Shop local. Those two words have never meant more than over the recent past and present years. The pandemic has forced small businesses all over the world to close their doors for good. And with the focus now on online sales, customers are combing through more small businesses, wanting to help keep them afloat. It goes without saying that shopping local means supporting dreams. Supporting families. Supporting the fabric that ties economies together.
In our desire to highlight small businesses who give back to society, who have social consciences weaved into their very fibre, we sat down with Kory McLaughlin and Mike Wallis, the founders of TenFed, to learn more about their mission to end world hunger, one piece of cool apparel at a time.
Tenfed is a clothing company based in Toronto that offers unique yet meaningful, everyday apparel. They are more than just a clothing brand – they are about having meaning and purpose behind what you choose to wear because for every item that is sold, ten meals are provided to feed hungry children around the globe – get it, Ten-fed. How many meals have they provided so far you ask? 335,000!
Here are four questions that we hope helps you get to know Tedfed a little better.
“Particularly, hunger is something that will not be eradicated with the same level of thinking that we are all used to.”
Why did you decide to be a socially conscience business. Why did you choose the cause of ending child hunger?
We chose to be a socially conscious business because the concept just seemed to make sense. We can build a business while directly giving back to people in need every single time we sell an item. Not only does it help people in need, it also gives people a stronger purpose in their decisions of what to purchase. Particularly, hunger is something that will not be eradicated with the same level of thinking that we are all used to. This is something that we felt could use our attention specifically. Knowing that people are receiving much needed food due to our business model gives us a sense of purpose, a purpose that we can pass on to each one of our customers. It’s a full community and team effort.
“Knowing that people are receiving much needed food […] gives us a sense of purpose, a purpose that we can pass on to each one of our customers.”
Can you tell us a little bit about your story?
We started our business in 2015 with the simple idea of helping people in need while creating a business for ourselves that we could be passionate about. After a year of teaming up with various charities, we honed in on tackling the issue of hunger. Over the course of 5+ years, there are countless times that we have felt like giving up, but having the deeper purpose and vision behind this idea allows us to push through the difficulties. Not to mention the personal growth that we are forced to go through when building a brand. We have now built something of real value. It gives us purpose, it helps real people struggling to survive and thrive, and it also gives people a deeper sense of purpose when shopping for things. Wins all around.
How did you refocus your business in 2020 and what are you looking forward to in 2021
About 85% of our revenue came from doing trade shows, events, and markets up until March of 2020. We were forced to re-focus our efforts online as well as looking for the right partnerships. TenFed was able to grow substantially since then. Now we can see what the possibilities are which has us very excited for 2021! We are coming out with some new ideas this year including a video podcast! iGIVAFCK.
Can you share your most memorable moment for TenFed
This is extremely difficult to answer. The entire journey has been made up of extreme highs and lows. We had one of our hats being worn by an athlete that was being interviewed on CBC during one of the most watched events of the year. It was a big moment for us. But in all honesty, moments are big and exciting for a flash, and you celebrate it, and then you move on. The most important thing we have found is that it’s best to really enjoy the entire journey.