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Longtime friends, John Ross and Jeffery (Jeff) Schidlowsky have come together to create a clothing brand (T-shirts, hoodies, hats and toques) that celebrates our province: Alberta Branded.
“Alberta is a diverse group of individuals … John and myself have been working on an initiative that really represents Alberta,” says co-founder, Schidlowsky.
Born in Calgary, both have a strong appreciation of the province, and each of their families is well-rooted in the Alberta oil and gas sector along with the arts scene.
Ross completed his business degree with a major in marketing at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., where his father studied and is originally from.
“He’s very entrepreneurial and he’s pushed that a lot in my lifestyle. As a result, that’s how I’ve always been,” says Ross, whose role with the brand includes logistics, communications. He’s also the primary photographer.
Schidlowsky, on the other hand, focuses on the creative side and is responsible for the brand’s designs. As a child, his mother saw his drawing talent and enrolled him in a local art class where he honed his skills. He began his university career with a scholarship to play football with the University of Calgary Dinos and did so for three years. Currently, he has changed direction and is now pursuing mechanical engineering, more specifically mechatronics (a “culmination of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and control systems” as he puts it) at the University of British Columbia.
Having only been in business for the last nine months, the duo is gaining ground quickly thanks to some awe-inspiring photos on Instagram — @albertabranded — along with word of mouth. Each image is carefully selected and they have collaborated with various photographers, along with photos taken by regular Albertans to highlight the beautiful scenery around the province.
Schidlowsky describe the company’s logo like this. “Our main emblem starts off with a peak that represents the Rocky Mountains and the hiking in the surrounding areas, which is then centre focused by a tree that represents the national parks and our abundance of wild life. Below the tree is two lines that represent the agriculture, the prairies and the livestock our vast fields have; the overall subtle homage to the natural resources and success Alberta has had over the years is an oil drop that could also be seen as a forward thinking water drop towards a cleaner more environmentally friendly Alberta for the future.”
Alberta Branded clothes are available online at albertabranded.ca and at Cody & Sioux in Inglewood.
Here a bit more about the duo.
Q: What is the best piece of advice you received from your entrepreneurial father in starting your own business venture.
John: My dad has always pushed me to make the most out of my time and take the risks that others are too scared or worried to take. It is difficult for me to boil down my relationship and establish the one “best” piece of advice; his general support, as well as opinions have helped me tremendously on my path to entrepreneurship. He is always there to hear about what is happening and provide his feedback on any problems I may be having. As a result, my dad is usually more excited than I am when a big deal goes through.
Q: You mentioned taking art classes as a child every Saturday morning instead of watching cartoons. What is your most memorable experience from those days?
Jeffery: By five years old, I was obsessed with doodling comic book characters; in fact, I could write Star Wars before I could write my own name. My mom recognized quickly that I had an innate affinity for art, but that I needed a mentor to help me develop and refine my skills. The first time I met Tim Hoey, I was wearing my favourite Dragon Ball Z T-shirt, tear off sweatpants, rocking my dorky glasses and holding my grandfather’s art kit. At first, I was intimidated by Tim: a six foot two flannel wearing, greased hair, tattoo covered and incredibly smart man. For the next eight years, I spent every Saturday morning with Tim, who became just as much a fatherlike figure to me as an art teacher. He would teach me about life over Timbits and acrylic paint, as I saw my art skills improve. I can’t pinpoint one particular memory that surpasses another, because honestly, every Saturday with Tim was integral to my creative development.
Written By: ELLA CLARENS
Original Article: The Calgary Herald