Sympli Then & Now
For Jan Stimpson, it all started with an “Ah-Ha” moment…
“I remember the first time it really hit me how important the right clothes could be. A woman had come to me, and she needed help. She had concerns about her body, and she really had no idea what she was looking for. When she left wearing her purchase, we both knew her figure hadn’t changed, but her attitude had. You could tell she felt good about herself; the way she stood a little taller, swung her hips a little more, smiled a little bigger. It was then that I realized: a thoughtfully designed fit really could make a difference.
For me, it has always been about creating garments that celebrate diversity in women. It was never about ‘fashion’. The runways, the trends, the idealistic beauty — I found it all a bit unnecessary, unrealistic and, in some cases, downright wrong. My early love of sewing let me earn a modest living to support my family, but I got the biggest thrill designing clothes for the women in my community, women whose bodies were changing like mine—with motherhood and time—who had busy, demanding lives, but still wanted to leave the house feeling good and looking stylish. As simple as this sounded, it was challenging to find quality, comfortable garments that didn’t squeeze you into the most recent trends. Instead of celebrating my age and changes in my body, I continually felt disappointed. There was a significant hole in the market and I launched a collection to address this need; at first, as a small line of t-shirts and pants, offering fit alternatives, comfort, style, and versatility.
It had to be simple – hence, the name ‘Sympli’.
Designing clothing for everybody was and remains to be my driving passion. I loved the flexibility that being an entrepreneur gave me and my family. As my business grew, it naturally attracted the women in my community who shared my philosophy and lifestyle and wanted the same luxury. “Luxury” being a funny word, as the work required all of our combined talents, many long days and meeting unforeseen challenges… but it is amazing to look back and see what a group of inspired and dedicated women can accomplish. We were best friends, we became a family and Sympli was our baby.
It’s been nearly two decades and not much has changed — the family has simply grown! We now offer over 200 different styles and 20 colours in our original wash-and-wear jersey that can all be mixed and matched. We are proud to maintain our vertical operations exclusively in Canada. Our children work alongside us in our mission to make shopping a fun, liberating experience for all women, regardless of age, shape or size.
A woman’s story is as unique as she is, and she deserves – at the very least – to feel effortlessly comfortable and confident in her wardrobe. I am grateful to play even a small part in her journey.”
PRE-SYMPLI: In 1976, Jan’s passion for fabrics and drape led her to open a fabric store. In the back of the shop, she dappled in designing simple garments with leftover stock. Soon enough Jan’s focus shifted from a fabric store to designing a collection of washable silks called Harmony. The collection set the stage for Sympli with designs of body-friendly fits and free-flowing silhouettes. Harmony’s success was followed by Revival and Krakerz, two lines that embodied a similar vision, constructed in eccentric fabrics and ornate detail – an expression of Jan’s spirited approach to style. At this time it became evident that women were craving body friendly clothing with the ease of simple styling. After 2 years of research in both fit and fabrication, Sympli was launched with a collection of 12 styles and 3 core colours.
Every step of the way Jan has worked closely with the women in her community to address the needs of all women. She reflects on the past years and remembers a lot of hard work, sweat, and tears but most of all laughter with the women she loves.
“To this day, morning coffees on front porches are the norm, doing our best to not talk too much about work.”