Go-Go Shopping

Catherine Bischoff, the co-founder of GoGo mart models one of their designs while out and and about in K-W. • ALL PHOTOS COURTESY GOGO MART
Catherine Bischoff, the co-founder of GoGo mart models one of their designs while out and and about in K-W. • ALL PHOTOS COURTESY GOGO MART

Kitchener pop-up shop builds community with fashion

Anna Beard

Witty, bright, and provocative tote bags are just the beginning.

Can a brand help develop community creativity starting with just a tote bag? It’s likely not a question that crosses many minds, but for Tom Zehetmeier and Catherine Bischoff, it’s one that inspired their pet project, GoGo Mart.

When they moved to Kitchener-Waterloo two years ago from Berlin, Germany, to reconnect with family, Zehetmeier and Bischoff wanted a chance to be part of the growing urban ecosystem found in the heart of the twin cities. The idea of creating an umbrella brand that will help shift the creative scene in Waterloo Region came about by leveraging a shared design background and hope to aesthetically be part of a new environment.

Currently, GoGo Mart calls Kitchener’s Market district home and can be found frequenting downtown’s Art Market but both Zehetmeier and Bischoff are hoping to expand GoGo Mart’s reach. They want to target the Region’s constantly growing and varied post-secondary population. “What we would really like to tap into is the university scene because they have that mind set already. They need something to help carry their groceries,” said Bischoff.

Tote bags are a versatile way to interact with the community and express creativity but like most apparel shops, reaching critical mass is inevitable. Zehetmeier and Bischoff have approached the issue by looking at the bigger picture. Scaling the brand isn’t far from the horizon.

Starting with a name and a logo, GoGo Mart is focused on providing a product that is beautiful and has a strong message That’s certainly the case with their current line of apparel. The introductory installment of GoGo Mart tote bags features five different statements at fifty bags each, including the charming ‘Eating in Darling’ and regionally appropriate ‘Quantum Valley’.

With a different design for each bag, every aspect of production goes through a careful brainstorming process starting with messaging, and moving to pantones and typefaces. The ideas then revisit an overarching goal for each product — is it local, is it clever, is it accessible? After all, GoGo Mart isn’t about one age group or socio-economic class — it’s about producing a product for everyone.

While GoGo Mart is currently a pop up shop found outside the Yeti Café on Saturday mornings, the goal is for it to be more than just witty tote bags that carry your produce home from the market. The brand is still in the early stages of development and the community will help dictate what that final brand looks like. “GoGo Mart isn’t just bags. We don’t know what’s happening with GoGo Mart. For us, it’s a test to see the creativity and how people respond to it. In the future, it could be a t-shirt or a coffee shop. It’s urban, it’s creative, and it’s local,” said Zehetmeier.

He and Bischoff have put a great amount of thought into what they would like the final brand to represent. Bischoff says their hope is to create an interesting space here in the community. “It would be a place where you could find inspiration on several different levels — maybe a design level, maybe a branding level, maybe a palatable level. Creating an inspiring space is really what we want for GoGo Mart. We’ll start with tote bags because that’s a manageable interesting idea that you can be versatile with but who knows where we’re going to go.”

For more information about GoGo Mart check out their Facebook page facebook.com/GoGoMartKW, or find them on Twitter @GoGoMartKW