Inder Bedi, Creative Director and Founder of Matt & Nat was completing a Bachelors degree in Marketing when he started his business. “I was given an assignment to create a business”. Inspired by his vegetarian lifestyle, he consulted with local craftsmen in Montreal to create a line of stylish and cruelty-free bags. His focus on materials and nature also inspired the brand’s name. He shortened the words and ended up with Matt & Nat.
Shashi Behl is another successful Canadian entrepreneur that takes inspiration from personal lifestyle. As owner of Calgary-based Twisted Goods, her team handpicks items that are stylish, functional and eclectic. “My team lives and breathes the brand. We’re proud of our products and enjoy working teacher as a team.”
I had the opportunity to speak with Inder and Shashi at the Matt & Nat and Twisted Goods event on Wednesday, October 24th. Twisted Goods has carried the Matt & Nat line since 2004 and is one of the many Canadian brands it carries. The rapport between these two business owners seemed that of a friendship between good friends. Both are personable and down to earth. They mingled with everyone in the room, getting their photos taken at request and encouraged all to try the delicious vegan cookies. I wasn’t surprised when they agreed that interacting with customers was the best part of their business.
“The sense of accomplishment after reaching a goal is amazing.” Shashi said as Inder nodded in agreement. He then went on to describe that great feeling when looking at a final product, after all the brainstorming, sketches and samples. Dedicated to premium materials and custom hardware, Matt & Nat strives for product innovation. Each item is inscribed inside with “This lining is made with 100% recycled plastic bottles” and in 2013, a product line made of bicycle tire inner tubes will be unveiled.
Despite the recession and increased competition in the consumer market, Inder and Shashi have seen their businesses grow. Matt & Nat has expanded to select boutiques globally and even partnered up with Apple. Twisted Goods now has stores in Southcentre, Market Mall and Aspen Landing in Calgary. When asked about the secret to their success, Shashi responded with “We owe it to our loyal clientele and supporting other great businesses. We help each other out.”
So what about that University project to start a business? “I think I got seventy-five percent.” Inder joked.
Matt & Nat: http://mattandnat.com/
Twisted Goods: http://www.twistedgoods.ca/