Canard Shop: An Interview

A couple of months ago, I purchased a Columbiaknit Breton shirt from Canard Shop. For those of you not familiar with Canard Shop, a brief introduction: It’s a modest online enterprise, dedicated to selling American made clothing. It’s curatorial, gathering together a diverse range of items from a diverse range of manufacturers.

I had the pleasure, a little while back, of conducting a brief e-mail interview with Canard’s owner and founder John Williams. His passion for American manufacturing shone through in every answer, and it’s a genuine honor to have the opportunity to highlight someone who shares our commitment to American made goods.

1. How did Canard get its start?

I grew up in a rural setting, a backwater swamp island in Southwest Florida, accessible only by boat. For the most part, everything we owned needed to be robust and long-lasting–anything less would’ve been compromised by the natural world rather quickly. I recognized the importance of seeking out quality goods and learned the best tools for the job are worth the extra time or money spent procuring them.

Entering adulthood as a collegian in San Francisco, I tried to stretch my dollars with used clothing items from Pendleton, Levi’s, Filson and the like. Eventually I recognized the common trait amongst the garments I prefered to wear, with rare exception, these goods were made in the USA. I began to exclusively seek American-made items. If given enough time spent researching, I could find nearly anything item made in USA. While spending donkey’s years searching for “Made in USA” goods, I had a realization: I could create a central resource for the best American-made available, benefiting both consumers and producers alike.

2. How long have you been in business?

I began flirting with the idea of launching Canard since 2010. At the time (and since then), I’ve primarily been pursuing a career in the film industry. After experiencing a varying amount of success in film, I saw my chance to launch and opened for business mid-September, 2014.

3. Do you have a physical storefront? If not, are you planning (or hoping) to set one up?

For now, we’re exclusively an internet shop. We began at a house in the Seventh Ward of New Orleans, a city which I called home for six years. Earlier this month we moved to Portland in the “Pacific Wonderland” of the beautiful West. As online sales steadily increase, we hope to open a physical shop in Portland this year.

4. What about American manufacturing inspires you?

Though I was born overseas, the best thing to happen in my life was to become an American. I love this country. In varying degrees, I believe we are all connected and I feel some responsibility for the well-being of my fellow countrymen. I often wonder what I can do to benefit the common good and how to eliminate poverty in this country.

Looking back at recent American history, from the perspective of a man in his late-twenties, I see the devastation caused by the loss of domestic manufacturing. I believe there is a great need for reliable and ordinary jobs–not everybody wants a high-powered, stress-laden and academically-intensive career. Manufacturing jobs can provide workers with a steady, living wage and the freedom to pursue a sense of purpose within their local community. Buying USA-made goods is an investment in our homeland, our neighbors and our future together.

5. Is there anything else about your business you’d like our readers to know?

Our environment is rapidly changing and the weather we experience in coming decades will be unlike the predictable cycles of yesteryear. Buying goods made in this country benefits us all because these products will last longer, travel less distance and put money into the pockets of your neighbors. With more jobs here, we can better educate our children and collectively make decisions to reduce our impact on the planet.

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