Now that the sun is shining, and summer is here – I don’t know about you – but I’m in a cheery mood all the time. You just can’t be mad when there are endless patios, sangria and sunny hours in the day. Summer is also the perfect time to give back where you can and support local (of course, life motto). I came across + VIBES through a friend and was pumped to learn that they are a local brand that gives back – and makes cool stuff.
Dominick was born in Fernie after his family immigrated to Canada from South Africa. “Growing up in that mountain town gave me a lust for adventure and my childhood became my wildhood.” He grew up in the mountains, realizing how lucky Western Canadians are to be living in the foothills of the Rockies. That gratitude and positive attitude translates into everything he does, “I work my hardest to continually live in a positive state of mind – happy, content and enthusiastic with the short amount of time we have on Earth.”
Calgary is now where he calls home, a city that is made up of such a diverse group of people. In terms of fashion, YYC has it all: from corporate professionals who basically wear hiking boots to work to the overflow of scenesters that hail from Vancouver (yes we have 5 panel hats just for you). Even though he wouldn’t call himself a style expert, Dom has recognized the power of fashion when spreading a message, like him and his business partner, Eric, has done for + VIBES.
What inspired you to start + VIBES? Share the story of the brand with us.
Overcoming adversity, remaining positive and pushing past life’s most unexpected obstacles can seem inconceivable at times. This initiative is in honour of my nephew Grayson, and co-founder Eric’s mother, Teal.
In 2011, as an infant, Grayson was diagnosed with kidney cancer. The cards that were dealt to Grayson were heartbreaking. In an effort to spur morale, +VIBES apparel was created to encourage and remind family members, and their support systems, that positive energy towards this situation was paramount. After successful chemotherapy treatment and an uphill fight, Grayson is now cancer-free and living the life every toddler deserves to have.
Unfortunately, Eric didn’t have the same cancer-beating victory for his mother. In 2012, he lost Teal. Breast cancer stole yet another positive, beautiful soul. She was characterized by boundless enthusiasm and energy, with a deep love and commitment to family and community. That value of community from Teal lives on.
After two significant challenges impacting their journey, Dominik and Eric joined together to create a brand that had deeper meaning. One that encourages a positive mindset and creates a supportive community while raising funds for cancer. Products are named after fighters that battled cancer.
These loved ones faced it, exemplifying the qualities that we can all learn from and embody in our day to day.
What inspired the name, + VIBES?
Our name is our message – exude and embody positivity. Positive vibrations are contagious. It’s an energy people feel and love; an outlook on life and a reminder to be better in the mind and spirit. There is too much negativity in this world and it can be draining and exhausting at times. Life’s circumstances can bring people into deep, dark and negative places. We want to remind and encourage people to overcome these experiences by remaining positive. Accomplishment and empowerment through adversity can be achieved simply by one’s outlook on life.
There are a few things that + VIBES wants to achieve:
- The first is to perpetually remind our Earthlings to remain in a positive state of mind –eliminate negativity at every chance we get. If President Trump and Kim Jong-un of North Korea would exchange a couple +VIBES hats amongst each other, now that would be a great achievement! They sure could use a little more positivity in their lives.
- The second is to raise money for cancer research. We are not a charity. We believe that good business acumen can generate enough money to shave off 25% of our profits and direct that to cancer research.
- We want to raise the bar of what companies commit to sharing with their community and charities. You see a lot of 10%’ers out there. I think this segment deserves growth.
According to Dom, the most rewarding part of starting his own business has been the excitement of the venture that they have committed to and the unknown that must be navigated through. Additionally, being able to write cheques to cancer organizations and feeling like a part of the movement has kept the momentum of the brand alive.
On the other hand, there are certainly a few challenging parts. “First, would be keeping the momentum of progression at a healthy clip. You always have to be moving onwards and upwards otherwise the potential to remain in a rut is huge. Finding that next outlet of marketing or avenue of product visibility is a constant and dynamic piece of the puzzle. Vision alignment between partners can be a challenge as well. Maintaining a clear line of sight of the end goal with many moving parts of the business can be distracting amongst partners, especially when each are geographically separated. Constant ‘communicado’ is key.”
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs?
Dive right into it. Don’t be afraid of the unknown. Find a partner that believes and shares in the mission. Don’t do it alone. Also, reach out to mentors or people in the same boat who are ahead of you. I have to give a huge shout out to John Ross at Alberta Branded and Andy Nguyen at 6 streets and Playfield. They have been super helpful in providing advice to me entering this line of business. As well, give back to a cause or a community organization.
How do you stay motivated?
I call it ‘excited risk.’ I’m very risk tolerant so I am fine with the unknown and the future of this business venture. Chasing uncertainty feeds my motivation to continually pursue and move forward. As well, it’s fun to deliver our products and positive message. This for sure gives me energy to stay motivated.
I’m excited to see where + VIBES goes; impacting lives and encouraging a positive outlook on life. The goal for the brand is to diversify their products, scale this business model up and proliferate our brand and positivity. “With scalability, we will be able to generate more contributions for cancer research. We are coming out-of-the-gates with donating 25% of our profits. This is a large number but it puts our feet to the fire and keeps us hungry to progress.”
Photos by Hayden Pattullo | Check out his instagram