You grew up together in Minnesota and bonded over the shared experience of lake life as children. What happened that turned those memories into a business idea in college?
Going North to the cabin really was the foundation to our childhood. Whether it was taking the boat out at sunset, sharing stories around the bonfire, or jumping off a well-worn dock, life was simply better at the lake.
Great Lakes was born from these memories and a realization that there weren't any apparel brands that made us feel proud of the lifestyle in which we were raised.
We were taught to work hard but always find time to enjoy the finer things in life. To seek adventure and be proud of where you come from. We work tirelessly to infuse these values into our brand, our products, and the way we do business.
How would you describe your brand?
Apparel for those who believe life is better at the lake. A brand that customers identify with and can connect with on an emotional level because it represents the life they know.
Great Lakes clothing is American made. Why is this important to you?
Four years ago when we created Great Lakes - we started by ordering wholesale American Apparel t-shirts and had our logos printed on them locally to test the idea on a smaller scale. However, we were limited to selling whatever American Apparel produced, so once we proved that it was a product people wanted, we transitioned into working directly with various manufacturers across the US to develop a higher quality garment that we created from scratch.
Luckily we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. It's been a tremendous learning opportunity to understand the entire process from start to finish working directly with the manufacturers, but also
Although this route has been challenging, it's one of our primary differentiators that we can create a product that is totally unique to us and exactly the quality we expect.
Any new products on the way for fall 2017?
All sorts of fun new stuff. Of course a brand new lineup of winter knit hats made in Cloquet, MN that we're super excited about, new hoodies and crews, some new shirt designs, and a bunch of other accessories.
It's going to be a busy fall + holiday season for product launches.
Our holiday store at Ridgedale Mall will be back for its 4th year and runs from November through December.
Additionally this holiday season we'll be available at Mall of America's brand new 'Local Market' which is a pop-up shop of 15-20 Minnesota born brands. It's located next to Nordstrom and will be open from November 15th through the Super Bowl - which we're really looking forward to.
What is your go-to piece in the collection?
We're known for our Sunwashed Shirts which are super comfy and perfect for a day at the lake. During fall/winter our winter knit hats are definitely the customer favorite.
What makes a perfect lake weekend in your mind?
Friends, family, some games, a hammock, a full-yeti, and a little sunshine.
We love your loon logo. So, we have to ask... does he have a name?
The Blue Loon (definitely not a duck)