Ugly sweaters for all

Local Entrepreneur gets crafty for Christmas with tacky, cheesy, ugly, light-up sweaters

Kyle Reagan was frustrated with the lack of tacky Christmas sweaters out there, so he decided to make his own.

Kyle Reagan was frustrated with the lack of tacky Christmas sweaters out there, so he decided to make his own.

 

 

For Kyle Reagan, an invitation to an ugly Christmas sweater party was a date with destiny.

The 26-year-old Victoria entrepreneur had a hard time finding the perfect tacky sweater for the party and thought others could be running into the same problem. “You can’t get as tacky or as cheesy with a vintage sweater as you can with an original,” says Reagan. “I wasn’t happy with the options out there, so I decided to make one myself.”

He got to work collecting ornaments and nick-nacks from clearance sales and dollar stores and stapling them on to sweaters he purchased at vintage stores and thrift shops. Then he started a website. Before long, the apartment he shared with his girlfriend was filled with sweaters and his email inbox was full of requests for purchase.

“There are only a few providers out there that actually make their own,” says Reagan. “Most of the other guys manufacture overseas. I have more than 450 styles (other than vintage) and they’re all one-offs. You’ll never walk into a party wearing the same ugly sweater as someone else.”

He quickly changed his weapon of choice from a stapler to a glue gun, and in the last four years, he’s sold hundreds of sweaters, ranging in price from $29 to $149 plus shipping.

Last year (his third season), Reagan was sold out of sweaters by Dec. 1. This year he is prepared for the increasing demand. He got started crafting the 2011 line in February — ordering end-run sweatshirts from Vancouver and LED lighting kits from China.

The latest trend in Christmas sweaters: the light-up sweater.

Reagan’s latest works include the Excalibur collection — one-off sweaters that “include everything but the kitchen sink. And at least 20 lights,” says Reagan.

His mostly-mail-order business sees about half its website traffic come from people searching for ugly, tacky or cheesy Christmas sweaters online. The other half is looking for their light-up cousin.

“The light-up sector has seen the most aggressive growth,” says Reagan. He says about half his website traffic comes from south of the border.

But most of his business comes on those late November and early December evenings when last-minute shoppers come calling for crafty Christmas cardigans. As long as customers have a design in mind (the sweaters are all boxed for shipping), they can come do some shopping at his Saanich workshop.

Reagan’s website, christmassweaters.ca, is hosting Victoria’s inaugural Tacky Christmas Sweater Party at Sugar Nightclub,  Saturday, Dec. 3. Tickets are $10 in advance and are available on the website. M

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tomo Vranjes, a Greater Victoria musician and longtime fan of late rock guitar icon Eddie Van Halen, joins artist Paul Archer behind the latter’s Fort Street gallery. Archer, whose airbrushed paintings of rock greats have made him many connections in recent years, painted a likeness of Van Halen following the guitarist’s death last month from cancer. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Victoria artist’s king-sized tribute to Eddie Van Halen draws on personal connection

Paul Archer had an up close and personal day with the legendary guitarist in 1980

A sample of some of Lou-ann Neel’s jewelry.
Lou-ann Neel wins the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art

Originally from Alert Bay, Neel’s family is steeped in renowned Kwakwaka’wakw artists

I-Hos Gallery manager Ramona Johnson shows some of the paddles available at the retail outlet. Photo by Terry Farrell
I-Hos Gallery celebrates 25 years of promoting First Nation artwork

K’ómoks First Nation-based outlet has art from all over the country

Bard to Broadway Theatre Society may stage shows outdoors next summer. (PQB News photo file)
Qualicum Beach’s Bard to Broadway group may stage shows outdoors

Theatre society plans smaller productions due to ongoing pandemic

A new short film festival called MORVENFEST is encouraging B.C. secondary students to step into the world of film during their Christmas break. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
New film festival gives Victoria students exciting opportunity

MORVENFEST is open to all B.C. secondary students over Christmas break

Port Alberni author Diane Dobson has put together a collection of childhood memories, with proceeds going towards the Ty Watson House. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Port Alberni writer looks through the eyes of a child

Book raises funds for the Alberni Valley Hospice Society

The Old School House Arts Centre in Qualicum Beach has temporarily closed its doors to the public as of Nov.18. (Mandy Moraes photo)
COVID-19: The Old Schoolhouse Arts Centre in Qualicum Beach closes until 2021

TOSH takes proactive approach to ‘protect the well-being of the community’

Edie Daponte and Joey Smith share the stage Saturday at the Sid Williams Theatre. The show is also being livestreamed. Photo supplied
Edie Daponte brings show up-Island

Second World War tribute live and livestreamed in Courtenay and Campbell River

Most Read