Using tech to tell the story
Where Doolin’s background in science and technology has shone through in GALLERIADELE is the NFC tag software development, which she is putting to use in highly priced garments like the blazer and trench coat, the latter selling for $2,390.
“Each clothing (item) has a unique number, and then that unique number is encrypted in that NFC tag,” Doolin said. “You know when it was made, where it was made, styling tips, the story behind each piece.”
The idea came to life with the help of her husband, whose technology experience made the development easily managed in-house, and gave them another opportunity to work together.
“I was thinking of ways that we could make the brand stand out a bit,” she said. “Especially because I’m the manufacturer, it’s so easy for me to track things and know where everything’s coming from. I’m putting so much effort into making these clothes really high-quality, (so) how can I show that to the end consumer?”
Doolin sources the majority of GALLERIADELE’s natural materials from a limited number of locations: organic cotton comes from Mississauga, Ont.; cow leather is from Korea; Bemberg linings come from Japan; and the wool in the Emma Blazer is made in England. Most of the raw materials are handmade into clothes at factories in Calgary; she has also worked with factories in Montreal, Mississauga, and Vancouver.
For special details, Doolin uses other brands’ deadstock — that is, materials from companies that have gone out of business or no longer require them. The Emma Blazer, for example, features buffalo horn buttons from a Toronto designer, Lida Baday, whose company went out of business in 2014.
Doolin said the NFC tag system allows consumers to better understand why the products cost what they do, and proves the items are authentic as opposed to a reproduction — a feature that comes into play at the re-sale point of a garment’s life cycle.
“I wasn’t sure if it was worth the work — if people would care, but I would say the response to that was really good as well,” she said. “Their faces lit up when they saw that they could tap their phone, and they’re like, ‘Wow, I can read about my garment.'”
Doolin sees potential to grow the technological side of the brand in the future, and she has already been approached by other companies interested in using the feature. If she is to expand the technology, she would like to extend its use to a full, virtual closet app that retains the items you scan to give you cross-brand styling tips.
“I can see — down the road — many opportunities for this technology,” she said. “Right now, it’s just a prototype.”
While local support has been good so far, Doolin said the niche nature of GALLERIADELE’s style has prompted her to seek out international fashion hot spots like New York City.
“Not everybody’s gonna like it — I don’t want everybody to like it,” she said. “When you’re wearing such a cool, unique product, you don’t want seven people in the street wearing it, so I definitely need to expand to different markets because I’m gonna have a smaller market if I stay local, for sure.”
For now, Doolin will focus on growing her brand’s awareness and product line. She is working on samples for a full organic cotton collection, leather pants, and sterling silver accessories.
“I should be focusing on building my brand and selling what I have, but it’s so much fun to do the product development and think about new products,” she said. “I’m constantly doodling in my sketchbook.”