Jörd Apron paves the way for style & function in Montreal

By / Life / August 23rd, 2017 / 8

Aprons. We’ve all had to wear one at one time or another, whether it’s the novelty aprons we get for Christmas and pull out every so often for photo ops or the dress-code mandated black aprons often worn by restaurant staff or in workshops. In fact, I recall working as a bus-girl at a “classy” restaurant in high school, wearing a starchy white blouse, stretchy black dress pants and, over everything, this cumbersome black apron that billowed in all the wrong places. It was a fun experience (and yes, that was sarcasm).

Luckily, functional but unattractive aprons will soon be a thing of the past, all thanks to two Montrealers: Danny Giroux and Benoit LaTulippe. The duo took a good hard look at everyone in Montreal, walking around with cheaply made aprons that laughed in the face of fashion, and decided that we needed something better. Quality, style and functionality come together in their Jörd Apron.

Jörd Apron co-founders Benoit LaTulippe (left) and Danny Giroux (right).

Giroux and LaTulippe drew from their multidisciplinary backgrounds to design their apron. Giroux’s photography, graphic and visual design background – his resume includes different industries, such as decor, gardening and fashion – contributes the sleek aesthetics of the apron itself, as well as the website and marketing publications. LaTulippe, an architect and industrial designer, created a solid base, structure and underlying design to ensure the Jörd Apron lasts a lifetime.

They launched Jörd Apron via Kickstarter earlier this year, raising money to start production. Now, they have three models available – A Basic, Model B and 5-in-1 A Model. Each is available in three colours – buckskin, midnight blue and grey. Personally, I love the look of these aprons. If I had a more hands-on job (writing doesn’t really generate a lot of dirt), I would definitely invest in one of these.

Instead, I contacted Giroux to get the inside scoop on why they decided to go into aprons, of all things, what sets Jörd Apron apart from the competition and how their Kickstarter campaign went.

What inspired you to launch JÖRD Aprons? Why make an apron?

I travel a lot and I realized in the United States, there are a lot of places, like restaurants, that use very beautiful aprons. Here in Montreal, people use very cheap and simple aprons. It’s why I said to Benoit, I think there’s a niche. I think we could create something interesting for people around the world for sure, but the first step was for Montreal and for people in Quebec.

We researched, and we realized that in all the stores, when we want to buy aprons, it’s super cheap, the price is cheap, but the material… and there’s only one pocket and it’s very very basic. After we talked with a friend, we realized all people want aprons, but there are no aprons for different work. So if you’re a hairstylist or a bartender or waiter, it’s not easy to find an apron to use. So we decided to design an apron that would fit for different workers, like barista or waiter.

It was important for us to create an apron that you can customize. So you can choose where you want to put your pocket, your towel hanger, and your hook to put your accessories and your tools. We know that every work is different and every part of the day you have a different move to do, so it’s possible during the day if you want to change the pocket on your apron it’s easy to do. It was our goal to create one apron that could fit with different jobs.

Why focus on the image/style?

We put a lot of work into the image, because the people who like this kind of product, like that image, and the look is really important. A lot of time they work in the public and the look is important. We realized that in work, people put a lot of money on their dress, like a waiter, but when it’s time to put the apron, it destroys all the effort. That’s why we create this kind of apron, so you can dress with your clothes that you paid a lot, that you put a lot of attention on to make a good look. When you have this apron, it makes something more, it just fits with your style. It was very important to make a style you like. It’s like when you put a beautiful apron with ugly clothes or an ugly clothes with a beautiful apron, it just doesn’t work. This is also why when you fold our aprons in two, it’s like a kilt, it’s very English, very stylish. That’s why you can have a lot of style and keep your clothes protected, because the apron is very good at protecting your clothes. For now, it’s the best we can do with all the apron mixed with the clothes.

Why did you decide to use Kickstarter?

It’s not easy for people to find aprons, because you have to search online for a long time, and when you find it, you have to buy it and wait to receive at home. It’s super complicated. There are some websites in the US or Europe, but it’s not easy. That’s why we used Kickstarter, to create exposure and show the people it’s possible to find a very cool and practical apron.

