It honestly is the best time of year. The energy that fills the streets and our homes is so warm and cozy and it makes my heart smile. It’s a time when spending time with each other is the most important gift of all and I had the pleasure of spending some time chatting with Nick Arbour, founder of Stock Tank Supply & Co. We chatted about Stock Tank Supply & Co’s humble beginnings, his views on sustainability while using the infamous 50% recycled cotton 50% refibra denim from Candiani, as well as his approach to giving back. Cozy up with Nick and I over a cup of joe or hot cocoa and listen in on our cheerful conversation!
WHY DID YOU START STOCK TANK SUPPLY & CO.?
First off, thank you Ani for taking the time to dive into some behind the mind type questions here.
But, back to your first question, it wasn’t so much of a “Why” from the jump, it was more of a “How.” A friend and I were having a brew and a chat after a round of golf and we got on the topic of making some custom jeans. He was the co-founder of the Canadian golf clothing line, Longball and I had been an avid denim head for a long time. He encouraged the thought since being located in Los Angeles, we had the resources available, we just had to figure out the means to do so. I was pumped and excited to dive into this little venture, so I thought, but the more I dug into it, the more I just became enamored with the process, the detailing and truly the art of what it takes to make a simple pair of jeans. So with that, I didn’t want to just make a custom pair of jeans and that be the end of it, I wanted there to be something more. As time went on and the more I poured my heart and energy into it, I slowly began to shape what STS really is.
HOW DO YOU BRING YOUR ENGINEER SKILLS INTO DENIM?
There are a few ways I feel I utilize my engineering skills, for better or worse, haha, with regards to our goods. First, was and is an ongoing study of the craft, from the history of denim and workwear, to understanding the machines and materials used when creating woven fabrics, to the overall construction of how garments are made, stitch types & counts, thread types and text, as well as what hardware is the most durable and everlasting. When it comes to the garments themselves, patterns and fit, I use some reverse engineering with a garment of inspiration to understand the overall construction process, as well as how patterns come together and break it down to the components that are used. On the other side of things, I also think my engineering background sometimes leads to paralysis by analysis and keeps me from moving forward at a more consistent pace. Something I’m working on but I’m a creature of habit and some habits are just harder to kick.
RAW, REAL, RESPONSIBLE TELLS EVERYONE WHAT STOCK TANK & SUPPLY IS ALL ABOUT, BUT HOW DO YOU APPROACH SUSTAINABILITY?
I’m /We’re a small, independent operation and that allows me to make every and all decisions regarding our operations responsibly. I try not to lean on the buzzword of sustainability, as it’s a very broad term and can be viewed from many perspectives. I prefer to use the term responsible for a number of reasons. I have the responsibility to diligently select the vendors and factories I work with, which allows peace of mind with regards to the labor force being used as well as the overall quality of our finished products. I focus on creating more raw material goods, which reduces overall water usage as well as the impact on our environment. When selecting fabrics and trims, we try as much as we can to work with only deadstock, organic and/or sustainable initiative based materials. Also, we really try to limit the use of any plastics if possible, specifically with regards to our packaging, as we use all recycled kraft for boxing, tape and tags. But bear with us, we are not perfect and we are always looking for a way to better our operations, as well as just personally, by bettering our approach to living in a more responsible way.
HOW DID YOU LIKE WORKING WITH 50% REFIBRA 50% RECYCLED COTTON?
So far it’s been a really interesting fabric to work with. It’s the first time I’ve really felt and handled what a Tencel/Refibra fabric is, needless to say it's still 50% cotton, but the touch is very soft with a slick characteristic to it. It lays really nice and the couple garments we’ve made with it so far, an Apron and our Harmony feminine cut jean, we’re stoked with how they turned out. We are still in the infant stages of seeing how this denims evolves, but we are excited to see it take shape and hopefully as more proof of concept of these jeans gains some trust, we will see some more legs out there reppin this cool fabric.
Ani popping in!My Harmony’s have been treating me well and I am a big fan of the weight! I am still waiting for some real wear pattern but so far I am loving how this super sustainable fabric is wearing.
WHAT IS YOUR ‘ONE FOR ONE’ INITIATIVE?
As with everything that is STS, we are continuously evolving and growing into our own, but specifically with our One For One | Everyone initiative, we wanted to include a purposeful aspect to our operation and we felt this could be a tool to help provide a means back to those in more unfortunate situations. It is something we do personally outside of STS as well, so it only made sense to also have this a part of what STS was about. Our initiative started with a match concept, so with every garment purchased we would provide a garment back to someone in need. We have done this in a variety of ways, from providing winter clothing to people on the streets, supplying meals to families, as well as monetary donations through organizations focused on similar initiatives.
We also have teamed up with an organization from my hometown in Edmonton AB the last 3 years, called the Holiday Heroes, and join their efforts on Christmas morning. As we introduced a variety of goods and items, as well as due to COVID and the inability to directly see people face to face, we did make an adjustment to this garment for garment approach, so now instead we are matching 5% of all sales from the year to put towards the purchase of necessity items for those in need. This year in particular we will be taking those funds and creating hygiene care packs and will be handing those out on Christmas morning. Although it’s a small effort, we feel it’s paramount to help when and where you can, so as we grow, this initiative will as well.
WHY DO YOU BELIEVE YOU SHOULD BE USING YOUR BUSINESS TO SUPPORT SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES?
I may have answered that above in some shape or form, but aside from the One For One | Everyone initiative, I have a master plan to evolve STS into a full on art focused operation, not just one that creates garments. If and when we ever get there, we would love for STS to be a place where artists, makers & creatives can work together, hone their craft and truly build something special both independently and as a whole. A place where we can all champion and support one another, as well as build not just our community, but our local one as well. I love my hometown Edmonton, AB a lot, and I want to build something that we can bring back there in some capacity and something that the city and its people can be proud of!
In the wise words of Nick, “Keep doing the good work you are up to and I look forward to the time we can hang and chat face to face!!”
Much love, much respect!
Nick Arbour + Ani Wells