Story and photos by Elijah Beaver.
“All in, all the time.” That is the concept and tagline behind the local company Even Odds Collective.
“Our brand is designed for those who are willing to take chances. The unique type of person who is willing to risk mind, body and soul to progress their passion,” their website boasts.
Even Odds was founded in 2015, when a couple in their mid-twenties, Dave Rutherford and Hillary Beney, joined together their combined skills of business, social media and design.
The two grew up in Fort Erie, Ont., and moved to Calgary in 2011.
Beney, an avid music lover and snowboarder, finished a two-year interior decorating program in 2015—a passion of hers aside from the sales and design work she now does full-time.
Rutherford, whose biggest passion is also snowboarding, graduated with a business degree in 2011. However, he isn’t fond of office jobs, the corporate world, and wearing a suit and tie day in, day out.
He had plans to own a skate shop since childhood, largely in part due to following and participating in action sports such as snowboarding, skateboarding and mountain biking throughout his life.
After taking into consideration the costs of starting and running a skate shop, Rutherford shifted his goal to developing a fashion brand with the same concept in mind while he was apprenticing as an electrician here in Calgary.
“About the second year into my apprenticeship, I decided it was time to [start]. I drew up a logo and ordered some hats. [When] they came in, [Beney] saw them and it just took off,” says Rutherford.
“I sold them all,” says Beney, rewardingly.
A quick start for only putting the starting touches together in an eight-month period from mid-2014 to the beginning of 2015.
Rutherford says the name of the brand, Even Odds, is very similar to the idea of gambling, “you get out what you put in,” which he says also applies to action sports.
This is the epitome of the Even Odds brand.
Recently, Even Odds surpassed 10,000 followers on Instagram, an accomplishment that Beney was very proud of.
“It sounds lame, but it was exciting to see that people are into what we’re doing,” says Beney.
“It’s harder when it’s a product because people don’t want to be [just] sold on it. So when people come naturally to us, it shows that there’s more to the brand than just a t-shirt or a hat.”
Rutherford, who grew up following the world of sports and sponsorships, wanted to have the sponsorship aspects put into the Even Odds brand as well.
“[I wanted] to be able to support a bunch of local talent [such as] skateboarders, skiers, snowboarders, [and] mountain bikers. We’ve really hit a lot of different avenues and we really try to push them on our social media, push them to get more followers, and push them to get more sponsors,” says Rutherford.
“Being able to help and showcase the local talent has been a huge [accomplishment] for us. That has been a big goal [from the start].”
“We really want people to pursue what they’re good at and go for it,” adds Beney.
This, of course, is also apparent in their Local Legends program, which showcases local artists, athletes, MCs and other various groups of locals.
Even Odds, in collaboration with 2CreativeCo, a Calgary-based creative agency company, filmed and shot a series of photos and videos involving Calgary artists to help promote their Spring/Summer 2017 (SS17) line.
“We want real people who are doing real things that represent what we’re trying to show. I think that’s important,” says Rutherford, in regards to promoting the Even Odds brand.
The SS17 line launched on May 15, 2017. It was available for purchase exclusively at Savvy Clothing in the Beltline, in addition to Even Odds’ website. The line included hats, t-shirts, beanies and crewnecks.
“This was really the first one where we designed everything from the ground up, [including] custom measurements and the bamboo-spandex blend,” says Rutherford.
“The response, in terms of the quality and feel [of the clothing], has been the best we’ve ever had.”
Even Odds also hosts a quarterly contest on their Instagram account using the hashtag #ALLINEVENODDS.
The idea behind the hashtag is to encourage people to go out and do what they’re passionate about and share it online for a chance to win a prize pack from Even Odds, which has previously included two hats, a t-shirt, and sticker packs to those who have entered.
“It’s always an eye-catching photo [that is chosen],” says Beney. “It’s not [often] the guy who is doing double backflips or anything like that. We like to give everyone the opportunity.”
Even Odds Collective is also partnered with is Protect Our Winters, which is founded by pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones and focuses on “educational initiatives, political advocacy and community-based activism.”
“With the sale of every product, we will donate a portion of profits directly to Protect Our Winters,” according to the Even Odds website.
“Every dollar will have a direct impact on combating climate change an ensuring that we, and future generations, can enjoy our environment and all of the outdoor sports that we love so much.“
The Fall/Winter line launches in mid-October 2017.