Business Name: Maroons Road Apparel Website: https://maroonsroadapparel.com Established: 2021 Questions answered by: Heather Barkman
Can you please fully explain your business or product line?
Maroons Road Apparel is an apparel company co-founded by Sid and Heather Barkman, a married couple who are proud to call Winnipeg home.
We design t-shirts that celebrate Winnipeg sports and culture. We draw inspiration from the people, places, and things that make Winnipeg unique. It’s easy to take our city for granted, but there are so many things to celebrate and be proud of.
We took our company name from Maroons Road, the home of the old Winnipeg Stadium and Winnipeg Arena, and a place where Winnipeggers could come together to cheer on our teams, rock out to our favourite bands, and just be together.
Our first collection features the old Winnipeg Stadium and Winnipeg Arena, both created in a minimalist, line drawing style. We developed the images ourselves and then worked with a graphic designer to bring our vision to life. They’re printed right here in Winnipeg, and we love being able to work with another local business to bring our ideas from the computer screen to a shirt.
With the Winnipeg local maker community continuing to grow, what is the most important thing you’d like potential customers of your company to know?
The biggest thing that makes us unique is our focus on the places and traditions that we sometimes take for granted. With our first collection, the stadium and arena are no longer there, but we’ve heard from so many people that our shirts bring back memories and help them to relive some of their favourite experiences.
What inspired you to start your business?
Sid has always thought that he’d like to buy a shirt featuring the Winnipeg Stadium or the Winnipeg Arena, but we never found one. We’d talked over the years about trying to make them ourselves, but it never went beyond conversations. Then, the pandemic gave us a lot of time at home together, and we started talking more seriously about what we would need to do to make this idea a reality. We spent some time mocking up ideas and researching how to start a business and finally launched at the beginning of May 2021. It might not seem like the middle of a third lockdown would be the ideal time to launch a business, but it turned out to be wonderful. We’ve gotten to (virtually) connect with a lot of our fellow Winnipeggers, who have responded positively to our shirts and shared their memories. It’s been great to reminisce about when we could all be together to cheer on the Jets and Bombers, and it’s given us a lot of hope.
What was the biggest struggle you’ve had to overcome?
So far, our biggest struggle has been getting the confidence to just go for it. The hardest part has been getting our name and designs out there, but we’ve been thrilled to have our t-shirts resonate right away, and we think having the support of so many fellow Winnipeggers will help us face any future struggles head on.
What has been your biggest success as a maker?
Our biggest success has been finding something that resonates with other people and unlocks the same feelings of nostalgia that we had when we were coming up with the designs.
Do you have any advice that you would pass on to someone hoping to start up their own business or product line?
Just go for it! There’s never going to be a perfect time to start a business, but at some point, you just have to dive in and see what happens.
Please share any upcoming events as well as the best place(s) for people to purchase your product!
So far, we’re just selling through our website, but we look forward to joining some in-person markets in the future.