It started over twenty years ago with a sense of humour, a talented painter Alice Oldland, her restless husband John, and The Little Blue House gift store in the lakeside village of North Hatley, Canada.
Alice, inspired by the countryside around her, had just finished a series of paintings depicting farmyard animals. Needing a venue to show her work, Alice opened a gallery above her gift shop The Little Blue House. John watched the paintings sell and thought he could create a line of aprons based on Alice’s artwork. John was right, the aprons sold and kept on selling. They quickly turned this cottage business into the company Hatley, supplying retailers with the best cow and pig aprons the world had ever seen. Cows and pigs gave birth to moose and bears, aprons led to gifts and clothing. Hatley thrived, but it was all so much work and John and Alice were looking for a life less complicated.
When retirement beckoned, John and Alice happily handed the reins to their three sons, Chris, Nick and Jeremy. Chris – the eldest decided he should be president, Nick – the only one who could draw became the designer, and Jeremy – the youngest, desperate to boss somebody around took over production. Restless like their father, the three boys quickly transformed and grew the company. They developed an extensive children’s line, created comfy women’s sleepwear and expanded into the gift market with napkins, kitchen textiles, mugs and much, much more.
Hatley designs are now sold around the world, and the three boys continue to ensure that Hatley stands for the same principles on which it started: family, good design, quality and of course, loads of laughs.