Showing posts with label style. Show all posts
Showing posts with label style. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Team Spirit: Roots Canada Book Review

Team Spirit: A Field Guide to Roots Canada takes a peek into Roots Canada and founders Michael Budman and Don Green and how they built a wildly successful business.

Detroit natives Michael Budman and Don Green became Canadian sensations when they opened the first Roots store in Toronto in 1973 and had a stroke of luck (or was it genius) in the form of the negative heel shoe.

Because they had spent summers at a camp in Ontario’s magnificent Algonquin Park, they decided to use a beaver and other Canadian references in their business. Their story, therefore, is about Canada and Canadian culture. That is, camp culture and wilderness culture. Those themes helped Budman and Green build an empire that today includes fashion and so much more.

Written by Geoff Pevere, this Team Spirit takes a peek into the lives of these two men and how they built a business based on “integrity and quality.” It shares information about the celebrities from the worlds of music, film, fashion, art, literature and sports and it shares how they built a business promoting “Canadian culture to Canadians” that is now worth more than $121 million dollars and recognized around the world.

Published on October 20, 1998 by Doubleday Canada, it contains 152 pages of text and pictures. The Toronto Sun said, "Without question, this is the funniest book of the year and the last word on Canadian pop culture."

Quill & Quire said, the book tells “the story of Roots, the company that brought funny shoes, branded sweatshirts, and doofy Olympic hats to millions of Canadians.” However, they go on to say, “It’s full of wordy, pretentious fawning, and it’s tough to sit through.

The charming origin story has been told over and over again so a book about how they actually built their business would have been welcome. This one does not do that. Nor does it tell their story from a biographical view point. Instead, it shares, according to Quill & Quire, “little pieces of the Roots story.” That seems fair.

CBRA Online says that the Roots story in this book “gets to be a bit much, especially when Roots’ essentially capitalistic nature and purpose is kept in mind.” They are, after all, a business that wanted to and does make money, lots of money. Like Quill & Quire, CBRA reminds us that this is not a business history nor a biography. They elaborate by saying, “It is a colorful, impressively illustrated presentation of Roots products in various settings accompanied by a pop culture text …that does not do justice to the subject.

Reviewers seem to agree that this book is perhaps more of a coffee table book than it might have been. It is light with text and it is heavy with photographs of celebrities.

If you love Roots products and you want to read more about the back story of Roots Canada Ltd., Team Spirit will share that with you. Just don’t expect it to be really deep. It will do a better job of giving you a look back through the world of Roots and the celebrities associated with it during the last 50 years. Note that the book is out of print but that Team Spirit: A Field Guide To Roots Culture can still be found on Amazon by clicking here

A reminder that this book was published in 1998, which means that it is no longer up to date. There has been at least one very significant change to the company since then. In 2015, the majority interest in the company was sold to Searchlight Capital LP though the founders continue to hold a small interest.

See you
At the bookstore!


Roots items in my eBay store.

Roots Canada Leather Products.

The Roots Canada Story: A Brief History.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

The Roots Canada Story: A Brief History

The Roots Canada Story: A Brief History

Roots Canada was founded in Toronto on August 15, 1973 by Michael Budman and Don Green. They decided to create a company with a Canadian feel based on a summer camp that they had attended as children in Ontario's Algonquin Park. The first item that they sold from their first store in Toronto was a shoe. It was commonly known as the Earth Shoe and officially called the Roots Negative Heel Shoe.

The company was successful right from that very first day when they sold seven pair of the shoe.  Intended as a part-time business, they were so successful that they opened more than thirty stores in the first year. Dan Ackroyd and Gilda Radner were there helping in the store from the very beginning. The venture was meant to be, according to a CBC video, "a celebration of what makes us Canadian" although the founders were American.

From CBC News, comes this fascinating 8-minute look at the story of Roots Canada. The 2014 video does a fine job of documenting the story but it is noteworthy that since then, the iconic Canadian company has been sold and is now a publicly held brand.


Not all of Roots merchandise is manufactured in Canada but Roots does demand that its merchandise be excellent.  It has a well-respected reputation to maintain and strives to uphold that reputation. Roots built this reputation in the past by creating extremely successful Olympic collections and merchandise for celebrities, concerts, cultural events and movies.

Roots created the Canadian Olympic Team's outfits from 1998 to 2004 and has also done so for Great Britain, the United States and Barbados. Remember the 1998 poor boy or newsboy-style hats worn by the Canadian Olympic team in 1998? Roots sold 500,000 of them that year and those Olympic pieces are still sought after today. 

The picture shown above is of the Roots' poorboy or beret-style hat from the Olympics in Nagano, Japan in 1998. The picture is used here with permission and currently available in the eBay store of Jav Treasures by clicking right here

If it is no longer available in Jav's store, you can click here to see the selection of Roots' Olympic-themed Poorboy hats that are available now.


Roots products are made in Canada, the United States, South Asia, Asia and South America only using reputable companies and suppliers who adhere to the Roots Code of Conduct. Factories must provide working conditions meeting health, safety and labor standards; respect for all workers, not use child or forced labor, minimize the impact on the environment and avoid too much packaging in shipping, have inspections by independent auditors and not have any discrimination based on gender, race, nationality and religion.


Roots makes wonderful clothing and fabulous leather products. They now sell a wonderful range of items including but not limited to genuine leather shoes, jackets, bags, belts and luggage; sports and yoga wear including t-shirts and sweatshirts for men, women and children; watches; and home items that have included furniture, linen, towels and accessories.

I do not mind paying a little more for a quality Canadian style that lasts. How about you?

See you next time
on Review This Reviews!


Roots Canada on Wikipedia
This link takes you to a brief history on Wikipedia of the organization that is Roots Canada Ltd.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

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