Dufferin County Goods Co. t-shirts

We feature some of the most interesting businesses in the Greater Toronto Area. Our goal is to let people see each unique entrepreneurial journey because every path is truly different. However, a few things that remain the same among all entrepreneurs is their strength, creativity and persistence.

Dufferin County Goods Co. Owner Jeanette McFarlane produces t-shirts that tell a story with a design that is relevant and meaningful.

Find them online at www.dufferincountygoods.com or at the
Dufferin County Museum, Concession Road Mercantile in Alliston, Heirloom 142 in Creemore, Route 145 in Orangeville, Jelly’s Bakery in Shelburne, and the Rosemont General Store in Rosemont.

This is your chance to get to know Jeanette McFarlane, Owner of the Dufferin County Goods Co., through our Q/A. We think you’ll find it interesting!

What was the catalyst for starting your business?

A few summers ago we had cousins visiting from the UK and before they went home they wanted to buy a Muskoka t-shirt. Something that was “Canadian”. Most of the shirts they could buy said Canada or Niagara Falls, but nothing really existed for all the wonderful places in between. Literally whilst cutting the grass I thought to myself…I could do that. I had been making souvenir/parody shirts for the family for 25 years, this seemed like a natural extension of that….creating shirts for our local community. That night I set out to make the first design…the design was never about what I thought was ‘cool’ or what I liked…it had to be relevant and meaningful to the community. It had to tell the story of our place. The Mulmur t-shirt was our first concept…with a deer jetting across a road and an oversized nose, because of all of our deer crossing signs in the township – someone had gone and put a big red dot sticker over the nose to make it look like Rudolph.
Our tag line is…“Behind every design is a story”.

How long have you been in business for?

Officially as Dufferin County Goods Co. since October 2016…unofficially I have been building the concept since 1989.

What were the most challenging aspects of starting a business?

Manufacturing the shirts at a price to make a profit. I cut out the middle man and bought a screen press and began doing all the hand screening myself. We call our laundry room…“the factory”.

What advice would you give to someone who is about to start their own business?

Make sure you have a product or service that answers a need. Make sure if you have competition you have a point of difference. If you’ve always wanted to do it…do it. You only go round once in this life and don’t look back and say…”I wish I would have tried”

What advice do you wish someone had shared with you?

Don’t listen to negativity…being an entrepreneur is a roller coaster. Some days you are so confident…other days you question what have you done with your life.

How do you think you have grown as a person through the experience of starting and maintaining a business?

I’ve learned a new skill, better understand business, and am now not afraid to take risks. I used to avoid the ‘sales role’ but when you design, create and sell…there is no avoiding. You have to do it. It’s all you. You wanted to do the idea, then you go out and knock on doors.

What do you do when you need a little inspiration?

Read history. There are so many interesting facts and people from our past that may hold the key to our future.

What is the difference between your business and others like it?

My shirts are relevant and meaningful. They tell a story and the designs are based on a common history. Other shirts in the county are craft breweries to represent a town or community…but who wants to wear a beer shirt?

Owner, Jeanette McFarlane

Find them online at www.dufferincountygoods.com

Email: jeanette@dufferincountygoods.com


Dufferin County Museum, Concession Road Mercantile in Alliston, Heirloom 142 in Creemore, Route 145 in Orangeville, Jelly’s Bakery in Shelburne and the Rosemont General Store in Rosemont.

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