T here were times when James Weir would sit in his basement, head in hands, wondering how to save Large Lads, his clothing company for men of robust statures. Yet, with perseverance, and a lot of encouragement from his family, he now sits with a successful small business steeped in values he can be proud of. “If you want the short version of how this came to be, it’s two words: My wife,” said Weir. He was ripe for a career change when he moved from B.C. to N.S. in 2014. The youth counsellor yearned for something new and wanted to get into business and sales. “I’m a big guy. I’m a 4XL, and I always had diffi- culty finding clothes. So, one day, I’m running around town trying to find a shirt, and I was getting defeated and upset,” he said. “I came out of a store so frustrated, and my wife just asked why I wouldn’t start my own big & tall clothing label. It was the best and craziest thing I ever followed through on.” He initially wanted to open a store- front and bring in existing labels, but after 24 hours looking at rental spaces, he knew online was the route. “E-commerce was it, and I was going to do my own label and products. I had the idea in the fall of 2014,” he said.
When Spotlight on Business Magazine sat down with James Weir, founder of Large Lads, a Canadian owned and operated clothing company in Halifax - Nova Scotia, we found out that this brand is more than just about clothing, it’s an invitation to belong to a club: the brotherhood of Large Lads which was founded in 2015, when Weir created an online clothing store exclusive- ly for big and tall men offering stylish and affordable clothing in sizes XL-8XL. We talk with Weir about his journey and how the brand has changed not only his life but the lives of his customers.
“I joined the CEED program, pitched it, and it was accepted. I did that for nine months, and through that I was introduced to grants from Export Nova Scotia. We officially launched in January 2016.” Now, in 2019, he has his own label, business, and sells 14 other labels selling through Large Lads’ site as well. “But it’s been difficult. Our first year, we made literally $8,000 in revenue. There were times I’d wait six weeks for an order to come in,” he said. “Any big guy I saw, I’d flip him my business card. I drove two- hours once to give a shirt to a guy to get the word-of-mouth promotion. I went to Digby, N.S. and back to sell a polo. But that’s the kind of service we stand for.” He’s sold clothes behind stores, at the Halifax Harbour, in parking lots out of his trunk and out of his house. His entrepre- neurial spirit, while battered, never faltered. If he came close, his wife and cousin were there to push him forward. “We aren’t in that spot anymore, but my family helped me so much and that was our roots. We approach this work with branding that promotes positive body image, self-esteem, empowerment and confidence,” he said.
Large Lads Clothing A solid commitment to innovation and community By Jordan Parker
JUNE 2019 • SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE
SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE • JUNE 2019 SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE • JUNE 2019
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