Kyle Poissonnier is a man with a wonderful story of how hard work, perseverance, and the ability to adapt can lead to transformational changes! Catalyst for Change Wear is brand dedicated to making a difference. Kyle stops by to talk about social media, influence, and hard work can help launch a brand anyone can relate to!
Catalyst for Change Wear, or CFC, is a clothing brand Kyle developed in college. As a senior at Husson University, his assignment was to build a fake business plan and it transformed into an influential real-life company. Kyle’s clothing brand focuses on changing culture and supporting individuals in unfortunate situations. It started with a suicide awareness campaign that donated 50% of profits to the Maine Suicide Prevention Program. The campaign was so successful for both the business and the organization; CFC continued to work with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention- Maine Chapter and the Maine Children’s Cancer Program.
Through the CFC clothing line, companies are able to raise awareness and money. The company has a loyal following across the country. This year, CFC has already donated roughly $13,000 to their two charities. “We just did a check presentation this morning at Maine Med in Portland for LifeFlight. They had their 20-year anniversary so we created a shirt for them and sold it for a week. As a result, we cut them a check for $1,800. Not only were they able to raise money, but they were able to raise awareness through this effort”, said Kyle.
After 10 years, the business continues to grow. Most of their marketing is done through social media. The business has been tagged in more than 4,000 photos and has an organic fan base of more than 7,500 engaged followers. CFC works hard to stay fresh and release seasonal specials. For example, they just wrapped up a breast cancer awareness campaign where they created pink state of Maine clothes and made bold statements on t-shirts. It introduced many new followers to the business who had been through cancer. CFC shares those raw stories to help their consumers make connections and relate. Their Instagram page is mostly consists of the company reposting stories consumers have told. Nothing is staged or manufactured- it is all authentic with CFC.
Although the business has a storefront in Westbrook, CFC does 95% of their business online and they have catered to their customers who want to make purchases instantly on their mobile devices. They understand that attention spans are smaller than ever and there is a small window of opportunity to grab a prospective buyer’s attention, as they’ scrolling through their social media feeds. Because of this, CFC allows the consumer to dictate the brand’s designs and plans. They release polls and questionnaires and incorporate the opinions of their buyers. This method has proven very successful for them. They realize their focus needs to remain on their small, loyal fan base and pleasing those followers.
With the holiday season right around the corner, the CFC team is busy preparing for black Friday. During the holiday season, they will release new designs at midnight, as they have had tremendous success with this method. They have been raw and unedited in the promotion of their brand and attribute a lot of their success to that. “We post everything. We show you when we are there at midnight printing. When we’re testing something out, we ask what you might think of a certain style or color”, said Kyle. CFC values their customer’s input and incorporates it into everything they do.
Kyle will serve as a panelist at the Social Influence Forum at the Maine Business Expo on November 14 at the Holiday Inn by the Bay. During the event, Kyle looks forward to the opportunity to gather feedback from consumers and advice from other business owners. In the meantime, you can learn more about CFC clothing at CFCwear.com or on Instagram or Facebook.
The Maine Business Expo is sponsored by The Maine Apprenticeship Program – a workforce development solution offered by the Maine Department of Labor that helps Maine employers set up on-the-job training programs supplemented by classroom instruction. In today’s tight labor market, the Maine Apprenticeship Program has become a go to resource for Maine employers like Cianbro, Bath Iron Works, Sunday River, and Eastern Maine Medical Center. Thousands of occupations qualify. To learn more, visit maine.gov/maineatwork.