A man who started a clothing brand designed to help people push past their comfort zone is walking the talk.
Last year Cody Demerais launched his pop-up shop, I am Limitless Gear, at Gateway Mall, selling clothing with his brand aimed at inspiring others.
Friday, he celebrated the soft opening of something a little bit more permanent — his storefront on Central Avenue.
Demerais wanted to inspire and create something people could be proud of.
That was the thought behind I am Limitless Gear, the clothing brand the Prince Albert resident started in early 2017.
Demerais is from Prince Albert, and — aside from a year spent in Saskatoon for school — has lived the city his whole life.
He started with a T-shirt, and progressed from there, adding hoodies and hats, toques and other apparel.
Demerais thought hard about his brand name and its design, two gears interlocked, just like the infinity sign.
“I love the concept of going that extra mile, being something somewhat different, just exceeding expectations. A gear is a strong symbol. Shifting gears means making motion happen. Shift gears, be limitless, is the mantra I came up with,” he told the Herald last year.
The idea of creating a brand first came to Demerais through a project in elementary school. The teacher assigned the students to come up with a personal brand using hockey sticks, basketballs or their initials, anything that connected with them.
“I always thought it was a cool concept, having your own brand,” Demerais said.
“Something with your signature on it, something out there.”
Demerais wanted his brand to be inspirational.
“I want to motivate people to step outside their comfort zone, to not follow the same routine, and to do something that makes them uneasy.”
Friday, at about 11:30 a.m. Demerais had already seen about 20 customers come through his door in the first hour and a half of the store’s operations.
“I’m feeling fantastic,” he said. “I’ve never been more excited about something in my life.”
Demerais said last year’s pop-up shop was “just a little tester” to see how the clothing brand would do in the local market.
“I was very happy with the results and the support I got last year, he said.
Now, he wants to give other local entrepreneurs a taste of that same success.
“It’s going to be a retail store, (with) about 20-30 businesses where everyone can test their products on the market and see where their business can go next.”
The business is still growing, but as of opening day, Demerais has welcomed Warman’s 306 Handmade Signs, Saskatoon’s Viahera Canada, local microblading business Brows on Fleek, Christmas wreaths from Tanya Miller at Vintage Love and Bliss Clothing into his space. He also has his Limitless Gear available for sale. The store is operating out of the former location of Beth’s Yarn at 909A Central Avenue downtown.
“I’m very happy with the team that’s working together to make a storefront work,” he said.
“It’s been a process over the past few years of working on this brand, but I can’t wait to see what I can do with another six months of working on this full-time.”
In addition to providing a space for other small entrepreneurs to sell their wares, Demerais is hoping to spread the message about the importance of shopping local.
“When you support a business like mine, you help keep my dreams alive, keeping the lights on,” he said.
‘When you support 306 Handmade Signs, you help feed a couple of young kids. When you buy products from Bliss Clothing you help their brand new baby. When you support small business, you[‘re helping more than you think, and I wanted to show the importance of that.”
As for pushing his own limits, Demerais said opening a store like this is nothing he’s ever attempted. He’s also planning to launch a motivational speaking business in the new year.
“I’ve never run a retail store in my life, so that’s a little far out from the usual,” he said.
“Since I decided to pull the trigger, I haven’t looked back.”