Was there any other reason why you chose it?

It’s the first time we used the platform. It was a good opportunity for us to have exposure. But at the same time, if you know Kickstarter, it’s easy to create a campaign if you don’t have the money to start a project. That’s why we used Kickstarter, because we decided to start from scratch for our aprons and we don’t have a big budget.

So now, we finished the campaign and it was a big success. We sold around $23,000 and our goal was $4,000. So we were further than our objective. We are very proud and people are very proud.

We spoke with people on Kickstarter and they said ‘thank you so much, we found a really beautiful and practical apron’. These people were looking for an apron for a long time, and now they’ve found a good one.

Now, we’ve stopped the campaign and are working on production. We hope to delver it at the end of September and beginning of October, for the people who bought the apron on Kickstarter. We are also working on the shop on our website. It’ll be ready in a few days, before September, and it’ll be possible to buy the apron on our website.

[NOTE: Since this interview, they have launched their online shop – you can now buy their aprons online.]

Did you hit any roadblocks or have any issues with the campaign?

Not really. We did the project very fast and we were afraid to make a mistake or something. From the beginning, everything went super well, super simple, the people like it. All the people with whom we work, the first time we met them, when they see the apron, they realize how good the quality is. We made the proof apron to do the test, it was made by a friend of ours, and he’s one of the best fur and leather coat makers in Montreal. He worked in that industry for  40 years, I think. He made our template for the apron. And when we used the template to meet the workshop and the people who gave us the furniture. Every time, they said ‘I don’t know who made the template, but it’s a King.’ Everything is so straight. And it’s why we asked the workshop to have the same quality when we work with them. We want quality, because the people who want this kind of product, know the quality and want the quality. And this is what we want too. And this is what we’ll give, too.

Jörd Apron model B in Buckskin.

Tell us a little about the apron…

The apron is stain and liquid repellant. We found a company in Montreal that can treat our textile with a special product to make the apron stain and liquid repellant. And blood repellant too. So it’s good for people who work, like a boxer, or people who have to be careful because sometimes they have an injury. So the blood won’t stain the apron. The liquids like water, but the oil liquids too. And it’s breathable. The product is eco-friendly.

All the aprons are made in Quebec. And the textiles are treated in Quebec too, in Montreal. The only thing that comes from China is the hardware, because there isn’t a company in Montreal that can create the hardware we need. That’s why we use a company in China. But we’re still looking for a company that can give us the hardware in Montreal. But the day we do find it, we will switch to Montreal because we want the clothes to be 100% Montreal and Quebec made.

You make all of the aprons by hand, here in Montreal?

Everything. All our production partners are based in different places around Montreal and Quebec.

The material is super strong, too. It’s a cotton and polyester blend: 80% cotton and 20% polyester. It’s 250 grams on each squared meter. It’s very strong. The same material for the pants for guards.

And we have an artist in Montreal that will do all the leather after the workshop will finish the apron. So all the leather is made in Montreal by a leather artist who makes leather coats and accessories.

You mentioned the treatment of your fabric. Is it the ULTRAPEL mentioned in the Press Release?

Yes, it’s called ULTRAPEL. After the treatment, the apron can be washed 80 times. And it’ll still continue to work after 80 times. It just slowly loses the treatment. If you put your washing machine on delicate, the apron will stay alive for a long time. You don’t have to put it in the dryer because the heat will destroy the liquid in the material.

It’s a dual action protection and it’s patented. It’s to repel the stain, the water, the oil and the blood. ULTRAPEL existed before we used it. Normally it’s used for police, firemen and nurses. Because they need to have very clean uniforms. The company developed this liquid for those people. And that’s why we use exactly the same recipe of this company to put on our aprons, to have good quality and stain repellant material.

To use the fabric mixed with the protection, it was the perfect material to make the best quality, best practical fabric for the apron.

You have three models available, correct? What is the difference between them? Is there a specific purpose/activity for which each is best suited?

Jörd Apron model A (Basic) in Buckskin.

