Saanich entrepreneur spreads ugly Christmas cheer

Online Christmas sweater sales skyrocket for local businessman

Kyle Reagan models one of his many ugly Christmas sweater creations at his home workshop in Saanich. Reagan has been expanding his business for the past five years

Ugly and tacky aren’t usually nouns a budding entrepreneur hopes to hear about his latest work.

But for local business owner Kyle Reagan, the words couldn’t sound sweeter.

“Naughty’s also been a huge thing this year,” says Reagan, standing in a basement full of self-made ugly Christmas sweaters.

Armed with a glue gun, felt cutouts, ornaments and, more recently, a canvas printer, he dreams up fashion faux pas designed to stand out amongst a room filled with Value Village attire.

Ugly Christmas sweater parties have become the norm in recent years and they historically involve animal vignettes on knitted vintage threads.

“With more competition coming in, you have to be more innovative with the products,” Reagan said, swiping through the remnants of the Christmas rush in his workshop.

One of his most eyebrow-raising innovations is a sweater with protruding screws in place of snowmen’s noses.

“You can attach real carrots to the front,” he said. “It definitely turns heads.”

There’s also demand for niche pop culture designs, he said, including canvas printer images of Justin Bieber and Psy of “Gangnam Style” fame framed with LED lights.

“I don’t have the capacity to make dozens of one model, so often I’ll make one elaborate sweater and sell complimentary products that are very similar on a mass production-type scale,” he said.

The Saanich resident and Royal Roads graduate used the business as a learning ground for future Internet marketing ventures. Now in his fifth season of production, he ships his creations as far away as the United Kingdom through online orders at christmassweaters.ca.

An early estimate puts his sales at 2,100 units for 2012.

He openly shares his knowledge with other DIY-ers through online tutorials on his website.

“I was really standoffish about it the first couple of years, but there’s no secret to it – it’s glue and ornaments.”

Next year, Reagan plans to sell even more tacky sweaters by creating dedicated websites for each market in the U.K., U.S. and Canada.

He may want to consider a website for Alberta, the province that eclipsed all others in ugly Christmas sweater sales this season.

Reagan can only speculate why that’s the case.

“They’re fun-loving people out there, that’s for sure.”

dpalmer@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Crews search for missing kayaker near Sooke

The person was seen launching their kayak from Beecher Bay on Monday at noon

Langford CPL team a one touch pass away from being a done deal

Hydro pole won’t be moved before inaugural season

BC Supreme Court rules in favour of Victoria’s plastic bag ban

Court dismisses a challenge by the Canadian Plastic Bag Association

Man pleads not guilty in 1987 slayings of Victoria couple

William Talbott of SeaTac was arraigned Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court

Belmont volleyball coach wins coach of the year award

Toakley has racked up five provincial championships, three in the last three years

Homeless people living on ‘Surrey Strip’ move into modular housing

BC Housing says 160 homeless people are being moved into temporary Whalley suites from June 19 to 21

Senate officially passes Canada’s marijuana legalization bill

Bill C-45 now moves to royal assent, which is the final step in the legislative process

Fake attempted abduction not funny to B.C. neighbourhood residents

Two teenage boys won’t face criminal charges after scaring girl

Mosquitoes out in full force already? Blame the weather

But a B.C. mosquito expert says the heat wave will help keep the pests at bay

New GOP plan: Hold kids longer at border – but with parents

Move would ease rules that limit how much time minors can be held with their parents

Without a big data strategy, Canadians at risk of being ‘data cows’

Presentation said artificial intelligence could give Facebook and Amazon even more power

Five B.C. families stuck in Japan as Canada refuses visas for adopted babies

Lawyer points to change in American policy around adoptions from Japan

It may be ‘lights, camera, action!’ for talented B.C. doctor

Rob Forde is waiting to hear if he’ll become The Basement Doctor in his own reality show

Police find capsized boat near Tofino, 3 men still missing

Five men were aboard the boat when it sank off Vancouver Island early Monday morning

Most Read