A Canadian Success Story

White House Design is a company unlike any other in the world of fashion. At its onset, it produced a specialty, high-end collection called Krakerz;  however, thirteen years ago, Jan Stimpson, the owner/designer, found herself frustrated with the narrow ideals propagated by the fashion industry and this dissatisfaction gave rise to a vision: create an innovative line of clothing that will celebrate the diversity of the feminine figure. Thus, Sympli was born: a collection of high-quality, affordable basics and novelty pieces that allow women of all shapes and sizes to build entire wardrobes catered to their unique sense of style.  It would seem that Jan was not alone in her discontent as in the period between 2007 and 2012, Sympli has grown by 345%.

Following are the primary reasons for Sympli’s success:

A Unique Business Plan

White House Design was originally run by three women making clothing in their homes in Deep Cove, North Vancouver, selling to local boutiques and gaining exposure where they could. As people noticed the brand, and Sympli took flight, the company grew, but Jan has maintained the principles she began with: when the company succeeds, everyone succeeds. White House Design is truly run like a family; indeed, many of the employees are friends and family that were hired from within the community and have since taken on integral roles, creating an atmosphere of integrity and trust where everyone has a vested interest in the company’s achievements. Jan inspires loyalty in the people who work for her. She embraces a principles-based style of employee relations, where each position is valued and each person is trusted to use his/her own best judgement. The success over the past five years has allowed us to move to a new location, which has only heightened this sense of community as there is now ample room to fit the majority of the company, from design to manufacturing, under one roof!

Jan is committed to supporting her local economy, choosing to use Canadian resources whenever possible to meet the company’s needs. For example, instead of outsourcing its production to an overseas manufacturer, Sympli is created entirely by the White House Design Company; in fact, everything save for the sewing is generated in the company’s new Burnaby facility. The sewing is done by a community of Chinese Canadian women in their homes, allowing them to run a business and bring in an income while taking care of their elders and children. Where language barriers and family obligations may have prevented them from working, this employment has enabled these women to make a good living, giving them a sense of accomplishment and enhancing their lives.

Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of White House Design’s business plan is its vertical nature. Almost every function of the company is performed in-house, from design to marketing to graphics to photography. For example, while White House Design does employ agents to sell Sympli, some areas of the U.S. were not being covered (the Pacific region, Mid-west, Southeast), prompting us to develop these areas ourselves. This gave rise to a Corporate Sales department, which has enabled a direct line of communication from the customer to the company, as well as allowing White House Design the flexibility to effectively meet the needs of its stores. The new Instock and Hotlist programs are good examples of the latter. Essentially, although our regular goods are made to order within a quick six-week turnaround, the company also retains three months of Sympli’s proven sellers in black basics and novelty pieces that can be shipped to a store immediately, allowing it to even more efficiently meet the demands of its customers. It is important to note that much of Sympli’s success arose out of the expansion of the stores we currently work with.

A Unique Mission

As mentioned above, the Sympli mandate is to applaud and embrace the feminine figure in all its shapes and sizes. It is a collection that caters to each lovely body using a variety of fits including snug, relaxed and tunic, as well as offering a new plus-size option, Sympli Grand. This high-quality clothing will not only flatter a woman’s specific body and sense of style, it will also compliment her lifestyle as every piece is affordable, wash and wear, and will travel extremely well. What’s more, the line is ever expanding with innovative new pieces, making it easy for women to add to existing wardrobes. This dedication to giving women what they want (as opposed to telling them what they should want) has engendered a loyal and devoted customer base that is the backbone of Sympli’s success. Women feel justified in buying our clothing because they know it will make them look and feel beautiful, will effortlessly go from day to evening, and will last over time.

True to form, as Sympli thrived, Jan wished to help others succeed as well. Thus, four years ago, White House Design joined with The Looking Glass Foundation, a group of three women who were striving to provide treatment and support for young people suffering from eating disorders. Their commitment was a perfect fit with Sympli’s ideology and we are honoured to be a part of their journey and achievements.

White House Design also proudly supports Change Her World Together, a bright new organization whose mission is to passionately empower, inspire and educate the community so that it may become a source of positive change in the lives of oppressed women and children around the world.

In summary, Sympli is an unparalleled label in the world of fashion as it has succeeded because of its core values of community, loyalty and integrity, as opposed to succeeding at the expense of them.  In an industry that can often make women feel inadequate, Sympli provides them with something unique: joy in finding clothing that will flatter and fit every beautiful body and that is truly something to celebrate.