East Coast Lifestyle become hugely popular with his peers.
“We were driving back from the mountains, talking about what the Alberta lifestyle would look like, and two major themes came up: the mountains and the oil industry,” recalls John. When he arrived at home, John designed the company’s first logo using the free 3D animation software Blender.
After creating the logo, he offered to put it on T-shirts for his housemates and friends on Facebook to counter the East Coast Lifestyle craze that was taking over the region. The offer was met with a resounding “yes!”
“Within two days I had over 100 shirt orders and AB Lifestyle was born,” says John. Two years later, he and cofounder Jeff Schidlowsky broadened the brand’s appeal by changing the name to Alberta Branded and adding more nature-based designs to their collection.
Square caught John’s eye when he was looking for a way to take debit and credit card payments at Calgary’s Fourth Street Lilac Festival. “The concept is brilliant, and the execution is spot on,” he says. “Having the ability to accept credit cards was a huge contribution to the success we had the day of the Lilac Festival. We’ll be attending many more festivals and intend to continue accepting payments with Square.”
As Alberta’s economy starts to move away from oil, incorporating other elements of the province’s diverse character into the company’s designs has been both a challenge and an opportunity. “Alberta is on the verge of creating a new identity that can unite a province,” says Jeff. “We strive to drive that change by embracing our successful past with our natural resources in combination with the urge for a more environmentally friendly future.”
Looking ahead, Alberta Branded hopes to partner with more local businesses while introducing a greater range of sizes for both men and women. “As the leaves change colour and start to fall to the ground, we too are in the process of phasing out products in order to make room for new designs,” explains Jeff. “With the addition of new female team members, we will also be looking at their insight towards our new collection.”
Visit Alberta Branded to learn more and buy a piece of proud Albertan clothing.