By Kathryn Stocks
When Kacie Statia and Alexa Schopfer came up with the idea of starting a business to sell cozy lined winter hats, they were trying to fill a niche. They found that the hats they were buying for themselves just weren’t warm enough for a Canadian winter.
The two sisters both have full-time jobs but on December 14 they launched their online business on the side and called it Finding the Warmth. They sell knitted hats in seven colours with either real fur or faux fur pompoms for women. For the men, they have beanies in three colours. All have a soft fleece lining that will keep your head warm on the coldest days. “It’s the liner that gives them a difference,” Kacie said.
The hats are sourced overseas because the sisters realized there would be no profit if they were handmade. Kacie is a knitter and knows just how much time it would take. They add a personal touch by sewing their special FTW labels on when they receive the hats.
The sisters grew up in the Port Union area and attended Sir Oliver Mowat Collegiate. Kacie, 28, whose main focus is operations, lives in an apartment in Port Union and she receives the shipments. Alexa, 24, lives in a house in Stoney Creek and she’s in charge of sales and marketing, which includes mailing the hats out. They advertise through word of mouth and on social media like Instagram and Facebook.
They got their business up and running just in time for Christmas and they sold 50 hats in December and another 10 the first few weeks of January. Alexa said they had 12 sales on their first day, with only three to people they knew. They ordered a handful of each style and found that some went quickly. The black ribbed style with a fur pompom has been the most popular.
But the sisters aren’t just concerned about selling, they’re also concerned about giving. That’s why for every hat they sell, they donate a plain black toque to Covenant House Toronto, Canada’s largest agency serving at-risk, homeless and trafficked youth.
“At 16, you’re leaving home because home is bad,” Kacie said. When they donate the hats, the young people know that “someone cares about them.” They delivered 50 hats to Covenant House in December and they were very well received.
The sisters are finding it interesting to be in business together and they are still working out the kinks. Alexa said, “As sisters we fight, which can make it tough.” Kacie added, “It’s hard when there is just two of you. You need to see eye-to-eye on everything.”
What’s next for the young entrepreneurs after the winter hat season is over? “It won’t end come summer,” Alexa said. They’re looking for opportunities to branch out and grow the business. After all, everyone is looking for warmth whether it’s winter or summer. Check out their collection at findingthewarmth.ca.