Muskoka Bear Wear has been offering comfortable cottage clothing since 2003 and the sweats continues to grow.
Kevin Saunders, who owns the Bracebridge-based company, explains that many years ago he saw a market for original, quality cottage-style clothing. The name Muskoka Bear Wear ad the bear paw logo was born. "I thought it could be fun little niche market," he says.
The business has expanded with Huntsville location added in 2005, Port Carling in 2007 and now Bala for the summer of 2011. Muskoka Bear Wear also has a shop at Deerhurst Resort as well as a successful online store.
Saudners says he especially enjoys designed the clothing and logos and picking the colours for the sweatshirts, sweatpants and other authentic cottage clothes.
"Working with the designers, I really love that side of the business," he says.
With a regular staff of about five, plus some seasonal employees, Saunders credits the whole team for Muskoka Bear Wear's success.
"Everyone puts their two cents in," he says. "I value everyone's input."
Saunders also values input from customers, taking note of what styles and colours people would like for the future.
Muskoka Bear Wear give back to the community in many ways. New this year, the company will be taking $5 from every pink garment sold and donating it to breast cancer research. Plans are also underway for larger community projets in the future.
Saunders has business degree but admits he didn't originally plan to develop a clothing line.
"Do something unique and something you truly love," he advises, adding his entrepreneurial spirit, a good idea and the determination to stick with it is his recipe for success. "Bear Wear was going to succeed because there was no plan B. We did not have a backup plan."
Muskoka Bear Wear was nominated in the category of Muskoka Business of the Year 5-14 employees
(Thanks for the nomination & congratulations to Lake of Bays Brewing Company for winning the Award)