JJ Wool: An accidental partnership

Co-founders of JJ Wool, Jan Wallace and Jennifer Mikula, create mittens out of upcycled wool sweaters. Half of the proceeds are donated to iHuman Youth Society in Edmonton

Partners of JJ Wool hopes cold weather stays a little longer so they can help local charity

Jennifer Mikula (left) and Jan Wallace started making mittens out of thrift shop sweaters when they were raising funds to take part in a charity bike ride. (CBC)

An unlikely business partnership started when neighbours Jan Wallace and Jennifer Mikula had to raise $5,000 each for the Haida Gwaii Totem bike tour.

They decided to sell mittens similar to ones that Wallace already owned.

"She said, 'Do you think we can make these?'" Mikula said. "She doesn't sew, but she thought it looked like something a person could make."

Mittens and gloves are in desperate need at Winnipeg shelters. (CBC)
Mikula, the sewer in this partnership, agreed that it could be done. At first, they sold their mittens through word of mouth. 

"People really loved them," says Wallace. 

They sold enough mittens to meet their fundraising goal in six weeks, but decided they shouldn't stop there. So they created a company they called JJ Wool.   

Each pair of mittens costs $45. While most of their wool comes from thrift shops, some of it comes from their clients.  

"Some of them we've made with sweaters that people gave to us that they wanted to incorporate as a sentimental value," says Mikula. 

JJ Wool donates 50% of its proceeds to the iHuman Youth Society in Edmonton.