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Innovation & Job News

Peace Collective: the story of a local Canadian brand

When Yanal Dhailieh finished his degree in biomedical science from Waterloo, he wasn't convinced he was in the right field.

After graduating in 2012 he went on to find and leave several positions, including his most recent role as a corporate sales representative with Salesforce, which he left in 2015. Through it all, though Dhailieh had developed an interest in business and design, he had tens of thousands of dollars in student debt to pay.

“It’s really hard to take the first step,” said Dhailieh during a speaker’s event hosted by BrainStation. He continued working full time, all the while developing the clothing brand Peace Collective on the side, until the brand was ready to become more than just a side project.

"Before Peace Collective, I had very little experience with business, fashion or design,” said Dhailieh. However, neither did his co-workers.

"I think that's where most people's entrepreneurial drive starts from,” said Dhailieh, “unhappiness with the status quo.”

Now working with a team of six who have backgrounds ranging from banking to neuroscience, the local clothing brand Peace Collective has gone on to become a Canadian phenomenon.

This phenomenon, however, started as an experiment at a basketball game two years ago.

After printing 2 t-shirts that read "Toronto vs. Everybody" at the local printing shop Bang On, he and a friend wore them to the Raptors' playoff game. They had no idea their design would end up on TSN that night.

Since then, the brand has received endorsements from the Blue Jays, has acquired over 32 thousand followers on Instagram (“I owe my life to Instagram”) and has even collaborated with Norm Kelly to promote their message.

Peace Collective is among the first of many Toronto innovators to be featured in the BrainStation networking event, the Creators of Toronto Breakfast Series.

However, despite their overwhelming success in the past few years, the team has a more altruistic goal in mind.

Dhailieh charitable aspirations werre originally inspired by the popular shoe brand TOMS, which donated one pair of shoes to charitable causes for every pair purchased.

“I was mesmerized by the one-for-one model,”said Dhailieh. Almost immediately after deciding to start a business, he knew he wanted it to be about more than just the clothes.

He wanted his customers to associate Peace Collective with Canada and with charity.

“By me chasing my passion and doing what I love, I wanted to help future generations do the same,” said Dhailieh. “For every shirt you buy from us, it provides two healthy meals and a snack to a child in need.”

The team does this through the organization’s Breakfast for Learning. Furthermore however, Peace Collective offers their customers multiple opportunities to make a difference.

These include volunteering with the team, who goes out monthly to volunteer in the city, community involvement, where Peace Ambassadors can participate in a different activity or goal, and lastly, through donations.

Once everyone is full of bagels and thoroughly caffeinated, Dhailieh leaves BrainStation’s eager listeners with one final piece of advice.

“As you grow and deal with bigger companies, it’s harder to stay true to what you want to do.” He says the key to handling this dilemma is “knowing what you represent and making sure every decision complies with that.”

Source: http://brainstation.io/event/creators-peacecollective-201644161949
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