Tannis Davidson

Top 40 Under 40 2011

Photography 3Ten/Aaron Pedersen

Age: 37

Job Title: President, My Filosophy

Why She’s Top 40: Through her dedicated support of Canadian designers, she put her company on the national fashion retail map.

Key To Success: “I don’t settle for anything less than my own high standards.”

A row of vibrantly coloured Joeffer Caoc dresses hang in My Filosophy‘s Crestwood store. Tannis Davidson, the no-nonsense founder of two high-end boutiques, is the Toronto  designer’s biggest North American buyer. In fact, she puts more than $100,000 in his pocket each year.

His gratitude is easy to miss unless you carefully examine the $385 price tag, because there’s her name next to the price: “Davidson.” Caoc named the piece after her when she’d asked him to design a halter dress that is comfortable and can be worn anywhere.

“Everything in the store has to pass the Tannis wearability test,” Davidson says, while showing off a soft bamboo cotton zip-up designed by Vancouver’s Chloe Angus, called “The Tannis Jacket.”

She’s well known for supporting Canadian designers with big buys, and was even invited to Toronto Fashion Week this spring. “My Filosophy is known as the place that Canadian designers want to get into,” Davidson says, adding that her promotions of Caoc and his contemporaries have helped their careers, too.

Davidson’s business savvy garnered her the 2010 Small Business of the Year award from the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce.

“I wanted to own my own business by the age of 30,” she says, describing her unhappiness with her previous job in telecommunications. “Retail was always in the back of my mind. When I look back at my older journals from when I was growing up, first I was going to be a lawyer, then a judge and then the first female prime minister. After all that, I planned to open up a little boutique.”

Davidson is also a helluva fundraiser, and is often busy planning charity events that involve her couture industry pals. Last year the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation was surprised to learn she had raised more than $25,000 at two fashion events. Davidson has committed to up her fundraising with the foundation to $100,000 over five years.

“I’m very competitive,” she says. “Average doesn’t work at My Filosophy.”

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