What is EITHER/OR?
EITHER/OR is an online shop that sells Canadian-made and designed sustainable fashion.
Where are you based?
I'm based in the beautiful city of Ottawa, Ontario, the capital of Canada. If you're from out of town and want to see what's to love about our home, visit Love Ottawa. To find out what's going on around town, visit Apt613.
What does your name mean?
Either/Or is the title of an essay written by the late philosopher Soren Kierkegaard.
The essay's about living a life for beauty or values but I know you don't have to choose between the two. I offer you a way to have both in your life, to shop for beauty and values.
I also liked Either/Or because it suggests limited options, and I've worked hard to hand-pick a collection of no more than a little over two-dozen pieces to showcase each season.
Who started this shop?
Why did you launch EITHER/OR?
I launched this shop to meet the growing demand for a one-stop, online shop that sells several sustainable and ethical Canadian brands under one virtual roof.
We've become far too removed from our clothing, from where it is made, by whom, in what conditions and at what cost to the environment. EITHER/OR connects people to Canadian brands that value local production, transparency and social and environmental responsibility.
How do you adhere to your values?
- I buy from Canadian designers who share my respect for people and planet and I put effort into building healthy relationships with them.
- I promote buying for quality, not quantity.
- I educate customers through the shop's blog, newsletter and social media accounts and I keep this business lean and nimble.
- I use packaging and branding products made out of recycled and post-consumer material.
- Most importantly, I'll grow this business slowly and steadily.
How do you pick which labels to carry?
I have a lot of fun searching for new labels to carry. I browse the internet to find Canadian labels and then narrow down the search based on the shop's criteria. You can read more about them here.
I carry labels that share in my respect for people and planet. Each one does this in different ways, but Canadian design and/or manufacturing is key. I want to encourage Canadian manufacturing as much as possible to help boost our economy, strengthen our garment industry and increase opportunities for designers.
To get a feel for the clothing, I try to meet designers in person. To reduce costs and conserve energy, I keep travel local or attend buying shows where I can meet a lot of designers all at once.
What are some reasons why you wouldn't carry a label?
A label has to share not only in my respect for people and planet, but also in the shop's philosophy of less is more. I prefer to work with labels that take pride in making high-quality pieces, not fast fashion.
The labels I carry don't cut corners to make a profit and they value design and durability above all else. I also favour the underdogs, the smaller, independent labels that are one-person operations or small businesses that employ fewer than 50 people. Once a label expands beyond a certain point, they probably don't need my support anymore and their absence makes room for a smaller operation to step in.
Lastly, if a label is consistently late on deliveries, disrespectful or if their pieces don't live up to my standards, I'll respectfully end the relationship.
Who are the designers behind the labels you carry?
The best way to get to know the designers behind the shop's labels is to visit each label's profile page, which will be up later this month. There you can read Q&A pieces with each designer.
I've met eight out of our ten designers in person and I can safely say that they're all genuine people who love their craft. They take pride in their work and I hope that you appreciate their skills.
If I'm unhappy with an item, do you tell the designer?
Yes. I want my designers to succeed and this means giving them any constructive feedback that they can use to improve their products.
Do you ever change labels? If so, why?
Yes. Every season I like to bring in new blood. I'll stay loyal to those labels that customers keep asking for, but I like to embrace change while staying rooted in my values of quality, comfort, durability and versatility.
How many seasons do you work in?
Two. Today's fast fashion industry launches a new collection almost every week. That's 52 collections a year. This system of mass consumption and waste is environmentally and socially unsustainable. I stick to two seasons a year, spring/summer and fall/winter.
This is the model that my labels follow and it means that my pieces have more longevity. I can respect my slow fashion-slow business model and focus on helping you shop thoughtfully.
Do you ever have sales?
Yes. I have sales to make room for new inventory when I transition from one season to the next, but because our labels' pieces are designed to be timeless and versatile, I don't have to worry about keeping up with trends and rushing to sell out.
