Exclusive: Interview with CFL star James Yurichuk
James Yurichuk is a big guy with an even bigger heart, especially when it comes to wildlife. So much so that the CFL player co-founded Mammoth Outerwear, a premium winter jacket company that’s also cruelty-free.
The idea for the company came in response to the popular (mis)conception that the only way to stay warm in the winter is by wearing the fur and feathers of animals. Yuck.
Mammoth Outerwear is hoping to be mammoth in the outerwear big leagues, and with your help via their Kickstarter campaign, you can make that a reality. Each coat is super high quality, down-free and made in Canada. What’s even better is that a portion of each parka’s sale will be donated to Make Fur History.
Ecorazzi chatted with Yurichuk about the campaign, his connection with animals, and where you can buy these awesome jackets.
Can you tell us a little bit about Mammoth Outwear?
I started off, in my football career, playing in Vancouver. I’m originally from Toronto, but being in Vancouver, I was away from the fashion winter scene for a while. When I came back [Yurichuk now plays for the Toronto Argonauts], it was like March of the Penguins. Everyone was wearing a fur-trimmed winter parka and that was in 2012. It was disheartening to me because I always had a connection with animals. So I wanted to do something about it. It started with the name, Mammoth, and a little sketch of a logo, and over the last three years, it’s evolved to the position it is in now.
You mentioned having a connection with animals growing up. Tell us about that.
Little things that my parents instilled me. Whenever there was a spider in the house, my mom would pick it up with a napkin and put it outside. My dad was always making sure we were recycling. These little things helped me create this connection to the environment and animals.
So what is your hope for Mammoth Outerwear? Is it that people become more aware of what they’re actually wearing?
We want to create that alternative for people. I know how it feels to go out to the store looking for a premium outdoor jacket or coat, and the only option you have are fur-trimmed and goose downed filling. My thing with the goose down filling is that they are such great birds. I want people to remember how much fun we have going to the local lake and watching them. I see my son pointing out the geese in the sky, you know? So for us to turn around and kill them for our coats, it just doesn’t make sense to me. Technology has caught up with the times. Our PrimaLoft Gold insulation out performs the goose feathers in many ways. We want to put the alternative out there and hopefully turn the mainstream users over to Mammoth.
And you’re doing a Kickstarter campaign. Why did you choose that route?
So, we decided to launch our brand the Kickstarter route because it allows us to tell our story. There is a two-minute video that is on both our website and the Kickstarter page, and I invite everyone to watch it. It shows the problems [with goose downed jackets] and what we offer as the alternative. With the Kickstarter, it allows us to engage with the people. We didn’t want to start off by putting our product in boutiques and retail because it doesn’t tell our story by sitting there on a shelf. We have a story behind our brand. People have been pushing it, social media has been pushing it. The support we have seen across Canada has been great.
I read that you did the C.N. Tower Climb earlier this year for WWF- Canada (which is something I would love to do, but it seems so daunting to me). So is that something you like to do – helping out various charities?
Yeah, I try to be as active as I can. One of my big things in2015 was to step up my game and that literally started stepping up the steps of the C.N. Tower. I am always open to helping these organizations whenever I can. Most of the community stuff I’ve been involved with have been through the Toronto Argonauts, including the Huddle Up program, which helps prevent bullying in schools, as well as the White Ribbon Program, which aims to stop violence against women and helps create awareness about the cause.
Back to the Mammoth Outerwear. So where can we buy these fabulous coats?
So, for this season, we are selling them exclusively through the Kickstarter campaign and that’s the only place where you can grab them so far. A lot of people have been asking where they can buy them, but we want people to hear our story before they start wearing the products. So head over there and check it out.
What’s one last thing you want people to know about your product?
I really appreciate the support we’ve received on social media. I know that not a lot of people are in a position where they can afford a $600 jacket or are in need of one, but retweets and posts, all of those things, are very important to us, too.
One last question. You mentioned before your connection to animals. Why are animals so important to you? What is it about them that you connect to?
They give me great joy. I’m the kind of guy who watches the Discovery Channel and loves watching the energy and joy that animals bring into the world. If there is a chance to save some of these animals, then I am going to do my best to do so.