You might see the birth of the Wuxly Movement as a fluke, an idea that sparked a career change from professional football linebacker to international parka producer. Others, perhaps more sentimental, view it as a love story.
It all began when Canadian Football League (CFL) linebacker James Yurichuk was playing for the B.C. Lions and got traded to his hometown Toronto Argonauts. With no choice but to move to the colder side of Canada, Yurichuk knew what his next step had to be. “My girlfriend had never even seen snow before, so I knew I had to get her the warmest winter jacket,” says Yurichuk.
But after looking all over Toronto for a parka, Yurichuk couldn’t find anything that met his criteria. “I saw all of these great Canadian brands, but being an animal-lover myself, I couldn’t get down with the fur,” says Yurichuk. “I thought there had to be a better way.”
After researching what the military was using and looking into technical fabrics, he came across what was known as PrimaLoft, a material that performed better than other fabrics when wet, was lightweight, and was animal-free. He took the material to a manufacturer and had a coat made for his girlfriend, and that’s when his idea for Wuxly took off.
“We’ve done quite a bit of lab testing and field testing, but for me the ultimate test was having a Brazilian woman experience her first snowy winter in Canada with this jacket and stay warm,” says Yurichuk. And after falling in love with her new parka, Yurichuk’s girlfriend married him—perhaps the strongest testament to the Wuxly Movement of all.
Since that test was passed, Yurichuk went on to launch a Kickstarter in 2015. Kickstarter is a global crowd-funding platform with a focus on creativity and merchandising, and a mission to “help bring creative projects to life.”
The Wuxly Movement’s Kickstarter appeal garnered immediate success. “There was instant demand,” says Yurichuk. After running Wuxly and playing football at the same time, Yurichuk ended his career in the CFL in 2016 and decided to pursue the parka company full time.
Yurichuk says quality is what made Wuxly stand out initially. Wuxly’s parkas are made to withstand the coldest winter temperatures while looking stylish. Because they contain no animal products, they’re less bulky and more practical for everyday wear.
“I think people saw from the beginning that the parkas aren’t just a bunch of animal-free products that we’ve slapped together. They’re carefully curated and put together in a way that could outperform other Canadian-made parkas,” says Yurichuk.
Wuxly sells some of their inventory in brick and mortar stores, but the bulk of its business is in e-commerce. After garnering media attention and a good reputation, the company’s sales started growing rapidly and Yurichuk realized it was time to get some help with working capital.
Growing up and shipping out
Yurichuk’s orders were coming fast and furious as word spread quickly about the well-crafted parkas. And they weren’t just from Canada. When orders starting coming from the United States and Europe, he quickly learned that adequate cash flow would be key to the business. After hearing about EDC from some of his business mentors, Yurichuk decided to reach out and take advantage of the EDC Export Guarantee Program.
“Fashion is a capital-intensive business and at the end of the day, the company owners are the last people to get paid,” says Yurichuk. “Help from EDC allowed us to have sufficient cash flow to operate the company and the ability to work to our full potential.”
Yurichuk also knew that getting an order wasn’t the only important step of the process. The next crucial part was fulfilling the order. “You have to really work to please the consumer as best you can, especially with a high price point item,” he says.
Shipping internationally also wasn’t as easy as the company originally thought, so it turned to one of EDC’s partners, eShipper, for support. eShipper picks and packs the orders that come in from Wuxly’s e-commerce platform and provides real-time warehouse management so Wuxly always knows what it has left in stock.
“Partnering with eShipper gives us the ability to concentrate on what we’re good at, which is brand development, marketing, and manufacturing. For shipping and logistics—we leave it to the experts,” says Yurichuk.
Partnering with eShipper gives us the ability to concentrate on what we’re good at, which is brand development, marketing, and manufacturing. For shipping and logistics—we leave it to the experts.
Canadian made, internationally loved
Each Wuxly parka uses Canadian materials, whether its the laces from Toronto or the outer shell from Montreal. Wuxly plans to continue its international push, as markets like Germany and Norway are starting to really take off for the brand. And despite the international success, Yurichuk says the company will always stay true to its roots. “There’s a certain trust and prestige that comes from a Canadian-made parka. It’s made by the hands that experience some of the coldest winters in the world.”
Help from EDC allowed us to have sufficient cash flow to operate the company and the ability to work to our full potential.
EDC service used
Our Export Guarantee Program can help your bank provide you with additional access to financing.
We share the risk with your bank by providing a guarantee on the money you borrow, encouraging them to increase your access to working capital.
eShipper services used
Shipping and fulfillment
eShipper provides a complete integrated warehousing and fulfillment service designed to scale with your business. A dedicated Account Representative creates a tailored shipping program to save your business anywhere between 40-80% on shipping and ensures products are packaged to your brand’s unique specifications. You never have to touch a package but will still receive full visibility of the entire process through our eOrder Warehouse Management System. Orders are received through our Shopify app and fulfilled the same day with full tracking.
Photos supplied by Wuxly Movement and photographed by George Pimentel