How focusing on ‘Made in Canada’ paid off for Kathy Cheng’s family business
Financial Post, May 1, 2015 • As a child, Kathy Cheng spent weekends and summer days sitting atop rolls on rolls of colourful fabric at her family’s clothing factory in Toronto’s east end. She played with her toys and colouring books, gazing at the seamstresses and fabric cutters working around her.
Today at 39, she is at the centre of it all in a different way: Kathy is now her father’s business partner as president of WS & Co. Ltd., and founder of its promotional apparel division, Redwood Classics. The company co-founded by Chak Cheng in 1988 is one of a few full-service garment manufacturers left in Canada.
The Chengs built and rebuilt amid mounting pressure from offshore competition. And despite their immigrant roots tracing back to Hong Kong and Asia’s clothing factories, WS & Co. has remained fiercely Canadian. So much so, that Kathy now calls herself a “crusader for Canadian garment manufacturing.”