Sudbury clothing store starts new line during pandemic

Celebrating their 10th year of business owners of The Plus Factor in Sudbury decided there was no better way to celebrate than by starting a new clothing line.

Owners Linda Audette and Becky Boileau officially launched the line ‘Black LABB’ on Sept. 24. The name is an acronym for both of their names and the fact that black is their key colour. They hope to encourage women to wear different styles of black.

They also have their 11-week-old black Labradoodle mascot named Cash.

“A lot of women don’t want to buy black, don’t want to wear black, don’t appreciate black, but leave the store wearing black,” said Audette. “So we are here to add the punch of colour, the fun stuff, the trend.”

The original plan was to launch the line in spring 2020, but due to COVID-19, progress was significantly delayed. Audette said they are still waiting on a few items to finish off Black LABB.

Brian Vendramin, a Cambrian College business professor, said although it is harder, small businesses can still be successful in a global pandemic.

Target market

“They need to know who their target market is, as a company,” Vendramin said. “And what does their physical store look like? They also need to co-exist with an online presence, as well.”

The Plus Factor started out carrying only size XL to 3X, but as the store continued to expand, the owners decided to start at size small and carry through 3X.

A full 80 per cent of the clothing lines they carry are manufactured in Canada, so it was a must that Black LABB be manufactured in Canada, as well. The new line is made close to Sudbury, just down the 401 in Toronto.

“It definitely hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it,” said Boileau. “We wake up every morning and we are like ‘did we actually pull this off? Is it really launched? Are we really doing this? It just keeps our momentum going, not that we needed any more, but the adrenaline is still there.”

With hopes of expanding Black LABB across Canada, the owners said they are off to a good start. A clothing shop in Mount Forest, a small town 45 minutes outside of Guelph, heard about Black LABB and has now added the line to their selection.

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