To Moses Mandelbaum, the founder and creator behind Canada’s hottest winter coat company True Outliers, parkas aren’t just a clothing item to be worn when the temperature dips – they can also change the world.
Mandelbaum is no stranger to the clothing industry. Having grown up around his father’s business he learned the ins and outs of retail at a young age. We had the chance to sit down with him to learn more about how he’s created his parka empire, and how he plans to change the world, one coat at a time.
How did you get started?
My father owns a company called Gertex (if you bought hats or socks at companies like Walmart, chances are Gertex made it.) After college, I decided to work for my Dad and spent 2 and a half years working with him and learning. I did accounting, sourcing, the whole nine yards. I then spent the next 2 and a half years creating my own company and that was the making of True Outliers. It took me a while – I needed it to be perfect, but when I knew I developed the perfect coat I was ready to market it.
What type of Notable are you? Entrepreneur? Creator? Professional?
Definitely not a professional! Somewhere between entrepreneur and creator. I don’t sleep and I’m obsessed with reading. I’m working on another side company as well that I’m not quite ready to share yet. True Outliers is my passion. To be able to outfit people and keep them warm with a beautiful fashion accessory is amazing. It’s awesome to see some of my friends and more and more people I don’t even know wearing my jacket.
Tell me about why you love your job and the cool things you get to do.
I love every second. I get to go to China, source fabrics, understand different cultures, go to all these cool fashion stores that I’ve loved since I was a child. What’s more, is that I get to physically see the fruits of my labour. I love every second.
What do you want to be known for?
I’d like to be known for being a great person. I love humanity. I love people. I’ve been volunteering since I was a kid. It was really important to me to work with an organization that could give back. Right now we work with Chai Lifeline Canada: 10 cents of each jacket goes to the foundation and helps children who are sick as well as the families that need support during what can be an immensely difficult time. It helps make the kids feel special.
How about the worst mistake you ever made?
Thinking that I could do what no one else could. When I started, I thought I could create my product and my company in 6 months. I spent a lot of money and energy trying to push things forward. I had to swallow some humble pie and realize I had to give things time to get to where I needed them to be.
Is there a business decision you look back on now that you wish you’d made differently?
Nope. All of my mistakes helped shape who I am.
Tell me about a moment you knew you’d “made it”.
I threw a launch party on Sept 12. Every night I’ve gone out since random people come over and hug me and tell me how amazing my coats are. It’s awesome!
Tell me about some pivotal mentors or mentorship moments?
There is a Jewish adage that says, “every person has something to teach you that you don’t know” I have so many friends that I count on for different things. I have an awesome community, I love them all.
Tell me about parts of your personality or skills or approach that has helped in your career?
I’m relentless. When I want something nothing, no one will get in my way. I wanted to throw a TIFF after-party but was told it wouldn’t happen. I found out someone close to me had an in, and in the end I made it work in an unofficial way. If you believe something, make it happen.
What’s the one piece of advice that changed everything for you?
A family friend told me: “In life you can only pull out what you put in.” People think all this comes easy, but it’s not. It’s all a byproduct of effort and desire.
What’s the next challenge or project you’re tackling?
I’m working on outfitting the entire world in my coats.
Any hidden talents? Secret passions?
I love Judaism and I teach philosophy to 12th-grade kids. I taught at Aish Hatorah – I went one day out of curiosity and was invited back to teach.
Tell us a secret – don’t worry we won’t tell. What’s something we don’t know about you?
I’m actually an introvert. While I’m very social I love sitting by myself and reading and writing notes and processing my day. I take an hour to myself before I go to bed every night.
Where can we learn more about you?