When then 17-year-olds Ben MacDonald and Cody Cudmore of Charlottetown decided they’d try the clothing business on for size two years ago, they had no idea it would be a perfect fit.
In fact, Island Flow Clothing is still streaming along quite nicely.
To date, they’ve sold more than 5,500 pieces of Island Flow Clothing, and just recently their second annual T-shirt fund- and awareness-raising campaign brought in $1,075 for the Canadian Cancer Society, P.E.I. division.
“We come out with new designs every now and again,” MacDonald says of Island Flow’s regular clothing lineup. “We’ll be putting out two or three in the new year.”
MacDonald and Cudmore founded Island Flow Clothing in 2011 when they were in their final year at Colonel Gray Senior High School.
A class in entrepreneurship sparked the idea of them creating a sportswear clothing company.
“We thought it would be cool to try to make something that’s our own and that we can wear — something different from American Eagle and (brands) like that,” MacDonald says.
“It originally took us a couple of months to think of a name. We just started writing down everything. We narrowed it down to 10 good ones and then finally just by process of elimination (we went with Island Flow).”
With their company name set, the teens came up with a Flow design to emboss on T-shirts that they purchased a few at a time at first. The screen printing and cresting was done by a local company.
“It’s simple, and simple sells. We put it on some shirts and we started wearing them. My brother and his brother and it just had a spiral effect,” MacDonald says.
“It seemed like when people saw it, everyone wanted it,” adds Darcy Cudmore, who stepped in to help out with the business a few months ago when his brother, Cody, went to Australia.
“People were coming from Montague and Souris schools just because they’d seen it around. It was kind of word of mouth.”
Flow’s popularity picked up, thanks to these local walking billboards, so they decided to go with bigger orders to reduce the cost of production.
They added hoodies to their Flow wear line, which sport a signature hockey lace instead of a typical hoodie string.
They now also carry sweatpants, zip-ups, hats, tank tops and more.
Cody also created a website where customers can easily order online. And Island Flow Clothing has a Facebook page that has more than 2,300 likes.
Island Flow’s T-shirt campaign to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer started in 2011 because they had family members who had been affected by breast cancer.
That campaign raised $785. All of the profits from the sales went directly to the Canadian Cancer Society, P.E.I. division.
For 2012 they designed a T-shirt with a stylized pink ribbon and the word “fight” on it.
In addition to having them for sale at Roots, Darcy and Devon Cudmore, along with Morgan Rice, went to various sporting events and sold them on the spot to patrons.
More than 100 T-shirts were sold, resulting in a $1,075 donation.
“It was a good response,” Darcy says. “Obviously everyone wanted to help. Almost everyone has been affected at some point by breast cancer so there was a lot of support.”
Island Flow donated the leftover shirts to the Cancer Treatment Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital where they will be given out to new breast cancer patients.
It’s likely the campaign will run again in 2013.
“I’d say why not because every little bit of money helps,” says MacDonald, who now lives in Amherst, N.S., where he plays junior A hockey.
“From $700 the year before up to almost $1,100, it’s just going to keep getting bigger. Hopefully they can use that money to get whatever can help out the most.”
AT A GLANCE
Just the facts
Island Flow Clothing was founded by Ben MacDonald and Cody Cudmore in 2011 when they were 17 years old.
To date they have sold more than 5,550 items locally as well as across Canada and the United States.
For more information, visit www.islandflowclothing.com.