Jody Fink – owner, creator, sewer
It's hard to get a serious photo in our family :)
Hi, I’m Jody, a mum of 3 and the owner of Stripes Gear. We live in the small, beautiful village of Cumberland, BC. but I grew up on a remote farm in North Queensland, Australia. Since childhood I have always spent the majority of my time playing and experiencing the outdoors. Fast forward 40 years and not much has change. As a family it is important to me for us to spend time in the outdoors; foraging, mountain biking, hiking and trail running, year-round camping and skiing. Like many other outdoor families, I know firsthand the importance (and challenges) of proper layering for yourself and kids. Having high-performance clothing is essential to help keep you warm, dry and loving your natural experience, no matter what the weather is saying.
After years of toying with the idea of a clothing company and having that idea tug at my heartstrings, I decided to give up my high-paid corporate desk job (and the stress that goes with that) for something that integrated my passion for creating and my love for the outdoors. (And of course, the flexibility to enjoy time with my family.) After deciding that I would rather have a dropper seat post on my mountain bike rather then my office chair. I purchased Stripes Gear in 2018 from the Campbell family in the Kootenays, and brought the company home to Cumberland.
The Story of Stripes Gear starts in New Zealand, a land of stunning beauty, with green hillsides, snowy peaks, and rainy wet winters, so similar to BC. It might seem ironic that premium quality polypropylene base layers come from the same country farmed for its merino wool, but the kiwis do know how to stay warm! Stripes is an inter-ocean partnership between a family business in New Zealand that started it all, and our family in Canada.
Stipes Gear is also the story of “slow fashion,” and an example of how to maintain manufacturing jobs in the modern era. Jobs which protect the humanity and dignity of the people involved through small batch production. The people who weave our fabrics and then help transform the Stripes fabric into the comfortable garments we love are a small NZ family business, who are all paid fair, living wages, and sewing is often done in the comfort of their own homes. This allows families a good income on a flexible schedule, akin to the distributed ‘cottage industry’ system of manufacturing predating the industrial revolution. As part of my vision to source local as much as possible we are now sewing right here in Cumberland, thus reducing our carbon foot print.
The interesting thing about Stripes is the fabric is 100% pure polypropolene
. This means the colour is part of the fiber itself, and so it doesn’t require dyes with heavy metals which can negatively impact our environments. The high quality of the fabric, design and workmanship are apparent in the garment’s performance and durability.
The Future of Stripes looks rosy. I don’t see the sale of Stripes as an end-goal in itself. Our mission is to inspire and support other people’s passion for the outdoors and, to help people have positive experiences in all kinds of weather and environments. The forests, lakeshores, beaches, valleys and mountains are our proper habitat- but sometimes as humans we need a few extra layers to help us thrive there.
It seems that people are re-discovering the importance of our kinship to nature. The number of nature-based educational programs has bloomed in recent years. This is such an exciting connection to foster at a young age.
Stripes loves to see families outside, knowing they have the best layers to help keep them happy and safe.