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Meet Joshua Kriger and Jeff Kelley of Canopy in Venice

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joshua Kriger and Jeff Kelley.

Joshua and Jeff, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Jeff: We always tell folks that it’s always more about the why than the what for us. With that in mind, it’s helpful to know that we are huge hat lovers. We each own a countless array of hats that fill our closets, primarily baseball caps. The thing is, we have just a couple of favorites in terms of fit but love the others for what they represent — our favorite sports teams, brands, musicians, or whatever.

Josh: We came to the realization that we had more than a few too many hats and how great it would be to lessen our collections down to something more reasonable, get the comfort of the hats with our favorite fits, and still support the things we love the most. One of the things we carried over from our experience in scaling a food company was that quality, sourcing, and taste (or style in this case), have to be on point with no compromise.

Jeff is an Army veteran and came across various clothing and hats with Velcro for easy switch out of names and units, but he hadn’t seen anything fashionable for a broader audience. That thought stuck with him for years while we honed our skills as startup founders. In particular, we built businesses around e-commerce, co-creation, and sustainability. The intersection of that experience, our obsession with ball caps, and that lingering idea around interchangeable patches sparked Canopy.

Has it been a smooth road?
Jeff: As multi-time entrepreneurs, our expectation is that the road to product-market fit will be a windy and adventurous one. Some of the most exciting inflection points are those “aha moments” when you realize something by way of customer feedback or data or something else that propels you forward. Things like that seem obvious in hindsight, but it is hard to predict how people will respond to a product until you actually give them a chance to do so by giving you their hard earned money and experiencing the product first hand.

Josh: And on the sourcing side, we’re committed to using eco-friendly materials whenever possible. For example, we use recycled plastic bottles for our mesh and snapbacks. We’ve learned to be resourceful and tenacious in this area.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We craft interchangeable & collectible patches and apparel with a commitment to source in the most eco-friendly way possible. Our patches reflect the things that our individual customers love, such as particular teams, people, places, activities, and ideas. So you see lots of themes around traditional & adventure sports, e-sports, music, entertainment, street art, and outdoor living. Canopy will donate a percentage of profits with each hat purchased to help billionBricks in its crusade to provide innovative shelter solutions for those in need.

We’re very proud of bringing a line of products to market that are innovative in both how they serve the desires of our customers (super comfortable, multi-use apparel that reflects the things they love) and also the light footprint they leave on the earth. What happens on Earth stays on Earth and the fashion industry creates tremendous unnecessary waste. By taking the time to find sustainable, remnant, reclaimed sources, we can be part of the solution. With that in mind, sustainability is part of the foundation of our sourcing approach — and we’re just getting started.

It’s this combination of support for shifts in the marketplace toward minimalism, personalization, sustainability, and collectibles that distinguishes us and our brand.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
LA is an amazing place to launch a company like ours. So much to love about the startup community and resources, the inclusive culture, the inspirations for sustainable living, and artistic influences in every form possible. It would be hard not to recommend LA to almost anyone launching a new venture. LA like any city is not perfect and continuing the march to provide public and private support through workspace, incubator programs, tax incentives and more can help to continue to make LA an amazing place to launch a business.

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