Why buy one when you can buy one and give one at the same time? The question that got two childhood Torontonian friends to start their business, TWOQUE.
We had a chance to interview Eric Saltsman, Principal Warmth Distributor and Ethan Dassas, Chief Warmth Distributor to find out a bit more about how they have used the buy one give one model to build their business TWOQUE and spread warmth to those in need.
Why a toque as opposed to a blanket, scarf or gloves?
We like to consider ourselves in the business of “spreading warmth”. For our inaugural launch, we didn’t want to bite off more than we could chew and we thought that perhaps the most quintessential item for Canadians during winter is the toque. Our goal for upcoming seasons is to expand into the likes of multiple styles and colours of toques, scarves, gloves, socks and ultimately a full line of winter apparel.
How did you come up with the name “Twoque”?
If you have lived in Canada, then you know that a “toque” is a knitted cap, most commonly worn during winter (but has also been known to transcend seasons). At Twoque, we operate using the “one for one” business model: for every item we sell, we are donating an article in kind to someone in need.
This led us to a simple formula: One + One = TWOQUE.
You don’t come from design backgrounds, how did you create the design you have?
We wanted to create the exact style of hat that appealed to us. Something stylish, but also warm. We wanted to go with something that was fairly universal so that it was available to anyone to wear. We conducted a few surveys over the summer to get a gauge as to some of the specifics that people looked for in a winter hat. In many ways, the results suggested that folks were looking for something similar to what we wanted to achieve.
What we are most pleased about is that our logo (made out of leather, with TWOQUE in debossed writing) isn’t only minimalist, but it is also reversible so the hat can be worn either as a slouch beanie or rolled up with a cuff for a more classic style of toque.
How many people have you helped this season?
We had a goal of selling 250 hats by the end of the winter season, which would mean donating 250 and subsequently warming a total of 500 heads. So far, we have blown past our goal and have sold 350 hats in just over six weeks. Our new goal is to sell at least 500 hats and to be able to donate at least 500 before the end of the winter season so that we can be responsible for warming over 1000 heads.
Describe the Twoque in 4 words.
Uniquely Canadian social enterprise.
What’s next for Twoque?
Year one has been primarily about promoting brand awareness and recognition. We are thrilled with how well the company has been received within the Toronto community. Moving forward, we wish to extend our reach across the province and, further, across the country.
We really do believe in our motto: “two heads are better than one” and we want to continue to spread our message and spread warmth as far as our reach can take us.
Anything else we should know?
For 2019, our donated Twoque hats are going to Christie Ossington Neighbourhood Centre. We chose CONC based on their track record in the downtown Toronto community, as well as for their exceptional programming for a wide variety folks in need.
Featured image: Alina Prajapati