Simons, the 178-year-old, family-owned fashion retailer from Quebec City, has launched a new online market called Fabrique1840. The new retail community features an all-Canadian line up of skilled artisans creating everything from home décor and modern art to fashion accessories and stationary.
“The motivation behind Fabrique1840 is to create a mutually beneficial ecosystem,” says Peter Simons, Co-owner and President of Simons. “Canadians must establish a destination that supports and celebrates our creativity and values; the road to Canadian economic success is rooted in cooperation and community.”
Since launching its own, completely custom, e-commerce platform in 2010, Simons has become a leader in Canada’s e-commerce industry with expertise in technology and the processes necessary to support a successful, growing business in the ever-evolving world of retail. Fabrique1840 takes all of that knowledge and infrastructure and shares it with artisanal entrepreneurs to help them prosper in a world dominated by a limited number of global platforms.
“The level of design and craftsmanship in this country is truly remarkable. We want to support these gifted creators to ensure they can make living from their craft and contribute to the local economy,” says Peter Simons. “Canadian design needs to be as celebrated as Scandinavian or Japanese design and we want to help tell that story.”
Simons’ support of art and design has been part of its identity since its founding. From partnerships with Canadian artists like Douglas Coupland, Guido Molinari and dozens of original Canadian art commissions to supporting Canadian fashion designers, the family is committed to finding ways for Canadian creativity to flourish. Fabrique1840 is part of that commitment.
Simons immersed itself into the Canadian artisanal market to hand select a diverse community of more than 50 creators for the launch of Fabrique1840. While the majority of the makers are based in Simons’ home province of Quebec, there is representation from coast to coast with artisans from Vancouver and Toronto as well as Montreal and Quebec City.
“Similar to our approach to finding the most interesting and relevant fashion designers for Simons, we are constantly looking for undiscovered Canadian makers to bring to Fabrique1840,” adds Peter Simons.
One of the Canadian maker brands involved in Fabrique1840 at launch is Bookhou, a partnership between Arounna Khounnoraj and John Booth who are artists with a multidisciplinary studio in Toronto. They produce a variety of hand-made items including furniture and textiles.
“Fabrique1840 will showcase Canada’s best – all of the makers involved are at the top of their game,” says Khounnoraj. “Working with Simons – a family-owned business like ours – gives us the opportunity to grow our business beyond our current reach.”
Samuel Lambert is also participating in Fabrique1840 for the launch. He founded Lamert et Fils, a collaborative lighting design studio based in Montreal, in 2010. “For us Fabrique1840 project is an opportunity to get closer to our audience.”
The name Fabrique1840 is a nod to the location of the original Simons store founded in 1840 on Côte de la Fabrique in Quebec City. The word fabrique comes from the Latin ‘fabrica’ which means a person’s trade, craft or workshop.
Fabrique1840 also represents Simons’ entry into the world of third-party logistics. Beyond the maker community, Simons has the ability to offer its distribution, fulfillment and digital marketing experience to other businesses that need a trusted partner to execute the e-commerce and inventory elements of their businesses. Simons’ new distribution centre, currently under construction in Quebec City, gives the company the necessary capacity to offer full third-party logistics services by 2020.