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Nygard’s Golden Jubilee Review – Nygard’s Early Successes Created A Domino Effect

Nygard’s Golden Jubilee Review

It’s not an everyday occurrence to discover an individual who has pulled himself up by his bootstraps to achieve phenomenal success with a business that’s still breaking barriers, still achieving firsts, and still innovating fifty years later. What does it take? How did he achieve it all? And how can we achieve similar successes?

That’s what we’ll explore in this tri-weekly series. We’ll break down fashion mogul Peter Nygard’s achievements and look at how his accomplishments can serve as practical applications to others in business and life.

Nygard’s Early Successes Created A Domino Effect

Imagine being one of the key players in the initial free trade agreements? As a respected industry stakeholder, fashion mogul Peter Nygard was involved in the forming of Canada’s first free trade agreements. 

So how did that happen? 

Nygard’s free trade story is a fascinating one. His business successes created a domino effect: he not only experienced great financial gains, industry stakeholders developed a deep level of respect for him and continuously looked to him for insights on the direction they should go in.

Barely a year into the apparel business, Nygard founded the Manitoba Fashion Institute with a mission of improving the economic climate and viability of the apparel industry.

When the availability of textiles in the U.S. started to decline, Nygard didn’t wait to find out what would happen next; once again, his strategic thinking kicked in. He continuously explored solutions to any challenges within the textile industry. 

He set up relationships with several countries. He also traveled to China and developed a special business relationship with them at a time when U.S. business persons were not allowed to conduct business with China.

This allowed Nygard to be on the leading edge with trade matters.

In 1979, Nygard began writing strategic white papers on the free trade concept and submitted them to the Canadian Government. His third iteration was submitted in 1983 to the Canadian Textile & Clothing Board and the Minister of Industry, Trade & Commerce the Honourable Ed Lumley. 

Nygard’s papers surprised the Canadian Government. There had been disagreements among industry representatives and the government over the issue. With the garment industry being the largest employer, the government considered their voice an important one politically. Thus, the industry hold-outs prevented forward movement on the idea of free trade. 

Nygard’s phenomenal business growth and success made him a voice worth listening to by both industry participants and the Canadian Government. He was also an executive member of several of the industry associations. 

His perspective was a candid look at the situation. His insights and policy suggestions created the spark that ignited the fire opening the way for the Canadian Government’s foray into free trade. 

Peter Nygard was appointed to various Canadian advisory committees. From that grew recommendations to negotiate free trade agreements, which became the foundation for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and a trade agreement with China. 

  • In 1984, Nygard was appointed co-chairman of a fifteen-member task force created to make recommendations to the federal government about long-term industrial strategies for Canada’s textile and clothing industries.
  • In 1985, he was the only apparel representative to be appointed to the International Trade Advisory Committee (ITAC), a body which was charged with the task of formulating and advising the government on all matters of trade including the US – Canada bilateral negotiations.
  • In 1986, Nygard was appointed to the Sectoral Advisory Group on International Trade (SAGIT) as Chairman of the Apparel & Fur Group to further assist with the principles and policies of free trade.

Peter Nygard was and is highly regarded by a number of Canadian Government officials. As former Minister of National Health and Welfare, Jake Epp, wrote in 1986, 

“Congratulations on your appointment to the International Trade Advisory Committee, announced recently by the Honourable James Kelleher, Minister for International Trade.

“Your experience as Chairman and President of Tan Jay International stands you in good stead to advise the Government of Canada in its negotiations with the United States to secure greater access for Canadian goods and services. Thank you for your willingness to serve our country.”

Nygard’s abilities to create such a successful business from the very start created a domino effect. His achievements show us how success begets success.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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