Roots Canada positions itself as “Canada’s leading lifestyle brand.” The company was founded in 1973 by Michael Budman and Don Green while they were camping in Algonquin Park. The company credits Canadian “nature, culture, sports and human
diversity” as major sources of inspiration. Their logo is a nod to the Canadian beaver.
I’m a longtime fan of Roots. As a Canadian tween, I recall a deep longing for the classic red Roots sweatsuit. I remember my mother allowing me to have the red jogging pants for a school ski trip and I was elated. In my late teens, I was planning a trip and needed a new backpack. Of course, I bought a red Roots knapsack. In my twenties, I bought several leather bags from Roots – each made in Canada – and they are still in great shape 10 years later. I also own a few Roots hoodies, and have bought the adorable baby jogging suits for my niece. How could I not? I love Canada and I love Roots!
What makes Roots stand out?
Roots’ Canadian-ness makes it stand out. Who would think people would want to wear sweatshirts with beavers on the front? Somehow, because of the lore and distinct style Roots has carefully curated over the years, we love it.
Roots’ leather collection is also unique. Their leather line is high-quality, Italian leather, and the products are designed and made in Canada. You pay more than you would for a wallet or purse in the local mall, but you will have the piece forever. And you can own and sport it with pride, knowing that it is fine quality and made here.
How do Roots’ signature elements translate into their web and social media presence?
Roots is currently running a #RootsIsCanada campaign throughout their social channels. This is a perfectly on-brand strategy for them, and further builds the company’s status as a Canadian brand with Canadian style and values.
The company also highlights the changing seasons in Canada through social and shares photos and videos of activities and traditions across the country. The Roots Cabin Collection is front and centre this spring, signalling a return to our escapes from the city, and reminding us of the comfy, cozy attire we don for such trips.
Roots’ social channels are not about products. They are documenting and presenting a Canadian lifestyle, wherein products simply help us live that lifestyle in comfort and style.
What can we learn from Roots?
From Roots, we learn that nationalism sells. We trust this company because it is so essentially Canadian. We wear beavers on our clothing and purses because they demonstrate our pride in our country.
We also learn that, as long as a decent portion of products are made in Canada, and the brand sells Canada as an overall idea, they will get away with not carrying exclusively Canadian-made products. The clothing lines for Roots are not made in Canada, nor are the fabric bookbags or totes. The only Canadian-made items in their stores are the leather goods. Yet, we believe the brand is Canadian. We learn that the brand story is just as important – if not more so – than the products themselves.