Darin Roche doesn’t have red hair. Neither does his wife, Sheva Solomon. All three of their daughters, however, were blessed with ginger locks – and Roche’s son has them too.
“Each of our children have their own distinct personalities and imaginative minds and have been the inspiration and drive behind everything that we do,” Roche explains via email. “We are both savvy entrepreneurs, always striving to create time so that we can savour these precious years with our children and spend quality time together as a family.”
What better way to do that than to run a family business? Alas, Authentic Ginger Clothing Co. was born out of wanting to start something for their own four gingers, but Roche and Solomon also wanted to build a brand that would reach people on an international scale.
“We believe in being authentic and proud of who you are, while celebrating all the uniqueness and rarity that comes with being a ginger,” says Roche. “It is important to us that we show our girls that they are special, and that it is cool to be different. We hope that our kids, and all of the gingers out there in the world, can embrace their individuality and be bold with originality.
“This is not just a family business, though – it is a community.”
Roche and Solomon’s initial idea for a clothing business was quite different from what Authentic Ginger Clothing Co. is today, but it was inspired by their children just the same.
“We ended up challenging our eldest daughter, Raiyah, to draw animals that came to her mind, and the result was amazing,” notes Roche. “We recall the first image she drew that came to life on paper as a dinosaur/unicorn with small wings, a long neck like a giraffe, and cute little feet.”
Raiyah’s creativity sparked an idea in her parents. “Sheva and I thought that we should look to create a small little business that would feature our kids’ drawings on T-shirts, keeping the creations ‘authentic’ without any editing, and look to sell them at various kids’ shops.”
The couple ended up shelving the idea for a while, until one of Roche’s marketing clients commented on a shirt prototype he was wearing during a business meeting. “I told her the story about what Sheva and I had wanted to do a few months earlier, and she recommended that I really should take the idea and run with it, and that it was a great concept.”
Roche felt encouraged, but he and Solomon understood that they lacked an important aspect of selling the product: a brand. “We knew that ‘authentic’ was going to have to be part of the name. We also knew that we had four redheads (gingers) in the house, so that would need to be in the name.”
Once they had established a name and a logo, the husband and wife team hit the ground running.
“We jumped online to research as much as we could about redhead culture, and found out that there are hundreds of redhead festivals that take place all over the world each year. I started reaching out to as many as I could with the idea of moving our clothing around the globe to these gatherings. While speaking with many of the festival organizers, I heard many words of hope with regard to creating a forum where redheads could feel appreciated and happy. We wanted to lend our support to redhead culture by creating a brand that celebrates the uniqueness and rarity of being a redhead.”
Roche and Solomon currently offer Authentic Ginger Clothing CO. products – hoodies, tee-shirts and onesies – at their local market in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, as well as online via their website. While the business currently sells to a “very small global market,” the hope is that visibility will evolve and grow, especially in places with a high ginger population such as the United Kingdom and Ireland. From there, they will look into establishing a non-profit organization as well.
“I feel that, although we cannot change the world, we can help reduce the stigma of having been born with red hair by encouraging change in the way redheads perceive themselves. It all goes back to our brand statement – ‘BeAuthentic, Be Ginger, Be Proud.’”