The initial idea in 1973 and the inspiration behind it all
Roots began with a simple idea and a desire to make it happen. In 1973, Michael Budman and Don Green created Roots. They were inspired by their passion for Ontario's Algonquin Park and everything it represented for them. From the outset, Roots was also based on a keen sense of aesthetics and certain values shared by Don and Michael.
Their goal was to translate their affinity for the Canadian wilderness and sports into a distinctive line of genuine leather products and authentic athletic wear. All this, while promoting a healthy, active lifestyle and respect for the environment. Starting in Toronto with footwear, Roots evolved to include quality leather bags, jackets, accessories, natural fiber clothing and home furnishings. The leather products have always been made in Canada at our own factory in Toronto.
In the spring of 1973, as Don and Michael were laying the groundwork for their new business, one aspect was proving especially elusive. They did not yet have a name for their soon-to-be-launched natural footwear company. Of course, without a name, there could also be no logo.
In an auspicious moment, Don happened to be flipping through a friend's biology textbook when the word 'roots' caught his eye. He liked its natural, earthy meaning. After all, he said at the time, "Your feet really are your roots, as they're connected to the ground like a tree is." Michael also liked the sound and look of the word, and what it evoked. Soon after, they chose Roots as the name, and they're glad they did given its timeless strength and appeal.
The logo itself featuring the Cooper font and the quintessential Canadian animal, the beaver was designed by two of Canada's leading graphic designers of the 1970s, Heather Cooper and Robert Burns. It was a coincidence that they came up with the beaver without any prompting from Don and Michael as it was also used in the time honoured logo of Camp Tamakwa, a place which strongly influenced the Roots Co-Founders in their youth. Like the Roots name, the logo has clearly stood the test of time.
In time, Roots would become known around the world for its excellent design and workmanship and its innovative retail stores.