June 10, 2020
We want you to meet our team, so we would like to introduce a new segment to our blog called “Meet the Maker” Monday! This Monday, we want you to meet two very special employees, Julie Donald & Tara Green. They spend their days overseeing the production of all dress up costumes made here in Canada!
First allow me to introduce you to Lindsay. She is a Product Developer and Designer on our team and will be the one conducting our interview today, and future interviews to come.
Lindsay: Hi everyone! I am Lindsay from Great Pretenders. Today we are going to be interviewing with Julie Donald and Tara Green and we are going to talk to them about their favourite parts of working at Great Pretenders.
Q: What is your role at Great Pretenders and how long have you each worked here?
Julie: I manage production and I oversee that we are getting what we need to get done everyday. I have been here for 28 years, and am the longest standing employee!
Tara: I am production supervisor and I have worked here 1 year and a half.
Q: How has the COVID shutdown affected your day-to-day activities?
Julie: When the COVID shutdown happened, we were off for about two weeks, and then our boss Joyce Keelan, came up with and designed the patterns for our children's face masks. We began producing those around April 14th and we have been making masks ever since then! (You can hear our production team hard at work in the background of the video below) It's been a little different because we have to wear masks and be very cautious that we are sterilizing everything!
Q: What sets our Great Pretender costumes apart from costumes made in China?
Julie: Quality! You can really notice our team takes such great pride in their work and you can really see it in their everyday work!
Q: We met Jessie a few minutes ago, what is it like to work with your daughter? Do you find it challenging? How did Jessie become an employee here as well?
Julie: She was determined to work here so she sought out the opportunity and made it happen! I love having her here everyday!
Q: What is one thing that has surprised you about working here at Great Pretenders?
Julie: One thing that surprised me is the great group of people we have on our team! They bring the most amazing talent to our team!
Q: What is your favourite costume?
Julie: I would have to say my favourite costume is Rapunzel. We made our bosses granddaughter one and she LOVED it! She wouldn't take it off!
Tara: Oh there's too many! I would have to say our Cinderella.
Q: Can you explain to us “non sewers” the lifecycle of a tutu? How are these made step by step?
Q: What’s a work-related accomplishment that you’re really proud of?
Julie: I am very proud of the fantastic team we have built at Great Pretenders. We have a great work family here!
Q: If you could add one thing to the Great Pretenders office, what would it be?
Julie: I would love to have an in-house maintenance team.
Q: From making tutus to making masks… that’s quite the pivot. Why do you think making masks in Canada is important?
Julie: We find it is very important to have production in Canada and that we should be self sufficient. We really want to make sure we can supply face masks while supporting our local economy.
Q: How are you able to manage your sewing room to compete with Made in China costumes and toys?
Julie: We produce our costumes with by lean manufacturing, which allows us to minimize waste and maximize productivity.
Q: What is the biggest challenge facing Canadian manufacturing?
Julie: Our greatest challenge right now would be finding sewers. As we continue to expand our product line, we continue to expand our team!
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June 29, 2020
We get a lot of questions (ok some questions – come on, reach out to us more people!)- about how we come up with our costume ideas. Well Kira and the peeps working in product development have a huge influence on these steps too. We meet, hash out some concepts, sketch and colour, then cut up shiny scraps of fabric and staple them to the sketch. Then the hard work begins as she translates these ideas into the costumes we all know and love.
June 25, 2020
It’s a generally accepted “best practice” for parenting- but if your house is anything like our house, these past few months have left us longing for new book discoveries. If we have to read the Gruffalo one more time…
We have gathered a list of our top 10 books featuring pretend play, dressing up & creative problem solving that have inspired new finds at the library (and bookshop)! If you are shopping for new presents and books- we also encourage you to reach out to your local toyshop.
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