Who doesn’t love a classic t-shirt? Especially when they have witty pop culture references on them. Whiskey Weekend has figured out the recipe for building a brand that incorporates style, class, and badassery all into one basic t-shirt. Founded in Calgary, Whiskey Weekend is helping us “spend more time drinking, and less time talking.” Amen.
27 Boutique on 17th Ave is a great spot to grab a Whiskey Weekend t-shirt or sweater, like this amazing Don’t Drake and Drive tee. I couldn’t resist. I was going for a cozy, but fashionable, and a maybe-was-drunk-last-night type feel. You could wear it to run errands, lounge on the couch, or dance your face off at the club (no short dresses to limit your dance moves). The pants are these super soft sweat pants by Dex and of course I paired the whole thing with white Converse. The whole outfit (minus the black jean jacket – that’s an oldie but goodie that I found in my closet) can be found at 27 Boutique.
I had a chance to chat with owner and founder Evan Brown on where Whiskey Weekend started, what inspires her, and why starting your own business is worth it.
Evan grew up here in Calgary playing Ringette competitively which is where she met all of her friends. She studied art and graphic design at Emily Carr University for two years. When she came back to Calgary she got a job at a graphic design agency in Inglewood designing things like websites and corporate reports, but she always knew she wanted to use her design skills with fashion. Currently you can find her working during the day at Craft Beer Market and in the evenings is when she works on her baby, Whiskey Weekend.
“Calgary has a great fashion scene; it’s always evolving and picking up on new trends. I think the weather dictates what we can and cannot wear but this is my favourite because I love layering different textures and styles.” Evan has always loved fashion and being around it. She realized that it was hard to find classic t-shirts with specific sayings on them and she decided to just make it herself. “I knew I wasn’t the only one who was searching for clothes in this style: cheeky, fun, light, racy. So I decided to start drawing up some designs with no real set plan.”
Whiskey Weekend was inspired the love of t-shirts, weekends, and whiskey. “It actually came to me really fast. I knew I wanted something that would reflect my brand. I design and create brands for a living as a graphic designer, so I knew it had to be special. I wanted something light hearted, not too serious, and that was fun and playful. I love whiskey and I love weekends – What more can I say!”
Where do you find inspiration for the sayings?
“Lots of them are sayings I actually just make up without knowing it! I was hungover one time and asked my friend is she wanted to join my “Hangover Club”. So that sweater came to be because I was hungover and wanted other hungover people to keep me company haha! Some are also taken from music, pop culture, or simply a play on words. One of my sweaters is just a list of my favourite rappers! And “Babycakes” is a one of my best friend’s nickname. The “Bad Habits” sweater is a reflection of my past relationship; we were each other’s bad habits. It’s great though because everyone can relate to this sweater in their own way; everyone has their own bad habit!”
The brand was launched just before Halloween last year. There was lots of prep to go into officially launching the site. “I defiantly underestimated how much work, time and stress would go into starting your own company. Lucky for me though it’s all worth it – I love it. I love seeing something I designed on paper, to something I designed on the computer, then to see it in real life on a sweater that I can wear!”
The most rewarding part of starting this business, according to Evan, is to see someone walking down the street wearing one of her designs. “I just think, wow I made that and she loves it just as much as I do.” It’s not always a breeze though; she finds the most challenging part is balancing both jobs with family, friends and ringette. And also finding time to relax: “I am learning that I need to make time to relax or else it just won’t happen.”
Social media is a big part of Whiskey Weekend. “I am really just learning every day about how to connect with my community and Instagram has been a great tool for that. I love how I can talk directly with them and like to listen to what they are saying. I want to know what they like and what they don’t like!”
Your life seems pretty packed. Can you describe a day in the life of Evan?
Every morning when I wake up I know I have to write a social media post (for Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter). I get that done (while lying in bed!) and then start my day. Monday to Friday I am working 9-5 doing graphic design for Craft Beer Market. I usually train home, so I like to walk through Holt Renfrew and see what new trends and styles are popping up in Calgary (try to get inspired anywhere!). I get home and pack all the orders that were ordered online today, and drop them off at the post office. I reply to customer emails and continue sewing the sleeves (I do a little cuff detail on the sleeves) on all of the tees that have already been silkscreened. Then I usually tag as many tees and crewnecks as I can. If I have time I like to meet up with my friends – I have a group of 6 friends and I love them so much. So no matter how busy I get I will always make time for them.
“My advice to entrepreneurs would be to not underestimate the amount of time and hard work you are going to have to put into this. To make sure you absolutely LOVE what you are doing because if you don’t, all the hard work will seem like that exactly…WORK. It doesn’t seem like work to me because I love every second of it.”
How do you stay motivated?
“It’s the feedback and the love I get from my support network! I could not have done this without the support and love of my family and friends. My Mom is always there for me when I need her help and my Dad is the one told me that I should do this, and that I would be great at it. His confidence in me is what motivates me daily. I would not have done this if it wasn’t for him.”
WHISKEY WEEKEND Don’t Drake and Drive
FOREVER 21 Jean Jacket | DEX Black Jogger Pant
CONVERSE All Star Lows
Photos by Madeline Antony | Check out her instagram