Yeah, we have the A and the B. The A is the basic one, it comes with only one pocket or a towel hanger. But you still have six buttons, so you can choose where you want to put your pocket and your towel hanger.

If you buy the model A with the 5-in-1, it comes with a big pocket. And the small pocket comes too with this model, with the leather towel hanger too. From there you have a lot of different templates you can do with your apron, to choose where you want to put your pocket, depending on which work you do. Someone may want to put the pocket on the right or the left. Or somewhere to put your knife. People like this one, it’s the most popular model.

The model B, you can’t move the pocket, but it’s stronger and bigger. We didn’t put anything in the middle. We designed this one for the people who need free space in the middle to work, like a shoemaker, if you have to sit and work with something on your knees. That’s why we didn’t put anything in the middle. It’s more for the big workers, the wood workers, the butchers. And the pocket is stronger, and we put rivets in the corner of the pockets, so it’s made for putting tools inside, like a hammer and screwdriver.

Jörd Apron model A 5-in-1, grey.

It comes with a key ring too. It comes with a long, leather lace, with a hook where you can put your keys and your wallet, and it’ll fit in the pocket.

Model A 5-in-1, how is that different from Model A?

The apron is the same model. The difference is the 5-in-1 comes with a big pocket to put more stuff inside. And with the 5-in-1, you can use only the apron or you can use only small pocket if you’re a waiter or you have to manage cash in your work, it’s easier to use only the small pocket. All the straps are made with a hook, so you can use the apron straps to put the small pocket on.

Also, you can fold the apron. We put a seam in the middle, so that when you fold it, it makes a beautiful line and there’s no bubble. You can use only the bottom part of the apron, or you can have a full apron, or only the small pocket. That’s why we call it the 5-in-1, because there’s five ways you can use it.

Is the leather removable?

It’s possible to remove the leather hanger. When you put it in the washing machine, we suggest people to remove the leather. It’s why we have a lot of buttons. It’s made to help people to remove the leather to keep it stronger, longer.

You can put the leather in the washing machine. But you have to go slowly and delicate and let it dry on the hanger.

It’s possible to buy extras now. There’s a leather square you can put on your back. And there are longer straps. It’s closer to your body. It’s more stretch on your body, and very close to your body. If you move a lot and you need something very close to you, you can add the extra when you buy the apron.

What is the price range for your aprons?

The basic one, the Model A Basic, it will be around $85. The 5-in-1 will be $115. And the model B will be $95. And if people want to buy only the extras for the back, it’ll be $22. And it’s Canadian dollar.

Can people customize it when they order?

When you buy it, you have a choice for the colour, and the colour of the strap. Normally people choose the colour of the apron, but it’s possible to get the colour matching or the collection. It’s a strap with three colours and it’s the three colours of our apron. So it makes three lines on your strap. It’s a more casual strap if you like. And if you choose the colour match, it’s more chic, more sophisticated. And if you want the extras, you can have the extras on your bill to customize the apron. But soon we’ll use the same apron and will propose new accessories. That’s why we put buttons everywhere, so it will be easy for us to create new accessories, or keep the big part of the apron but changing only the accessories.

So are accessories your next step?

Yes, exactly that’s the next step. And it’s why when we finished the Kickstarter campaign, we asked everyone who bought an apron ‘now that this is finished, we’re working towards a new thing. What would you like to do about accessories for the apron, but in general too.’ So do they want bags, do they want something for the kitchen, for the house, for the work and everything. We received a lot of different answers, and after we’ve read everything we will choose new accessories. What people really need. It’s why we asked the question at the end.

This is the beginning of the collection. First product is the apron, but we have a new product that will come out soon. We can’t tell you what, but it will still use the ULTRAPEL and the textile together to create new accessories or something for work, but for home too. We’re looking for a home collection. It will be available in one or two months.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A freelance writer and editor, Lisa Hoekstra loves learning and trying new things. She can be found with her nose in a book or multiple tabs open on her browser as she researches the latest and greatest in the world of food, style and everything in between.

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