Pride Month Interview: NOR EASTER Apparel
Updated: Jul 4, 2022
Interview Number One!
We are so excited to bring you the first edition of our Pride Month interviews, we’d like to highlight a pretty amazing and inspiring human. He’s a man of many ventures, putting Nova Scotia and more specifically Martin’s Point on the map. Last week, we were lucky enough to catch up with our man Jay Hiltz, ownerof NOREASTER APPAREL.
Hey Jay. Tell everyone a bit about NOR EASTER. Yeah, so we make ferociously comfortable clothes that are designed and hand printed in Nova Scotia. I’ve been on a mission to prove that you can build the life you want without compromising where to want to live to do it and NOR EASTER was born out of this idea. We are so proud to be a Nova Scotian apparel line and are committed to community –celebrating local talent, creating local jobs, and supporting our economy.
Awesome! So, with this business venture what does success look like to you? Honestly, success for me has always been more about customer service and clients than bottom line. We’re a small little E-Comm start-up in rural Nova Scotia and when I’m shipping an order to Australia, Japan, or Europe I think about how incredible it is that someone in some far corner of the world was emotionally connected with something I made. Or when someone reaches out to say that they were shopping in Costco and the cashier was like, “Where did you get that? That’s the third shirt I’ve seen like that this week!” Those are moments that feel like success.
Love that! We’re so excited to be celebrating LGBTQ+ business owners this month… and every month really! Can you tell us a bit about what Pride means to you? My relationship with Pride has been a little weird. I spent most of my early life trying to blend in, not stand out; I was bullied all throughout high school and it just really wasn’t a good experience. When I was away at university and was watching people participate in Pride, I just couldn’t connect with it. In the last couple of years though, Pride has taken on a whole new meaning for me – especially after coming across the phrase “You can’t be what you can’t see!” It’s a saying that really struck me because I can’t expect to inspire others to be their true selves if I don’t have the courage to be my own. At the beginning of each year, I spend some time trying to focus on what NOR EASTER’s theme is going to be. From that stems my graphics and my creative pillars. This year community involvement is a huge part of our theme and with that is this idea that you can’t be what you can’t see – the idea of being a more visible presence in an inspiring and empowering way. So, I think this year – this feeling of being seen and empowering others – this is probably my most favourite memory of Pride to date. Not a dry eye in the house, Jay!
It gets better. A couple of weeks ago, a GSA group from a local Junior High School reached out and asked if I would print their Pride shirts for them. I was like, “you have no idea how in line this is with my vision” and I worked with them to create a graphic. They’re coming this Fridayand they’re going to print their own t-shirts together. To be able to engage with the community on this level has been super rewarding for me and actually super healing because there were no GSA groups when I was young. Like, it wasn’t even safe to be gay. And a Junior High School?! Just amazing. I have never been more proud and hopeful.
Some more thoughts for LGBTQ+ youths before we wrap things up today? Yeah. You don’t have to do this alone. There are people out there who get you and can truly empathize with the majority of the thoughts you’re wrestling with. You don’t have to do it alone if you don’t want to. Such a powerful conversation, Jay. I think you deserve an award for being completely RAD and inspiring. Is there anyone you’d like to thank? Oscar style. I’d like to thank my parents for their relentless, selfless support. I couldn’t be doing this without them. My partner who gets me on a level that no one else does, except maybe my parents. And a shout out to my core group of friends. My work life doesn’t allow for much socializing, so I appreciate that we can go periods of time without seeing one another and when there is time, we can just pick back up without missing a beat. APPLAUSE. Check out NOR EASTER APPAREL at:
We hope you enjoyed this interview, just as much as we did!!! Thanks Jay!