Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneurs are Daniel Phillips and Meghan Kraft, who launched their Canadiana lifestyle brand to offer local products of the highest quality that simultaneously open a dialogue about the influence fashion has on our planet…
1. Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
Illbury + Goose is a lifestyle brand specializing in Canadian manufacturing of clothing, accessories, leather, and apothecary products.
2. What was the inspiration for your career route?
D: A few years ago, we were looking for unique, high-quality t-shirt designs that weren’t mainstream. We did our own thing, and it was an accidental hit amongst our friends. We then realized we were onto something here. Working as a freelancer meant I had a flexible schedule, which contributed to Illbury + Goose having the room to take off.
M: We are a real-life couple, and we have our individual passions. For example, Dan has a background in graphic design, and he was the one who created our first t-shirt designs; still does to this day. I have a background in biological sciences and fashion. It’s an odd combination, but it works. These interests inspired what we do now. This is why we’re so committed to ethical, socially-conscious products. Our own shopping and lifestyle habits, as well as personal values, have become our business.
3. What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
M: So far, that would opening our first store this past summer. Three years ago it seemed so unattainable, and now we’ve crossed that off our list and are working toward the next big goal.
4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
D: Down the road, I see us opening more flagship stores across Canada. Toronto and Vancouver are at the top of this list.
M: Opening the dialogue about the influence fashion has on our planet, and the economy. If we can get young people thinking about that supply chain, and can be transparent about our own, we can help shape their buying decisions in the future. I think this is a big part of what we want to do in Canada and beyond.
5. Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
D: Stay focused on your core values. A lot of people have an opinion on how you should grow your business, but no one knows the full story like you do. It’s great to consider advice from your peers, but it can also be distracting.
6. Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
M: We helped build Melody School in Chimaltenango, Guatemala, through GiveGetGo. As part of our company’s commitment to supporting local, we also help a lot of organizations with donations and product collaborations to help boost support of area initiatives.
7. What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
D: Working together as a couple can be an opportunity and a struggle. We spend a lot of time together, and sometimes it can be difficult to balance that. It’s non-stop – we live and breathe this every day. There’s so much passion involved, that sometimes it becomes hard to divide work and life. Most of the time it’s pretty fun. Insert winky face here.
8. What does the word notable mean to you?
D: Being notable is being head of the class, the captain, the bee’s knees; it’s a pretty big thing.
M: Notable means having a unique perspective. If you see things from the same perspective as everyone else, you’re going to get the same results. Pushing boundaries and stepping outside of your comfort zone in order to change the status quo… that’s notable.
1. Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
D: In London it’s always a tie between The Only On King and The Black George. Burger Burger, Early Bird, The Root Cellar, and Thai Taste also all make our favourites list.
M: When we’re in Toronto, which is a lot, it would definitely be The Good Son. I love the eclectic menu and their cocktails are to die for.
2. What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser? The most played song on your phone?
M: Probably Shopify, but I pretty much always have a million browsers open all the time.
D: Chet Faker – 1988; probablyfthe all-time most-played song I have. Anything by Wolf Saga is also getting a lot of listens on my playlist lately.
3. Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
M: I recently came across an old friend’s Instagram account, called @stevenofnorth. I love his modern perspective on the beautiful Canadian outdoors. In my opinion, it’s an absolute must-follow.
4. What’s your favourite country to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
M: Definitely Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. I love the simplicity of life and how at peace I feel there. I could survive with just a bathing suit and my laptop.
D: That’s tough. Canada is super cool. We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful place, and it’s full of some really rad people, so we are planning to spend some time driving through our home country next year. Before that, in the next couple of months, Meghan and I will be heading to Arizona to spend some time planning our next Illbury + Goose collection.
5. What gives you the greatest FOMO?
D: You always see people doing cool things on Instagram. Like, “I want to go to this event, but it’s in Nepal.” I want to be everywhere at all times. That causes some serious FOMO.
6. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
D: Eating out too much! We are such suckers for fresh, local food and beer.
M: Probably eating takeout cheesecake on Sundays. It’s become kind of a ritual. The guy at our favourite spot knows us too well – it’s getting embarrassing! It’s seriously every single Sunday.
D: It really is.
7. What’s something you wish you didn’t spend so much money on? What’s something you wish you spent more on?
D: Beer. For both questions.
M: I wish we spent more on travel. Also, our home. We don’t spend much time in it right now, though!
8. And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
M: Success means being happy. It’s loving what you do every day. What feels the most successful is the impact we have on our community, our friends, and the people we work with.
D: It’s a big smile and doing something that means you can bring your dog to work with you.