Meet The Lady Behind The Ethically Made Basics Label, FRANC
We thought it was due time we asked our founder Brandy Mercredi, a few questions to learn the story of how FRANC started. You can also find an interview with Brandy about the nitty gritty of starting Franc.
What inspired you to start FRANC?
Owning my own clothing line was a looong time dream. Over the years as I shopped and designed for other brands, I realized there were a few things I was spending way too much time hunting down: basics that were made to last, that were timeless, classic but not boring. I was also increasingly frustrated with many of the practices that are just commonplace in the fashion industry, I knew things could be done better. Which inspired me to finally take my dream of owning a clothing line and do what I could to do better.
How did the name FRANC come about?
Well, I personally value honesty greatly and prefer when the truth is front row in all aspects of life. I wanted Franc to hold those honest and trustworthy qualities that I personally valued so much. The idea of honesty and keeping things real was the seed, from there Franc came about from the let's be honest/let's be straight saying "let's be frank", but I just switched out the K for a C.
How did you get your start design?
I studied fashion design in post-secondary, then worked in product development/design for a few large Canadian brands until eventually taking a step back to raise my kids. Which is when I started lifestyle blogging full time and consulting with small product and apparel based businesses helping them grow and create. That's basically the coles notes of my design resume.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is super casual and basic - big surprise. I aim to own things that are versatile and have a long lifespan in my wardrobe. I am a serial outfit repeater and am 99.9% a teenage tomboy at heart.
What are your closet staples?
Great fitting jeans (in several styles) and great fitting t-shirts. Great jeans and a well-fitting t-shirt are always to dress up or down - they are the can't go wrong staples. And somehow they've also become my can't have enough, closet collections.
What do you never leave the house without?
My cell phone and checking my teeth - food in your teeth is much worse than a bad pair of eyebrows. It's just hard to take anyone seriously when they look forever surprised or they have a giant piece of kale in their teeth.
What's your favourite accessory to go along with a basic?
I don't really have a favourite, but I do often opt for a strong pattern, a statement piece of jewellery, an unexpected layer or a really nice pair of boots - it really depends on where you're off too. Sometimes just a simple full tuck of your basic top can be an accessory in itself...if you don't usually do the full tuck that is.
What piece of advice would you give someone looking to start their own business?
Don't listen to all the reasons you shouldn't and start listening to all the reasons you should. Be a constant learner, you can never know too much and you can never be too prepared. Also, write everything down, your dreams, your plans, things you learn as you go through life - they will be helpful when you eventually do it (cause you will).
What makes ethical and sustainable fashion important to you?
I simply can't get over the fact that in so many factories, workers are treated so unbelievably poor and just so that other people can wear trendy pieces of clothing at super cheap prices - that they then often throw out after a couple months. I try my best to always treat people the way I want to be treated and that extends itself to the people who make Franc's clothes. I feel it's important to know that the people who make the things I enjoy personally, were just as happy making those things as I am owning them.
And sustainable, well we only have one planet - we should all do our part to take better care of it. We are constantly improving in this area as we grow, changing our packaging for recycled and recyclable, switching our fabrics to being knit and dyed in Canada.
*you can read more about our fabrics and manufacturing on our about page.
What are some of your other favourite Toronto based businesses?
I love Swell Made Co for artwork and little unique gifty things, Leaves Of Trees for creams and deodorant, mini mioche for my kids' clothes, fuzz wax bar for....well you get the picture and EVIO for organic makeup.
Also read: about why and how Brandy started Franc in another interview.