With Newfoundland’s AbbyShot Clothiers, you can dress like your favourite movie character
When the Scottish government organized a business conference in July 2019 to capitalize on the tourism boom triggered by the television drama series Outlander, one of the speakers it invited was Bonnie Edgecombe, president of AbbyShot Clothiers from faraway Paradise, Newfoundland.
AbbyShot has made a name over the past five years selling replicas of the scarves, arm warmers, leather belts, and even thistle pins, worn by actors in the television adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s stories of time travelling Claire Randall, a nurse from 1945, who finds herself in 18th century Scotland, where she marries a Highlander: Jamie Fraser.
In fact, AbbyShot’s entire business consists of online sales of garments and accessories styled on popular movies, television shows and video game characters. The Outlander collection is produced under a licence from Sony Pictures. For a decade, AbbyShot was licensed by the British Broadcasting Corporation to produce replicas of clothes worn on its popular Doctor Who television series. AbbyShot has also worked with Universal Studios and 20th Century Fox.
About 55% of AbbyShot’s roughly 2,000 customers are in the United States, with almost all the rest in the United Kingdom.
"Our clientele are awesome people who are eccentric about attention to detail," says Edgecombe.
"They will practically count the stitches in our garments to make sure they are just like the ones in the show."
In 2002, Edgecombe was a home based seamstress raising her family when an acquaintance asked her to make a replica of coat seen in the 1999 science fiction movie The Matrix.
"We had enough fabric to make two coats, and before we got those sold online, there were orders for four more," Edgecombe recalls.
"Then we developed a web page, and the company just took off from there."
At first, AbbyShot made the garments in Newfoundland, but the cost of importing leather and other materials persuaded Edgecombe to outsource production. The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) helped her set up a network of overseas suppliers, mostly in Pakistan and the United Kingdom. The TCS also organized a whirlwind trip to China, where she visited clothing manufacturers in 10 cities in eight days.
"We went to the Trade Commissioner Service and said ‘we need to attend the trade shows and find our own manufacturers and we’d like to meet face to face’," said Edgecombe.
"So they did some research to find out who was going to be at these shows and helped me to set up appointments with them. It was just really fantastic. The first manufacturer we found was in Pakistan, and he’s now part of our family." However, all AbbyShot’s design work is still done in Montréal.
Edgecombe says she commissions audits of the overseas factories and has visited several of them herself to ensure that they meet labour and other corporate social responsibility standards.
AbbyShot has had its ups and downs over the years, including a fiasco with one shoddy offshore supplier. Edgecombe recalled in a recent blog post that she was advised when she set up the business that,
"If you think you’re going to start selling clothes online and be successful, you better think again." But the challenges have not deterred her.
"No power in the ’verse can stop us!" she vowed.
- Date Modified: