Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Maureen Bradshaw, the founder of LOVBIRD:
Growing up in Northern Ontario gave me a love for nature and all things wild. It also provided the solitude to think and create. After graduating from art college, I came to Toronto and enjoyed a career in graphic design and I spent a decade of that time as a creative director as a co-owner of a mid-size design firm in the downtown core where I worked with young, talented creative people on fun and inspiring projects. I took a few years off to have a family and during that time became obsessed with oil painting and Ashtanga yoga.
What exactly is Lovbird?
Lovbird is a small, online, organic cotton t-shirt company that produces limited edition designs with heart-felt and inspiring, hand drawn graphics that are silk-screened onto the shirts. Lovbird chooses to promote a healthy planet by using organic cotton, and is striving to make a positive change to the way people approach their everyday lives days.
What inspired you to start Lovbird?
Lovbird is inspired by my obsession with drawing and love for yoga. I had been doing yoga for about 6 years and was missing my career in graphic design. I found myself searching for the perfect layering piece to take me to and from the studio and with addition experience with sewing my own clothes, I felt ready to tackle this new idea. I began work on LOVBIRD to fulfill a passion to create meaningful design and chose to use organic active wear as the vehicle. I feel that in creating the words and images for each t-shirt, I can express my own concerns for the world around me through my drawings. I find myself thinking about these garments as billboards to inspire people.
How did you come up with the name?
LOVBIRD stands for treating people and the earth with kindness. (I often use the hashtag: WEAR LOVE FEEL HAPPY). For me, the bird is the perfect symbol of nature, freedom, color and diversity, and the company name represents “spreading love” or to “love nature”.
What is your favorite part about running Lovbird?
My favorite part about running Lovbird is designing the graphics, and especially to see a customer excited about wearing the shirts I have created.
What is your least favorite part about running Lovbird?
My least favourite part about running Lovbird is the tech pack and sample making process which can last up to 9 months. We prepare final patterns, sample garments, and tech packs here in Toronto, which include detailed documents outlining measurements, stitching details and fabric weights. These are sent to India for production of the organic cotton shirts and we follow up with visits and video conferencing.
Where are your products sold?
The majority of our products are sold from our website Lovbirddesign.com. We do sell to a few studios from time to time, including Afterglow Yoga Studio in Toronto, and Moksha Yoga in Oakville. We also attend the Toronto Yoga Show and Conference every Year at Metro Toronto Convention Centre. (This year it is on April 12th-15) Lastly, you can check out our pop-up menu on our website which lists any upcoming shows or store pop-ups throughout the year.
You are on an ethical journey; can you tell us about that?
Ethical is very important to Lovbird so I have decided to produce my shirts from organic cotton and use factories with the Global Organic Textile Certification- GOTS. This decision is because I know the impact the toxic chemicals have on the earth’s air water soil and health of the families and animals in the area. I have read that with non-organic farming, the pests become increasingly immune to the pesticides used to control the amount of damaged crops, so the farms are forced to spray stronger and stronger pesticides to get the same yield from season to season and people are getting very sick from this. When Lovbird uses organic cotton it is grown without the use of toxic chemicals and synthetic fertilizers and genetically engineered seeds are prohibited. According to the official GOTS website under criteria, “A textile product carrying the GOTS label “organic” must contain a minimum of 95% certified organic fibers. “The factories we use are all GOTS Certified Organic and are Fair Trade Certified. We employ sewers and farmers who are experts at their jobs and whose families have been in the garment business for centuries.
How do you spread the word about your company?
We spread the word about our company through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, magazine advertising and attending local markets like the Evergreen Brick Works Organic Market in Toronto and local markets in nearby cities.
Do you have any advice for fellow entrepreneurs?
My advice to fellow entrepreneurs is to start small, have a business plan clearly outlined and make sure you have the resources to hire a social media consultant because it can make or break the success of you business. It is often costly to get booths at markets and big tradeshows so you need to be consistent and knowledgeable about how to do social media posts and selective when choosing which shows to attend.
Do you have a favorite quote or go to saying? 🙂
Follow your heart and do what you love!