Jordan McTaggart, the 28-year-old founder of YourNorthApparel.ca, is an enthusiastic business owner who knows exactly what he wants to accomplish with his adventure clothing company.
Your North Apparel has always focused on the lifestyle of appreciating nature and having people be a part of something bigger in the world.
“The clothing represents our philosophy — that we’re essentially a family who support each other and the environment around us.”
His enthusiasm for Northern Canada is evident in his absolute commitment to experiencing and celebrating the splendours of nature. Jordan loves the rugged mountain ranges, lush lakes and majestic rivers of Canada.
The journey to grow his brand into the simple, stylish and natural clothing line it has become has taken him from idealistic dreamer to accomplished designer, chief marketer and CEO.
A seed is planted
Started in 2016 as an abstract idea to celebrate the awe and beauty he experienced when hiking and camping in Peace Country, Jordan initially created his classic t-shirts, hats and sweatshirts as a hobby.
Selling to his buddies and friends soon graduated to setting up pop-up shops and then to regular booths at local farmer’s markets.
By 2018, Jordan could see the growing demand for his comfortable and stylish clothing outgrowing his current sales practices, and he knew he had some decisions to make. Wearing the many hats of an entrepreneur definitely fit into his plans for his future.
The potential of the brand growing made me realize that YourNorthAparrel.ca was something I could really enjoy doing full time.
All he needed were some scalable solutions to meet his marketing, sales and customer communication needs.
A website sprouts
For an avid outdoorsman like Jordan, spending hours at a desk figuring out the back end of a sales website was not something he relished.
But continuing to use social media as a ‘sort-of’ sales platform, wasn’t sustainable or efficient either. Knowing he’d need to get serious about sales, inventory and marketing campaigns, he turned to GoDaddy for options.
Almost immediately, he decided to go with the easy online store builder from GoDaddy.
“It was super easy — setting up the YourNorthApparel.ca website with the GoDaddy website builder was really simple. You start by choosing your theme and picking the colour scheme. I was able to upload my own photos and just slot them in where I wanted them.”
The website feature Jordan liked best then (and now!) is the ability to use his smartphone to update and keep inventory current no matter where he is in the world.
Updating sales and communicating with customers is all just a few keystrokes away, as his active lifestyle keeps him on the move.
When asked why he chose a .ca for his website domain name, Jordan was clear.
We chose the .ca for the Canadian look of it, as we are a Canadian company.
“Our brand encapsulates the outdoors, hiking and adventure — simple and stylish. And the website name represents that for me.”
Sales take off
Once the website was up and running, orders started coming in fast and furious. Jordan found that uploading new photos and inventory quantities was easy, fast and convenient.
“All of our sales now come through our GoDaddy website. We manage our email campaigns, and marketing through it as well.
Managing the website and digital store from my phone has made it incredibly easy for the company to evolve.
“Orders have spread to British Columbia, Saskatchewan and even into the United States.”
Jordan recognises that GoDaddy has been a game changer for him. By helping him to create the public face of his business on the web, “they have given me the ability to work from anywhere in the world and conduct sales at any hour of the day.”
Little did Jordan realize just how valuable this would become with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The online retail climate changed almost overnight when the pandemic hit Canada in late 2019. COVID-19 was also a game changer for Your North Apparel.
Flourishing and giving back
“Quarantine and isolation made everything in real-world retail slow down. By contrast, our online sales shot through the roof during the first part of COVID. People were at home on their devices doing more online shopping. While brick-and-mortar businesses suffered, our digital retail flourished.”
Jordan felt it important to give back to the community because he was “grateful for the support from our customers to buy local and support us. In return, I wanted to encourage people to get out into nature and not sit at home in isolation.”
Jordan began posting gorgeous panoramic photos of himself out in the Rockies, or on the banks of rivers in the hopes it would motivate others to get back out into nature.
The YNA motto, “Mountains are medicine,” can be traced back to that time period.
Jordan’s next goal is to steadily grow and expand his customer base into Western Canada and eventually to become a force in the lifestyle apparel industry Canada-wide.
“I’ll see people wearing Your North Apparel locally — it’s become a common thing now to see our brand in larger cities as well.”
Jordan continues to advocate and educate people on the benefits of going outdoors. “It’s about the journey and embracing life and the experiences it can bring. Enjoying every step of the way and enjoying every day — not looking too far ahead or behind.”
His advice for other small business owners is to be constantly learning, and evolving while enjoying nature and absorbing the lessons business brings. A healthy work-life balance is essential for success and wellbeing, made possible for Jordan by running his business remotely using the GoDaddy Online Store.
To those struggling to find that same balance he has this to say: “Don’t compare yourself to other companies or similar businesses - focus on your product and your goals. Focus on why you started and what you want to accomplish and that is how success will find you.”