It's only August, but 2022 has been yet another year of big change for us at 49th Apparel. One of our new projects was that we took on our very first Wholesale customer!
Debbie O'Reilly, resident of Burk's Falls, reached out to us about carrying our Pajama Sets in her new store, The Mag. Our first response was "Sorry, we are too small to manage wholesale production". And then we stepped back and thought that a small Canadian Cottage Cozy store in Muskoka would be a really good fit. Debbie was interested in ordering small batch pajamas from our existing inventory, yay!
Why did we make an exception for Debbie? I think, partly, because she is also from Northern Ontario. Debbie (and her husband) both grew up in the Sudbury area. When we asked Debbie, What do you love about Northern Ontario she wrote "-we wanted to make sure our daughters knew about the beauty and the solid people of the North. The tug to return to the North (even if just as cottagers) was as much about the ruggedness of the landscape as it's warm and generous people."
After years spent in Southern Ontario, in 2017 the O'Reilly's bought a beautiful cottage near Burk's Falls. Debbie paints a pretty picture of a cute village with the Magnetawan River winding through it. After spending their career in Marketing, Debbie and her husband (yep, he's that Terry O'Reilly from Under the Influence on the CBC) moved to Burk's Falls full time in Fall 2020. In September 2021 they bought an old brick building off the main street and began their retail adventure.
Debbie tells the story: "Over the winter months, Terry (husband) managed the building renovations, Callie (middle daughter) worked on the logo design and all that entails. Sidney (youngest daughter) built the website, started gathering social media followers, and brainstormed and sourced with me, the kind of products we would be offering. Shea (oldest daughter) cooked up our first grandson - Fin Harris. He is our baby clothing model and I must admit the most handsome model you'll ever meet."
We emailed Debbie and asked her to share some of her favourite things. Here are her answers:
If you could have one item with you on a secluded Northern Ontario Island, what would it be? A hard 2000 piece puzzle (and many cases of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand)
What do you sell at The Mag that's the epitome of Canadian Cottage Cozy? I know you're going to roll your eyes when I say this, but it is your pajamas!
Pajama Set or Nightshirt? Pajama Set, of course. Nothing
better than a tub and then slip into my daisy jammies.
What is your favourite summer time snack? Most definitely, it's chocolate ice cream. Preferably Chapman's Ice Cream (from Markdale, ON) or from the new ice cream store that just opened up here in Burk's Falls - The Northern Moose. I don't fear the moose!
Best kept secret in Burk's Falls? The locals would not consider this a secret, but most people wouldn't know there is a lovely 5-pin bowling alley in town (right on the Magnetawan River) called River Bowl.
And another thing... One thing I would like to share is the joy I feel when I chat with all the lovely women who come into the store to shop and all the amazing people I have the privilege of meeting on my journey to purchase inventory for the store. It was an unexpected gift. I like to tell stories about many of the items we sell in the store.
We're so grateful to Debbie for taking the time to answer our questions and all the kind words she had to say about 49th Apparel. It's such a privilege to work with this small Northern retailer in sharing all things Canadian cozy.