Red Bag was incorporated in November of 2007. Our very first storefront was located downtown High River, right next door to where we are currently on 1st ST SW.
My son had just graduated with a degree in International Business and I was still working for a corporation as a district supervisor, overseeing multiple store locations in Calgary. I had commuted to Calgary for 17 years while living in High River and wanted to live and work in the same town. My son loved to travel and was enthusiastic about sourcing products and building relationships with small family run businesses overseas. It was our goal to ethically source all of our products and ensure that our buying dollars would have a direct impact on other entrepreneurs, like ourselves, in underdeveloped countries. We also wanted to bring unique fashions, accessories and handicrafts to the residents of High River and surrounding area. It has been satisfying for us to build these relationships and see them grow over the years.
In the spring of 2009 I left my position in Calgary and we decided to open a second location. This allowed both my son and I to be full time in the business. For us, our slogan “Love to be Unique” and “Inspired Fashion for the Creative Mind” have been guide posts. We currently have three stores, two in Penticton and our High River store as well as an online store. Over the years we have done many fashion shows, advertised in local theatre programs, sponsored local musicians and given donations to more silent auctions than we could possibly count.
After the flood of 2013 we attended an information session for residents and businesses affected and Community Futures was represented there. However, it wasn’t until a few years of reconstruction in the downtown core had so drastically affected sales that we were forced to seek financing to ensure we had product for our upcoming season. The flood loan we were able to access was exactly the amount of revenue we had lost due to construction.
The assistance we received through Community Futures enabled us to get our goods into the country in time for summer. That summer we were able to begin to recover.
We have just had the second best year that we have ever had in High River. We had the opportunity to do a vendor booth at Spruce Meadows Christmas Market this year which greatly increased our sales. This would not have been possible if we did not have the injection of capital that we had thanks to Community Futures Highwood. We are optimistic and enthusiastic about what the future has in store for us. When the cash flow stress lifts a little, the creative mind can take over and dream up new possibilities.