How serial entrepreneur, Joel Eden, builds products, brands, and connections
Joel Eden is all about bringing people together to create brands and products. Whether he’s building a brand, a community, or a new product for his clients, Eden is always on the go, and enjoying the ride along the way. We caught up with Eden to learn more about what he does, how he maintains balance, and what he loves most about Edmonton.
Tell us about your career history and how you ended up where you are today.
I was born and raised in Edmonton, and I started with business school at Grant MacEwan College and the University of Alberta in The BCom program. Funny enough, I dropped out of that program to start a business with a friend. My lifelong journey of entrepreneurship started way back then. I had a passion and an interest in fashion and in manufacturing. So I scratched that itch by starting a couple of side businesses—initially, I tried men’s accessories and then dove into men’s retail. I was in men’s retail for quite a while, and I think that gravitated me towards the industry that I’m in, now.
Can you expand on the work that you are doing now?
I am the Sales and Account Manager for Western Canada for Whiteridge Inc., where we design and produce retail goods. I take care of the whole business of getting it into stores, as well as corporate distributorship.
With Kuma Outdoor Gear, I am also a Sales and Account Manager, where I handle sales and accounts and management on the corporate end. Anytime a business wants to collaborate, I deal with the different brands that want to be within the Kuma ecosystem.
I am also the owner and founder of Eden Agency and MODE Ventures where we do brand inception and full brand creation. We build out and create brand profiles, logo creation, font creation and all that goes along with it. This was always kind of a side project. One example was a concrete company here in Edmonton. We did a nice brand refresh and worked on re-logoing their products because then we could facilitate those changes through Whiteridge. It’s kind of still in the ecosystem, but somewhat less of a focus.
Kuma Outdoor Gear is definitely focused on a high-end, luxury outdoor product. I personally love that Whiteridge is a little bit more of an adaptable creature, so we can basically produce anything on any scale. We’ve had some clients want an inexpensive giveaway that they can have in their repertoire, right up to full-scale, high-end luxury products.
What do you think needs to go into a product to consider it luxurious?
First off, super high quality. You want the promise of what the brand is telling you to actually work. And with a luxury product comes a higher price tag, so you do expect to get the quality product that you’re buying. And then in our world with Kuma outdoor gear, you want cool features. We have a heated chair that’s been a hit! It’s extended camping season from early spring when it’s still chilly out, to perhaps now into fall, and maybe all year round. We were the first people to do that. Another cool feature was the app that goes along with it, so your chair can now be preheated. We got used to it in luxury vehicles and luxury floors; why not preheat a chair? Lastly, you need to maintain a solid brand. I think those three go into a luxury product. Good quality product with cool, fun, innovative features, and then a strong brand that surrounds it all.
Edmonton’s newest lifestyle magazine Uncovering the best in hidden gems around the city.
Your job has you travelling a lot, but your love of Edmonton is clear. What is your favourite thing about our city?
Edmonton is a community that feels very connected. I know a lot of people say what makes Edmonton great is the people, and I think that definitely holds true which makes going out, being social, being at events, and getting connected quite easy. I think what a lot of people love about Edmonton is just how special the people are. Being born and raised here, the community in Edmonton was something that was instilled early on. I have always felt that this community gave a lot. Now it’s time to return that. So, getting involved is, I think, vital.
I’m currently volunteering with Wings of Providence (with their wingman campaign). It’s about raising funds for an organization that helps people fleeing domestic violence. When they launched the wingman campaign, it was to get a little more involvement from men which I think is pretty vital, because sometimes you don’t know if it’s “your issue” or not. This campaign was really good at raising the awareness that anybody can get involved because it’s everybody’s issue. Edmonton is a great community of philanthropy and people doing cool charity work and events.
How do you relax and let go in such a connected career?
I actually genuinely enjoy the hustle and bustle. I do love seeing the front line, if you want to call it that—visiting clients; people who are actually using the products. Maybe that’s a start—actually enjoying what it is that you do.
When I’m out there, it’s not just a grind, or a trip that I dread. I’m getting cool feedback. I’m seeing fun clients. Of course, I also have to stay regular with my hobbies. I go to the gym and that’s usually where I can just shut off and blast some jams in my ear. Golf is also great. That season is coming to an end so, indoors, it’ll be tennis. Now that hockey season is back on, I will also kick back to watch some sports.
I do enjoy it all and hopefully it’s not too cliché. I know the saying is “work life balance”, but I kind of combat that concept a little bit—I say it’s all one. I enjoy it all and it all works together, right? I try to make everything something that is enjoyable. I guess it all folds into just living a life that you don’t necessarily need a break from.
Tell us what your top non-negotiable luxuries are that you need in your life.
We don’t make any clothing in my current industry, but clothing and fashion, coats, and shoes are a luxury of mine. I do love that side of things, so that’s a huge one. I scratched that itch early on by getting into the industry a bit and I think it never went away. Something I always believe is, you can go just a little extra to have a polished look or to have fitted clothes. I believe in spending a bit more and then you have something for five or 10 years. With all my clothes, I have them forever until I can’t fix them anymore. You buy something nice and it stays [nice].
I’d have to also say another luxury for me is creating space for health and nutrition. A non-negotiable for me would be forcing fitness time. I have a whole shelf of supplements and products to make sure that I’m treating my body like number one. I would consider that a luxury.
You brag in your socials about being a fan of dad jokes. Give us your favourite one.
There is just something about corny jokes. They’re so bad, and the worse they are, the better they are. I like this one. I recently told it to someone and they got the biggest kick out of it, so I’ll go for it.
What do you call a French guy that’s wearing sandals? Philippe le-flop.
Places To Be
See this month's local flavours, products, and services.