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Down by the river with the white Reflections T-shirt. Te brands Two of Chris’ biggest passions are


garment design and cabin life, so in setting up Oak + Oar the choice of name was a simple one. “I love the lake. I tag along to my parents’ place in the Whiteshell. You don’t have the distrac- tion of the Internet and phone; you can just focus on design stuff. I thought it would be pretty cool if I could mix my two hobbies and make a business out of it.” Friends and partners, Ryan Mack and


Dallas Siemens, had gone to university in Saskatchewan and had graduated with business backgrounds. Te pair left Chris free to focus on the design aspect of their enterprise and his own. Oak + Oar, is currently selling in two


locations, TUB and Stylebar, in Winni- peg. Olé has built off some of the older firm’s following and has hit the ground running. It is carried at the Normandy Shoppe in Winnipeg and at three loca- tions in Saskatchewan. It’s always nice to have friends


Chris has benefitted from the social


prominence of some of his clientele, with many players of the Winnipeg Jets seen sporting his gear. Chris’ friend and barber, Dru Bar-


row from Hunter & Gunn, bought some of the Oak + Oar products, and word spread. Dru cuts hair for several


thehubwinnipeg.com Chris with Oak + Oar gear at TUB.


members of the Winnipeg Jets. When defenceman Mark Stuart dropped in at the shop and saw Dru wearing Oak + Oar clothing, he inquired about the brand. He has since become a regu- lar customer. In fact, Mark became an ongoing fan of the brand even helping design an Oak + Oar belt in company with Chris and Vancouver based leath- er designer Ken Diamond. Chris, Ken and Mark then decided to stage a pop-up event, and to Chris’ sur-


prise, most of the Jets roster showed up. Taking the leap


Looking back, Chris does wonder


sometimes if he should have taken the plunge and gone fulltime into the cloth- ing business when he came back from New York, instead of waiting to see if Oak + Oar would take off on its own. He encourages others to take the risk now rather than regretting it later. Chris’s ad- vice for would-be entrepreneurs is “ Just go for it as soon as you can.”


Fall 2015 • 41


Photo by Derek Gagnon. Photo courtesy of Oak + Oar.


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