Alison Verrier and Marie Meeks, Glo Apparel, Vancouver

Loan Client

When Alison Verrier, a dental assistant, and Marie Meeks, a fashion designer, were both studying for their prospective careers, they had a moment of genius. One day, the mother and daughter were out shopping for Alison’s scrubs and all they could find were of baggy, ill-fitting options. They came together and decided, why not make our own? They tested different styles and fabrics until they found the perfect fit, and when people started asking Alison about her scrubs, they knew they had a business in their hands.

Wired Fox Apparel Inc., operating as Glo Apparel, designs, manufactures and sells uniforms for dental and medical offices, spas, hotels and veterinarian offices. They offer custom hemming and pre-wash the garments before shipping so the customer can wear the uniform right out of the bag. They accommodate every shape and size in the office so that everyone person can wear matching uniforms.

Q: What inspired you to take the leap and start your own business?
Marie: Alison had decided to take an Orthodontic Dental Course up at UBC, so the first day of the course, she wore the uniform we had designed and she got a lot of attention! All the fellow students were curious where she bought them, so she proceeded to take a list of names of students who would be interested in purchasing a set of uniforms, and every one of them signed the list. With all the excitement over the product, we knew we had to act on it.

Q: What’s the biggest lesson you learned when starting your business?
Alison: The biggest lesson would probably have to be that building a business takes a lot of time and effort. We learned that it’s okay to make mistakes along the way, but try to learn from them, and avoid repeating them.
Marie: Try to separate business from your personal life. Although we are mother and daughter, we have worked hard on maintaining a professional relationship at work.

Q: What are your goals for the business?
Alison: To make things much more efficient, we recently amalgamated our two locations from Marie’s basement and a Yaletown boutique to one location in Vancouver where we can sell, design and produce our clothing line. Our future goals are to continue to create and develop efficient operating systems, sustain sufficient volume of sales to maintain financial needs and facilitate growth. Gradually, we will hire skilled employees to assist in all aspects of the company, while continuing to obtain and maintain a strong market share in the uniform business across North America.

Q: What is your greatest strength as an entrepreneur?
Marie: Our greatest strength as entrepreneurs would have to be our dedication to the business. As time goes on we enjoy watching the business grow, and love to constantly challenge ourselves to be better at what we do. We try not to allow ourselves to get too comfortable, so we are in constant growth mode.

Q: What personal lessons have you learned as an entrepreneur?
Alison: At first, we didn’t understand the concept of input and output in our business and accumulated some debt as a result. Now we realize a business budget is much the same as a personal budget in that one can only spend what one takes in. We now plan our budget based on our income and wait until we have enough money before making improvements or changes.