What do you do with items that don't sell?
If an item hasn't sold at the end of two seasons and after a couple of price reductions, I'll submit the item for sale on Garmentory.
Shipping + returns
Do you offer free nation-wide shipping?
It depends. I'm pleased to offer free nation-wide shipping on all orders of $200 or more (before tax). All other Canadian shipments have a flat rate of $10.00 CDN.
Do you offer free U.S. and international shipping?
It also depends. For my cousins south of the border, I'm pleased to offer free international shipping on all orders of $300 or more (before tax). All other U.S. orders have a flat rate of $20.00. I also offer free shipping for international shipments of $350 or more (before tax). All other international orders have a flat rate of $25.00 CDN.
I'm not thrilled with my purchase. Can I return it?
Absolutely. I invite you to read up on the shop's policy on exchanges and returns to learn more.
I know that buying clothing online allows for more room for error than buying something in person. This is why I've worked hard to produce product shots that show the shop's pieces worn on different body types and with the personal wardrobe pieces of my models. I've also included each models' measurements to help you figure out which size is best for you.
How long do I have to return it?
I'm prone to procrastination and know that many of you are too. I'm happy to give you a 30-day grace period from the day of your purchase to return your item.
I live in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. Can I pick up my purchase?
Most definitely. On the checkout page, pick standard shipping (regardless of the value of your order) and leave a note on the page, telling me that you'd like to arrange a pick-up time. I'll email you within 24 hours to setup a time and refund you the shipping fee that was charged.
If there's ever a postal strike, how will you make sure I get my package?
Strikes are scary stuff for retailers. To avoid this risk, I've partnered with a shipping aggregator in addition to implementing a Canada Post app into the store. If Canada Post strikes, I have access to more than a handful of carriers who can guarantee your shipment will get to you on time, rain or shine.
How can I stay up-to-date on the shop's activities?
In several ways! Aside from visiting the shop, I invite you to subscribe to my stellar newsletter. I won't spam you, I promise. I'll only send you interesting blog posts about everything from profiles on emerging sustainable labels to how to properly care for your clothes. I'll write to you about exclusive collaborations I'm working on with designers and will give you early access to buy collections before everyone else.
You can also follow the shop on its social media profiles on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. I'm working on SnapChat but might be too old to get it.
Did you know you can also buy my products via the shop's Facebook page?
Why don't you use typical sales lingo like "must-have" or "buy now before it's too late"?
Great question. The reason is because this language encourages thoughtless consumption. Companies that use this wording just want you to buy their stuff and keep buying it, regardless of whether or not you like it all that much or even need it.
I never want you to make a purchase made in a panic or made under false pressure. I want you to dress thoughtfully and this means planning your purchases in advance based on your lifestyle and your current wardrobe. This means buying quality pieces that'll last and that'll incorporate effortlessly into you existing wardrobe.
Do you know of other online stores like yours?
Yes! I'm proud to be a part of an online community of wonderful shops that sell sustainable fashion, accessories and household goods. Below is just a sample of them.
Feel free to visit my sustainable fashion blog, EF Magazine and scroll down the right-hand side of the screen to see more.
- 98 percent
- Amanda Moss
- Elizabeth Suzann
- Flock Boutique
- Goods Shop
- Green Tree Eco-fashion
- Jasmine Virani
- Nicole Bridger
- Of A Kind
- VETTA Capsule
I'd like to learn more about sustainable fashion. Can you point me in the right direction?
Absolutely. There is a lot to know and, thankfully, a lot of reputable sources to check out.
- Ethical Fashion Forum
- Ethical Writers Coalition
- Sustainable Fashion Initiative
- Fashion Takes Action
If you're sold out of an item, can you order more of it for me?
It depends. I'll be more than happy to order you an item that is out of stock if and only if that item's label can confirm with that it has enough material to make it.
Do any of the labels you carry make signature items that appear in every collection?
Some do and some don't. Again, it all depends on the label.