David’s Tea

Ahhhhhh, there’s nothing quite like lounging at home with a steamy, foamy chai tea latte in a lovely mug. I just can’t get enough.

I’ve tried the chai latte everywhere, but David’s Tea offers my absolute favourite in their “chai and mighty” tea. Jumping Bean, a company in NL, serves up a very close (and delicious) second.

What makes David’s Tea stand out?

It isn’t just the fab lattes at David’s Tea that I adore. This is a great Canadian company that started less than 10 years ago in Toronto with one shop and has since ballooned to become 200 shops across North America. It’s a hit!

They offer excellent customer service, unique and high quality products, modern and attractive packaging in vibrant colours, and a pleasant in store experience. They know what their customers want and they serve it with a stylish smile.

David’s Tea offers a lovely latte in store, and they also sell take-home supplies and accessories to enable you to make the dreamy drinks yourself. They know how to hook you!

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My DIY David’s chai and mighty latte at home. I like it a latte

How do David’s Tea’s signature elements translate into their web and social media presence?

That signature David’s Tea teal (hmmm, I wonder if they chose that brand colour because it has the word “tea” in it?) is all over their physical stores, website (including an online store), and social channels. Their loyalty cards are the shape and colour of their disposable tea cups, and they use the cup icon throughout their website and social channels. Even their FAQ page is attractive and iconographic!

On Facebook, David’s Tea has a corporate page but also has local pages for the locations in each province (e.g. there is a page for the location I frequent in St. John’s, NL). This extends the local feel of the company and helps customers to feel it is somewhat homegrown.

Interactions on the company’s Facebook and Twitter accounts are responsive and friendly. They are translating the in store experience into the online experience.

The bright, vibrant colours from the shop are also brought into the online and social tools, and the signature David’s Tea fonts (they use two) are everywhere on these channels. They apparently have very clear brand standards and their team is very good at following these guidelines.

What can we learn from David’s Tea?

I think we can learn that it’s wise to pick one thing (in this case, tea), and do it really, really well. The comfort, relaxation and health aspects of tea are at the forefront of this brand, yet they add something unexpected. David’s Tea has single handedly succeeded in making tea a treat. The everyday hot cuppa we all knew and loved is gone, and it’s been replaced by a fashionable, fun, treat yo’self teal cup.

There is also cohesion across the products, customer service, and visual identity of the brand. Much like the yellow arches or the swoosh, the teal tea cup is becoming an icon that is clearly and distinctly linked to its company and its audience experience.

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CanCon

Canadian content is what’s up.

I’m passionate about buying Canadian products and supporting Canadian companies. This compulsion stems from my parents’ mindful approach to consumer goods (always asking “where was that made?”) and my own interest in supporting local merchants in my home province (Newfoundland and Labrador) and across the country.

I’m also a bit of a shopaholic. If I’m not on a physical quest for the latest clothing, home wares, office supplies or gifts, I’m on a virtual trek online. I experience great joy when I discover high quality, stylish, ethically made goods. I’m also really interested in helping Canadian companies flourish, and I promise that I do my very best to contribute – one purchase at a time. All within a reasonable budget, of course. 🙂

This blog is a celebration of Canadian made products and Canadian companies. I’m interested in taking a look at what sets them apart, how their signature elements translate into their web and social media presences, and what we can learn from them.

I invite you to join me on my retail excursions here on this site. But beware: you may need a latte break here and there! Let’s get shopping.

 

La Canadienne

The best winter boots I have ever owned are from La Canadienne. Hands down. The best. No contest.

My La Canadienne boots are the most comfortable, waterproof, non-slip and resilient winter boots I have ever had the pleasure of wearing.

If you’re envisioning a clunky, rubber boot/winter boot hybrid, you couldn’t be more wrong. These boots are fashionable and can be worn with a skirt or dress. In fact, there have been many winter days when I haven’t even bothered to switch into shoes when I get into the office. They’re that lovely.

And the quality is second to none. I bought two pairs of their boots in fall 2008 – one black pair and one tan. That’s nine winters ago. I’ve worn both pairs every winter until this year. The black pair had finally seen their end. The tan pair lives on.

While the price tag may seem daunting at first (their waterproof boots range from $400-$600), they are worth every single loonie. In 2008, I paid $350 for each pair of boots, and they lasted eight winters (plus more, in the case of the tan pair). Over eight winters, at $350, the black boots cost me $43.75 per winter. And that’s a long, Canadian winter. A wet, slushy, icy, wretched Canadian winter that seems to last for half of the year. What kind of boots can you get for $43.75? Ugly, crappy, plastic, junk boots, that’s what.

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This lil’ pair of boots is trudging through its NINTH winter!

 

What makes La Canadienne stand out?

La Canadienne was founded in Montreal in 1961. According to their website, their aim was to “create comfortable, versatile boots that would offer unbeatable protection against the cold, wet Canadian climate.” N-n-n-nailed it!

Their collection of waterproof boots is made in their factory in Montreal. It is one of the last family-owned shoe factories in the country, with more than 70 years of experience manufacturing footwear.

They use environmentally friendly dyes and high quality Italian hides that are by-products of the food industry. I mean … !

My boots lasted eight winters. And they were lovely to wear. The quality was second to none and they looked great. What more could you ask for? A matching handbag, perhaps?

How do La Canadienne’s signature elements translate into their web and social media presence?

If you scroll down a little on La Canadienne’s website, it becomes clear that the “made in Canada” element of their brand is one that’s important to the company and its customers. It is a distinctive brand value. There is even a “how it’s made” section of their website which takes customers through the manufacturing process, from design to packaging.

Their site also offers the option of a “personal online shopping appointment.” This option signals that La Canadienne is different from your average footwear retailer. There is an element of luxury, attention to detail, and personalized customer service that is certainly not the norm.

In terms of social media presence, the company is active on Facebook and Instagram, and the “made in Canada by Canadians” is clearly a signature sell for them. Their Facebook page and Instagram accounts feature gorgeous photos of models wearing La Canadienne products in wintry Canadian settings. Customer comments underneath the photos are raving about the workmanship of the footwear. The brand is sophisticated, cool, and comfortably Canadian.

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Photo Credit: La Canadienne Facebook page

What can we learn from La Canadienne?

Though their website and Facebook page definitely highlight the distinctive qualities of the brand, customer satisfaction reigns supreme.

Word of mouth for this company is stellar. Along with the positive comments on their social channels, I’ve experienced their customer fandom first-hand. I first became aware of the company through a colleague in 2008 (coincidence that I bought two pairs that year? Nope.). She is a stylish woman who wore a beautiful pair of chocolate brown suede winter boots to the office. When I asked her about the boots, she raved about them and said they were her second pair from the same company: La Canadienne. When she told me they were made in Montreal, I knew I needed to get in on that action.

From La Canadienne, we learn that making high quality goods here in Canada that are custom made for our climate is a brilliant idea. There is customer demand for these Canadian made products and for the personalized service their company offers. And there’s free shipping!

This past fall, I purchased new, black winter boots made by another Canadian company, Pajar, for about half the price of the La Canadienne boots. I can say that I am less than half as satisfied. The boots are fashionable, but not quite as classic as La Canadienne. The workmanship also fails to measure up, and I contacted Pajar when, just a few weeks into wearing my new boots, one of the heels came loose. I have not received a response from them, and this was three months ago. There is a great deal to learn from La Canadienne. And I’ll bet you can guess from whom I will purchase my next pair of winter boots. 🙂

Happy winter, fellow Canadians! If we must trudge through the snow and slush, we may as well do it in style.