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Erica Marchand

CEO and Founder, Bear+Fox Apparel
Graduate of Event Management program (2011)

Erica Marchand graduated from NC’s Event Management program in 2011. She is now the CEO and Founder of Bear+Fox Apparel.

Once I started my own business, I decided to lean into my personality.

Career path

 A shorter list might be, what don’t I do!

I am the creator and CEO behind Bear+Fox Apparel. I also own and co-host a successful business podcast and I am currently writing a book. I have had over 25 jobs in my 20-year experience in the ‘real world’ as my parents would say.

I started working when I was 15 and have done everything from flipping burgers, selling appliances, working banquets, bar-tending, dispatch, medical office administration, TV show host, marketing/sponsorship coordinator, events coordinator and beyond.

It took me 20 years to figure out, I wanted to own my own business.

I truly attribute every job I’ve had as a steppingstone to lead me to where I am today. (For more details, keep your eyes out for my book launching in 2023).

Influences and inspiration

More than 20 years working for other people, in multiple industries led me to paving my own way.

I learned valuable lessons everywhere I worked (and volunteered at) and those lessons truly shaped me into the entrepreneur I am today.

My dad is a huge influence in my journey. As a child, I learned the skillsets needed to organize your entrepreneurial calendar from him and his weeks spent in the bush of Northern Ontario as a trapper. He also managed to turn his blog into a family hosted hunting TV show that aired across Canada for two years.

I am lucky enough to have inherited his drive, tenacity and attitude (as well as his unibrow and sense of humour).

Standout NC experience

When I attended NC, I totally saw myself as a wedding planner. I figured it was a safe industry to get into because people are always getting married.

It wasn’t until I actually obtained some experience through my co-op program that I realized it just wasn’t for me. I needed something that connected me to the outdoors and allowed a flexible schedule (which event management will simply not provide).

I often say, sometimes it’s the “hell no’s” that actually help you figure out what a “hell yes” is for you, in terms of career.

I had to attend a professionalism course at NC as part of the event program. My professor was a ‘shoot from the hip’ kind of lady, who I respected. I was a great student – impeccable attendance, great class participation and excellent grades. She told me that I would never make it in a professional environment because of my attitude/language.

I am a no-holds-barred person. I spent my year at NC trying to reign in what felt like me. I would stumble through conversations, hyper-aware of the words I was choosing, or the attitude I was presenting with.

Once I started my own business, I decided to lean into my personality.

I have a loud boisterous laugh, and a great sense of humour. Instead of hiding them behind proper language, I simply speak as I would speak. Since deciding to stop putting put a facade of professionalism, I have managed to grow a six-figure business in less than a year, booked multiple business trips, have become a comfortable public speaker, host a successful podcast and am in the final stages of writing a book.

I think about that professionalism course often, as it was the only course in my lifetime I flunked, and I just smirk and think, “if only she could see me now.”

Erica Marchand, creator and CEO of Bear+Fox Apparel, also co-hosts a business podcast and is writing a book.

Words of wisdom

You will learn a lot in whatever post-secondary course you choose to take. I attribute my success to the long road of jobs and schooling I’ve done to get me to where I am today. I would say, what really matters, is what you learn outside of the classroom.

Learn how to use your own skill sets and your personality to your advantage.

Learn how to cope in social situations, and how to ask for what you want. Don’t be afraid to push and advocate for what you deem to be worthy and right.

I was often questioned by my peers and teachers, and, in hindsight, I wish I fought more for what I believed.

NC gave me experiences and opportunities that I wouldn’t change for the world. It truly helped me become the entrepreneur I am today.