Ho-ho-holy moley, is that sweater tacky, or what?

With ‘ugly sweater parties’ popping up everywhere this holiday season, one local business has stepped up to provide options for people who want to look ‘tacky’ this Christmas.

Holiday Rejects is a Calgary based online business, with a new kiosk in the Northland Mall.

Chris Cheng, one of the founders of Holiday Rejects, says his shop sells swathers, but not just any sweaters.

“They’re ugly sweaters that maybe weren’t loved before and now we’re giving them some new life,” said Cheng.

The ugly holiday sweaters sell from $20 all the way to $50, but Cheng says the most important rule is that the sweaters have to be “tacky.”

“Usually the best ones are cartoonish with teddy bears or cats. Anything that’s extremely colourful, that you wouldn’t be caught dead in, any other time of the year.”

Cheng says that there are several ugly sweater shops in the U.S., but he and his two friends, Kyle Fitzgerald and Adil Hooda, never saw or heard of any in Canada.

“We wanted to make one for Canadians as well.

“It started as a vision but it was a fast execution,” he said.

“We got invited to ugly sweater parties, but we couldn’t find any sweaters at Value Village and figured out that there might have been a business opportunity there.”

The three engineers then started the online business, but decided to branch out after its success and sell from home.

“So many people were asking us to come in and look at the sweaters, try them on, that kind of thing,” Cheng explains.

“We were pissing off the neighbors, because people were coming by the house just to try stuff on.”

Ho ho ho:  Chris Cheng shows off one of his favorite sweaters the Holiday Reject store offers. (Zehra Tajouri / The Press)
Delightfully Ugly: Chris Cheng shows off one of his favorite sweaters the Holiday Rejects store offers. (Photo by Zehra Tajouri/The Press)

While the Northland kiosk is only open for November and December this year, Cheng wants customers to know that the online store may remain open in the new year.

“As long as the trend is alive, the online store will be staying for sure.

“The kiosks at the mall are still an experiment for us,” Cheng says, adding that he and his partners will look at all of the numbers by the end of the year, and decide whether they want to continue the kiosks next year.

“The shop doesn’t only sell sweaters,” Cheng explains.

“We sell light kits as well. You attach them on the inside so you can make light up sweaters.”

The three founders of the Holiday Rejects will be appearing on CBC’s show, Dragon’s Den this Dec. 11th as they try to secure investment finances from the panel of venture capitalists.

If they can persuade the ‘dragons’ that tacky is profitable, Holiday Rejects may be around for awhile.

About Zehra Tajouri 6 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Zehra Tajouri worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2013-2014 academic year.