“Lets be Frank”with Frank Lyman who cut out a career for himself in world wide fashion
In 2001 after opening his first Canadian shop, the Frank Lyman range of jackets, dresses, tops, pants and blouses are stocked in over 3,500 shops in more than 63 countries.
It’s all go at the Pointe-Claire headquarters of Frank Lyman Design where any thoughts of a retail downturn seemed to be have been shrugged off.
Staff include 110 people who work on-site, seven designers, supplying mid-end women’s clothing businesses world wide. Plus 260 independent contractors and sales staff.
98 per cent of what is sold is made in Canada, and proudly claims “within a 30-kilometre radius of this building.”
“We want to keep the work in Canada, too. We pay a more but it better,” he said.
This daughter Stephanie, now 39, runs the company and employs her two brothers Pat and Eric. Frank is still the CEO.
Frank’s now around 70 and has had a love of clothes all this life.
“When we started business it was the four including me and my daughter Stephanie.
“She has the talent to run Frank Lyman. The fashion business, you have to have it in your fingers, you can’t teach it, and the customers like her more than me.”
Frank is knows as “visionary trendsetter” for fashion design, “a champion at sales and marketing” and “an example for those entering the field.”
Frank Lyman’s dad, Duncan, was a foreman at Canadian Pacific Railroad. He never missed a days work, and was still working at 85 years old and that’s where my work ethic comes from.
I left school early wanting to be a musician but that didn’t work out, next up was hauling potato chips and working in a glue factory..
As luck would have it I started working with Joe Shackett, a clothing representative selling clothing all over Canada with great success.
After a year selling insurance he returned to his true love fashion and worked for 25 years with Joseph Ribkoff.
But he knew he should really run this own ship and soon the Frank Lyman brand was born.
The Frank Lyman label took off and on 2003, exports beckoned and Ireland and England became a happy hunting ground. The rest they say is history.
2014 saw a $10 million expansion to the buildings with sales at $90 million up from the first year of $1 million.
Asked why he’s survived and flourished he said “ The best operators always survive, and you need to able to change and move quickly, make dresses that can be worn season after season and of course make the clients look and feel amazing.