Marilyn began Blue Sky Clothing seeing how difficult it was for women around her to find ethical, comfortable clothing. She first sourced her fabrics in Indonesia where she could buy fabric in small quantities and design her own prints. Working with local batik artists, she designed patterns on natural fibre rayon and established enduring business relationships that still benefit all parties today.
Production expanded to China in 2000 when Marilyn’s niece married a Chinese man from the province of Sichuan. This gave Marilyn the opportunity to launch a small factory and start producing the beautiful bamboo clothing Blue Sky is known for.
Back in Canada, she started selling the clothing out of her trustworthy Volkswagen van, affectionately nicknamed “Buggie”. Marilyn and Buggie became fixtures at the Balfour ferry landing, with her also driving to local get-togethers, setting up in parking lots for community events and trade shows, and wholesaling.
This hard work paid off, and she soon opened Blue Sky Clothing’s first fixed location at the Balfour ferry landing, a store-front which remains to this day. This success was followed by the opening of another store, this time in the heritage city of Nelson, BC.
She then moved to North Vancouver, where she established her headquarters. With the support of her family and her partner, she expanded her business and opened several storefronts around the Vancouver area.
With the help of her sister, she’s expanded Blue Sky’s activities into charity, running the “Sock it to Literacy” program every year. Through this program, with each purchase of a merino wool sock, one dollar is donated to local literacy programs. And Blue Sky sells thousands of socks!
Constantly looking out for every level of Blue Sky Clothing, Marilyn also visits her overseas locations every year to connect with her employees and family members who live there. Her ethos of adaptability has allowed Blue Sky Clothing to adjust to new situations, including the COVID-19 pandemic. After decades of success, Marilyn still runs Blue Sky Clothing, overseeing nine stores in BC, a thriving web store, and multiple wholesale locations across the continent.