Bradford neighbours and friends Kellie Martin and Becca Mueller just launched their own clothing line, Copper & Oak Designs, last month and are overwhelmed with the support they have received from the community so far.
Their customized comfy fashions include a selection of soft, sweaters, hoodies, and tees with creative phrases across the front. Some of their most popular designs are their 'Dog Mom' and 'Good Moms Say Bad Words'.
"We handmake everything here," said Martin.
By day, Martin is a microbiologist working and Mueller works in commercial financing. But their spare time is when they like to let their creativity flow into their fashion business.
The pair live a four-minute walk from each other and have become close friends over the past five years, crafting together and bonding over the love of their pet dogs. Mueller has a pug and golden doodle, and Martin an old English bulldog and husky.
In January 2020, the dog-loving duo had a craft night, creating customized apparel and favours for Mueller's upcoming wedding in Jamaica.
They were so impressed with what they had designed and thought, "We're good at it, why not? Let's make a business."
But their dreams were halted when just two months later COVID hit.
"The world shut down in March and we didn't get to go to Jamaica for our wedding," said Mueller.
Mueller and her husband ended up getting married in Newmarket in a private ceremony, but still plan to celebrate in Jamaica with family and friends once the pandemic is over.
One year later, the ladies decided it was time to revisit their business idea.
"It was a mix of our crafties and comfies," said Martin, noting that during the pandemic, most people are opting for lounge and casual wear than business and formal attire.
"We don't want to make anything that we wouldn't want to wear ourselves," added Mueller.
So far their items have received positive feedback from the community, and beyond, including a recent sale to a buyer in the U.K. Over the weekend, they were proud to announce their 100th order milestone.
"It's been a busy month," said Mueller, noting a few items have already been sold out.
"We are trying to keep it as local as possible with porch pickups, it's the way people are shopping now," explained Mueller.
Martin and Mueller each have their own vinyl cutting machines so they are able to both work on orders at the same time, with designs done on a high-quality heat transfer vinyl.
"There's nothing else to do, there's nowhere else to go," laughed Martin about all the spare time they now have in the current provincial lockdown.
When it comes to being in business with a friend, Martin said it has worked out nicely.
"We have areas that we each have our strengths in and we play off each other," she said.
While Martin focuses on the customizing part of the business, Mueller handles more of the social media and technical side.
The ladies are currently working to have their products sold in local brick and mortar locations.
"We're hoping to get ourselves into brick and mortars and go from there," said Mueller.
Once the deals are finalized, they will be sharing the news with their followers on social media.
Both women love living in Bradford. Martin and her fiance moved to town in 2016. She met her fiance over a decade ago while studying at college in Ottawa, where she is originally from.
The pair parted ways after school but reconnected eight years later online while she was studying in Ireland. Their relationship grew strong and she eventually came back to Canada.
"And pretty much haven't been apart since then," said Martin.
Mueller is from Thornhill and she and her then-fiancee were living in Toronto at the time when she decided she wanted to move to the suburbs.
In 2017 they started to search for homes and came across Bradford.
"When we were in Bradford, it felt like home," she said, "so here we are."
As for the name of the business, Copper represents the colour of Martin's reddish locks, while Oak is the colour of Mueller's strands.
"It was something different but personal to us," said Mueller.
To learn more about Copper & Oak Designs, check out their Facebook page here or follow them on Instagram @copperandoakdesigns