Taylor Norris and Broder Currie wanted to leave their mark on the Forest City. More than anything, the King’s University College students and young entrepreneurs wanted to give back to the community that helped set them on a path to success.
Their start-up – Five One Nine Clothing Company – aims to do just that. Co-founded last fall with fellow King’s business student Tyler Wilson, the company sells quality, London-branded apparel ranging from hoodies to athletic wear to polo shirts.
All have variations of a stylized ‘519’ logo (a proxy for the city’s predominant phone area code) and the coordinates of the city’s downtown core, “the heart of London,” Norris explained.
What stands out, however, is their mission to represent and support members of the community.
“A lot of my friends have been affected by mental health (issues). You see it all around; it is growing and we wanted to help,” said Norris, who is going into his second year at King’s.
The three business partners wanted to position their brand to promote both awareness and support for those dealing with mental health issues.
To support the community, the company donates 10 per cent of every month’s proceeds to the First Episode Mood and Anxiety Program (FEMAP), run by London Health Sciences Centre.
“We really pride ourselves on giving back to the community. We want to support mental health and we want to support events like a run for mental health,” Norris noted.
“This is about London; it’s about the community and represents who we are and what London is to us. We have friends who support us and want to find partners and other people who like what we are doing and who want to give back to London,” said Currie, who is entering his first year of business studies at King’s in September.
While attending high school in London, Currie and Norris met at their part-time job, selling upscale apparel at Channer’s clothing store. They have a “passion for fashion,” and are both athletic, so clothing design for Five One Nine is really just something the two would like to wear, Currie explained.
Their best seller is the “heart of London” hoodie – what the team calls its “bread and butter” – but there is something for every taste and style, he added. The Five One Nine team would like to participate in Western’s Propel summer business incubator and is looking to sell its brand in select locations across the city, including unique-to-London summer festivals. The clothing is designed with the help of a Fanshawe College art student in London and is printed and manufactured locally.
Body by Lagree Fitness Studio in London’s Hyde Park neighbourhood sells the Five One Nine brand while the full line is available online at fiveonenineclothing.com.
“We are trying to represent London and trying to give back to the community that’s helped us grow since we were young. We want to sell in more London-based stores,” Currie added.