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Apparel brand pivots to support Kingston community amid pandemic

A Queen’s University student will be donating all proceeds from his clothing line to United Way KFL&A this month. The initiative is part of a new strategy that rethinks how the apparel business can cater to customers throughout the pandemic.

Founded in 2019, Mercuri Apparel began as a passion project for third year Queen’s Commerce student Oliver Page. The apparel brand initially found success selling private label clothing in the Greater Toronto Area but has now transitioned to being a supplier for numerous suppliers and customers. 

“With retail success, the company received various requests to design and supply apparel for less established brands.”In response, Mercuri slowly phased out its retail presence to expand as a link between suppliers and customers,” said Page. “Since then, Mercuri has developed a network of apparel suppliers worldwide to offer quality apparel for any budget,” he added. 

Since starting, Mercuri Apparel has become a supplier for the Queen’s Commerce Society, the Queen’s Commerce Frosh Week and the Queen’s Accounting Association and several other campus groups. 

Page owes his recent success to a ‘Private Delivery’ model that he launched in August 2020. The goal of the private delivery model is to minimize supplier to consumer touchpoints. 

“Traditionally, a project manager would order a set quantity of apparel and have it shipped in bulk to hand out to the rest of the end customers,” said Page. “With the Private Delivery model, Mercuri can utilize its supplier’s network to print apparel as ordered and then shipped directly to each end customer, making it easier and safer for the project manager,” he said

With his recent success, Page has decided to give back to the community through a partnership with the KFL&A United Way. Page’s March campaign was based around selling St. Patrick’s Day merchandise. Their offerings included long sleeve shirts, sweatshirts and St. Patrick’s Day themed jerseys.

A promotional photo of Page’s St. Patrick’s Day offerings (Photo Supplied)

“Our goal is to sell out of all the apparel and raise as much money as we can for United Way. We have currently sold out of the hoodies and long sleeves,” said Page. 

While most of the apparel is now sold out, Page continues to use his apparel brand to encourage students and community members to donate to United Way KFL&A. 

Kingston’s United Way was forced to close their offices and cancel their meetings amid the Pandemic in 2020. Despite this, their services were needed more than ever before and were left scrambling for extra support. 

Through their fundraising efforts, United Way KFL&A has invested millions into the community. “Locally, through the pandemic in 2020, United Way invested $5.5 million that has helped 76,000 people in KFL&A through 70 unique organizations and over 220 programs,” Bhavana Varma, president and ceo of United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington said in a letter on March 15th, 2021. 

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