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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gaps in the system: Youth cope with homelessness in Greater Victoria

Four-part series will look at youth homelessness in the region

Rolling the dice on the patina of old copper

At the Galleries: Summer days continue

Museum asks British Columbians for COVID-19 nature observations

Royal BC Museum collects information as part of ongoing pandemic project

Oak Bay pool to reopen Aug. 17

Swimming, other activities return this month

Island riders conquering new heights

With no races, cyclists tackle Everest challenge to lift community

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Missing teen visiting Courtenay found safe

She had last been seen going for a walk on Aug. 6

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Vancouver Island team takes on wacky challenges of world’s largest scavenger hunt

Greatest International Scavenger Hunt taking place Aug. 1-8

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Most Read