Vancouver jewelry brand Wolf Circus turns 10

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Wolf Circus offers “demi-fine jewelry” handmade in Vancouver using either recycled sterling silver or recycled bronze.

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The origin story of the Vancouver-based jewelry brand Wolf Circus is one of divine intervention.


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“It all started because one day I was riding my bike to my Mandarin class, and I found this bag of jewelry materials, like pliers and wires, feathers and beads,” Fiona Morrison, the founder and creative director of the brand, recalls. “They were right by my bike lock. When I went to park my bike, they were just sitting there. And then, when I went to leave a couple hours later after class, they were still there. So, I just took them home.”

A full-time student studying entrepreneurship at the University of Victoria, she admits she’d been thinking casually about the idea of starting her own jewelry line at the time.

“It was kind of funny, I had kind of been thinking about it a little bit,” Morrison says. “I had this wolf-head ring, and I got so many compliments on it because it was so bold and edgy and fun. A lot of the jewelry that was available at the local stores in Victoria were quite feminine and sweet. And I wanted something just a bit more edgy.”


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Recognizing there was a void in the market for “affordable, slightly edgy” designs, she had been mulling the early ideas of starting a business.

The discovery of the bag of assorted jewelry-making tools was the final push down the path to doing just that.

Fiona Morrison is the founder and creative director of the Vancouver-based jewelry brand Wolf Circus.
Fiona Morrison is the founder and creative director of the Vancouver-based jewelry brand Wolf Circus. Wolf Circus

With her newly acquired assets, Morrison set about learning the art of jewelry making the way many startup entrepreneurs seem to in this digital age, which is to say, by watching videos on YouTube.

“I think you can learn almost anything these days on there,” Morrison says with a laugh. “I essentially would go to school in the day, and then I would come home and craft and make jewelry. I would put pieces that I bought at crystal stores or from Value Village and put them on a chain and rework them.”


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She began selling her creations out of her backpack to fellow students on campus.

“I definitely didn’t have any concrete business plan,” she admits.

Morrison recalls going to her parents to share her idea of starting a jewelry line. Her mom, heading out the door, briefcase in hand, for a day at the office, paused to listen. Then, she asked her daughter to continue with her education.

“And my dad said, ‘Whatever you do in life is going to turn into a circus,’” Morrison says.

Taking those words to be the closest thing to a parental go-ahead that she would receive, Morrison threw her attentions into the jewelry startup. She did also finish her degree.

“At first, it was just something fun. A way of me avoiding getting a real job,” Morrison says. “But, it has definitely turned into something much bigger and much crazier than I ever could have imagined.”


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Fast forward a decade and Morrison, now 30, has built her brand exponentially, boasting 118 per cent year-over-year growth since 2016. Based in Railtown, the Wolf Circus team now numbers 20 full-time employees.

“Over half of our team does jewelry production, and the other half does front-of-house roles like marketing and fulfilment,” Morrison says. “I have someone who started at packing and fulfilling two years ago, and now she our ecommerce manager. I hired someone as a young intern, she was my second employee, and now she’s our wholesale manager.

“Seeing them grow, and being able to build them up and my team up in all of their roles, that to me has been the coolest thing.”

Morrison pointed to the 2019 award through the Fashion Institute of Technology, which saw Wolf Circus given $100,000 from designer Tommy Hilfiger as another favourite business achievement. Wolf Circus was also nominated for The Accessory Designer of the Year Award at this year’s Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards.


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Vancouver jewelry brand Wolf Circus is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
Vancouver jewelry brand Wolf Circus is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Wolf Circus

Wolf Circus offers “demi-fine jewelry” handmade in Vancouver using either recycled sterling silver or recycled bronze, according to Morrison. The designs have evolved from the original pieces of repurposed stones and trinkets to include full collections of necklaces, rings, earrings and more.

While the collection pieces have “grown up a little bit,” Morrison says the brand’s overall mindfulness of elements such as sustainability and approachability have remained much the same.

“Our target customer really chooses to represent brands whose esthetic, sustainability and brand values really align with their values,” Morrison says. “I think that’s really important in fashion today, and I think that’s one aspect of our brand that hasn’t really changed.


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“Supporting local and buying consciously, knowing who makes your products, is all very, very important.”

Morrison credits the brand’s penchant for connecting with its customers directly as the key to its considerable success.

“Really being in-tune with your consumer. At the end of the day, that is the most important value that you can have,” Morrison says. “Find out what their needs are. What they want. Once you can figure that out, I think that you can really shift and move and take a brand wherever you want it to go.

“As long as you’re staying true to them and what your brand values are.”

In the future, Morrison says she’d like to build out the unisex offering from Wolf Circus. Size inclusivity — a growing topic of conversation in the jewelry industry — is another key area of concentration.


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“Ring size is the biggest one,” she says. “We’re trying to gear to have ring sizes from 2 to 12 on our website, eventually. That’s our long-term goal. It also looks at necklace lengths and chain lengths. We’re taking more of a customizable approach with that.”

Offering options in the fine jewelry category is another goal for the brand “in the long run,” according to Morrison.

“I think it’s really important to grow with your customer as their budget starts to increase and they want to start purchasing more long-term pieces,” she explains of the expansion plan.

As for how her parents feel about her university side hustle turning into a full-fledged business boasting a 10-year history, Morrison says they embraced her entrepreneurial spirit completely — albeit with a hint of lingering surprise.

“They’re very happy. I think they’re quite floored with awe and shock,” Morrison says with a smile, noting that her father, whose original ‘circus’ comment factored in to the Wolf Circus name, has since passed away. “They’re very proud of me, I think, and what it has been able to turn in to.”

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Clarita Lorenzano

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