who we are
Blackhare is a partnership between Monica and Nick (who also happen to be married). We're quite literally an online mom and pop shop. We take a lot of pride in our work and are very happy to be able to make products people love for a living every day. We do all of our design work and printing in our home studio in the small maritime town of Sackville, New Brunswick.
Nick is a self taught illustrator, photographer, and screen printer, as well as a decorated Canadian glass artist (check him out in this House and Home feature). His designs often play with different media, and are inspired by his love of natural textures or the nostalgia of growing up in a small town.
Monica is an educational researcher with an entrepreneurial spirit who wears all the other hats.
how we work
We're a very small business, and quite happy to stay that way! We're committed to super small-scale production and to working on a made-to-order system that minimizes textile waste as much as physically possible. We use water-based inks rather than chemical plastisols because they are much gentler on the environment and create a longer lasting, higher quality print. Water-based inks also never crack or peel off like plastisol prints, which helps greatly extend the life of a tee.
As a two person operation, we are a slow(er) fashion brand that prioritizes the quality and longevity of our shirts. Although we're not where we'd ultimately like to be, we are committed to continually improving our business practices and processes as our resources and capacity allow in order to be as sustainable and socially and environmentally responsible as we can.
Because we're screen printers and not manufacturers, we don't make our own apparel. Truthfully, it's this aspect of our business that presents the biggest challenge when it comes to fully integrating our business practices with our personal values. Finding a 100% Canadian wholesaler who offers a range of organic blends is our ideal. But due to a number of factors, we haven't been able to find our dream tee yet.
But we're actively working on it. Right now, we use the tees we do because of our own experience wearing and loving the brand. Long before we became screen printers, Nick bought a concert tee that he wore at least three times a week for years. He loved that shirt. When we decided to launch Blackhare, we made it a priority to find that brand of tee - or one just like it - because it was so comfortable and kept its shape for so long. We know that key elements in reducing fashion waste are quality and longevity of a garment. So, we are committed to producing long-lasting shirts that will last years while we continue our search for Canadian organic, upcyled and/or recycled fabric blends that match the fit and feel of the tees that have helped us build our brand.
Currently, our main wholesale provider is US-based brand Bella and Canvas. Based out of Los Angeles, Bella and Canvas uses more sustainable manufacturing processes with Blue Sign certified dyes and efficient dye houses that align with the state of California’s EPA regulations around waste water treatment and usage. Their cutting facilities run on partial solar power with comprehensive recycling programs for paper waste and fabric scraps. If they incorporated upcycled or organic fabrics into their garment manufacturing, we wouldn't be on the hunt for a different make. Let's hope they also continue making strides in the right direction! Read more about them here.
Due to increasing stock shortages and delays, we also use Next Level brand tees. Next Level operates in South America and holds manufacturers to a Workplace Code of Conduct as outlined here. Next Level has recently created new line of products created from 70% recycled materials and when possible we source from this collection.
Generally, alongside a much more restricted market, COVID-related delays and limitations has made finding a Canadian supplier challenging. We will keep looking and hope to eventually shift to a full lineup of products that are not only printed by manufactured in Canada every step of the way.
transparency in pricing
When it comes to pricing, we're following the lead of some of our favourite apparel businesses and making our process as transparent as possible to our customers. We're committed to keeping our prices affordable by keeping our markup well below even the basic industry standard.
doing bulk differently
We've also expanded our custom print services to include projects using repurposed or upcycled tees that you already have on hand rather than buying new ones. This means less new products in circulation and more access to custom projects because of the cost reduction.
We’re committed to continually evolving and improving the way we do things to more fully embody our values and to contribute to the movement towards slow fashion and more sustainable and socially-responsible practices. If you have a project or idea that could help us live up to it in different ways, we’d love to connect with you!