One day, three friends sat down in the local pub for a beer after snowboarding. From family, to the latest snowboard part they’d seen the conversation was flowing as smoothly as the beer. Then the chat touched on work. The same old complaints came up. Working hard and hardly being paid, not enjoying work as much as you should seeing as you’re there most of your waking hours. The conversation rambled through dreams of ideal jobs, of quitting and of starting anew.
“We are three like-minded, creative and social individuals. Why can’t we make something for ourselves?” one of the group asked. And that’s when it happened. That was the moment the Collective was born.
Our name, The Natural Collective, came that evening. We continued to talk long into the night of grand ideas and extravagant plans. We wanted to be able to put our creativity to good use. To give back to the community which nurtured us, and the planet that kindly let’s us inhabit it. And thus, an ethically-made, environmentally-conscious, local clothing company was born.
None of us had ever really made clothing before, never mind ethical clothing.
Ben runs a small creative company with a long retail resume. He lives in Collingwood with his wife and 4 kids. He recycles, rides bikes a lot and enjoys making snowmen and snowboard parks in his backyard. Byron is born and raised in Elmvale. Previously a world travelling chef, he lives with his partner and son, which you already know, as he knows nearly everyone on earth. You’ll rarely find him without a snowboard, bike or beer in his hands. Robyn runs a local snowboard and apparel shop, and has her finger on the pulse of fashion. She is an active part of the Burton Girls Ambassadorship Program, and logs more days on snow than you. Born in Scotland, but now living and growing in Collingwood.
We toss the word “local” around a lot. Why? We rely immensely on the engagement of our local crew of friends and supporters to help us grow and improve our tiny endeavour. We do our utmost to give back to the community. For example, we buy our Christmas gifts from brick and mortar local retailers and our beers usually come from Northwinds Brewery. We also purchase our inks and screens from the nearest possible outlet and use biodegradable, plant-derived cleaners.
We are the Collective. We stay up late to live the dream, and make shit happen. Coming up with a new concept or physically silk screening tees usually means logging the hours after most sane people have been asleep for hours. Ethical clothing means more to us than a clever buzzword – we actively monitor options and manufacturers, and draw inspiration from our outdoor adventures. We are just 3 kids who have to act like adults (most of the time). We would rather be in the mountains or in the woods.
This is our little escape. It keeps us sane. We get to feel good about the impact we are making on the local community and economy, and get to have fun doing it. Because let’s be honest; who doesn’t enjoying hanging out with friends and growing from each other’s positive vibes.