Douglas & Son
Bobcaygeon Store 68 Bolton Street, Bobcaygeon Ontario K0M 1A0, CA
- Vintage-inspired Ts, sweatshirts, and hats.
- Vintage goods include a collection of 500+ vintage vinyl albums.
- An edited selection of pre-loved clothing.
68 Bolton Street
WHAT WE LOVE
A store featuring a mix of vintage goods, industrial furniture and Douglas + Son branded apparel. Founded in 2013 by Bill and Sacha Douglas, after moving to the small rural town of Bobcaygeon from Toronto. The shop blends the couple's love of graphic design and vintage and mid-century style. The apparel is designed in-house and artwork pays tribute to classic Northern imagery and historical typography.
"At our core we are pickers, and we search high and low across the backroads of North America in search of the best and most unique vintage, industrial, and antique statement pieces out there."
Douglas + Son named after the owners’ family name and their son to evoke a family-run small-town mercantile vibe. Bill and Sacha designed the original shop that opened in 2013 and the current space that they relocated to in 2015.
What are your best sellers? We are best known for our line of Douglas + Son apparel and having a tightly curated selection of vintage items and industrial furniture.
Where are products sourced and made? For our apparel line, we design everything ourselves and produce most of it in Ontario. At our core we are pickers, and we search high and low across the backroads of North America in search of the best and most unique vintage, industrial, and antique statement pieces out there. We also build furniture out of industrial metal bases and reclaimed timber and whatever else we find! It’s a pretty sustainable business and we’re constantly trying to make it more so.
Who are your customers? We are in a fantastic rural cottage town 2 hours northeast of Toronto, so our customer base is a mix of seasonal cottagers from the city, locals, and visitors from all over.
How has the internet impacted your business? We introduced our online apparel store this past year and that has been a welcome addition to the bricks-and-mortar shop, especially for our customers from afar. However, Instagram, more than anything else, has had the biggest impact on our business. It allows us to tell our story and creates a connection that a website or online shop can’t. People discover you on Instagram and will make the special trip to seek you out, making it easier to operate a shop from a more “destination” location or smaller town.
Who inspires you? Stylistically, we’re inspired by everyone from Willie Nelson to Chance the Rapper, Patti Smith, Smokey the Bear and Buckminster Fuller.
What inspires you? Around here, we are inspired by our rural existence, local history, and nature. When we travel, we always incorporate some element of inspiration-seeking, whether it’s hunting down a killer hotel, flea market, shop, or out-of-the-way restaurant. We visit cities and small towns in equal measure. As well, we love books, printed matter, typography, architecture and interior design from all eras.
Before we were shopkeepers…. In our previous city life, Bill was a graphic designer (specializing in book design), magazine publisher, artist, and occasional singer in an alt/garage/country band. Sacha was a Chef and ran an eclectic event space where she hosted underground food, wine, and art events.
The hardest lesson learned in starting a business? It’s all-encompassing. There’s really no true downtime and it’s pretty much impossible to disconnect fully. Our wheels are always turning. That said, we wouldn’t have it any other way!
The best lesson you have learned opening a shop? Create an experience that people want to be a part of. It’s all in the details: Music, texture, design, aesthetic, product, friendly and authentic customer interaction. All of these elements have to cohere and you can’t drop the ball on any of them.
WHAT THE SHOPKEEPERS LOVE
ON THE FUTURE OF RETAIL
"In our minds, the future of retail is to be satisfied with staying small, hands-on and bespoke. Explosive growth is not necessarily a good thing! You need to keep the personal touch present in order to counter the impersonal world of online shopping and ‘Big Box’ mall shopping. For us, it’s more gratifying that way, and we think so many of today’s shopkeepers feel the same."