X-1 Accelerator: Tailor-made to grow entrepreneurs


Natasha Saviuk, BSc'12, a doctoral student at McGill, and Shonezi Noor, BCom'14, had the same target audience in mind when they pitched startup ideas at McGill's Dobson Cup. They joined forces and today, with the support of the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship, their startup Will + Zack has clients in Canada and the U.S., and they've only just begun.

Will + Zack creates made-to-measure professional apparel for women. You can think of them as a design house that only makes one size – yours! Visit their pop-up shops in New York and Toronto (links below).

History of Will + Zack

While completing her PhD in Neuroscience at McGill, Natasha Saviuk (PhD’18) began Will + Zack as an outlet for the outpour of creativity she was experiencing. Natasha is an artist and scientist. While her background is in hard sciences, she has been immersed in visual arts since she was a toddler, which evolved into her passion for creating functional art through clothing. Soon, people were turning to her to tailor-make clothes for them – her idea was beginning to turn into a product.

As she acquired her first clients, she knew she needed support to take her product and create a viable business. As the hub of entrepreneurial activity at McGill, the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship has created an environment for entrepreneurs of all backgrounds to build their businesses. She began immersing herself in the Dobson community through the workshop series the center curates every fall. It was here that she met her future co-founder, Shonezi Noor (BCom’14).

At the time, both women were working on different product ideas that addressed an identical client – Natasha with made-to-measure clothing and Shonezi with made-to-order notebooks. They entered the Dobson Cup 2017 with their ideas and both made it to the finals. Throughout the exciting (and intense) Dobson Cup experience, they were supporting each other as unofficial cofounders and by the end of it, they were itching to work together.

They joined forces to build Will + Zack, made-to-measure professional clothing for women. You can think of them as a design house that makes only one size – yours. See the latest collection.

They set out to build a global retail company that centers around two core “raisons d’êtres”. Will + Zack has the mission to create and empower female leaders. Starting with made-to-measure clothing, they will be expanding to address the life and lifestyle of the professional woman. However, how they accomplish this was just as important as why they were pursuing it. Making made-to-order scalable enables more responsible retailing.

In order to realize this vision, they participated in the McGill X-1 Accelerator last summer. This 10-week summer program is designed to accelerate early traction McGill startups towards investment readiness and launch. The best part of the program was the tailored programming. They were connected to retail and fashion experts that helped address key questions for their business. In that short time, they established external production, began acquiring clients in Toronto and New York, and tripled revenue.

With other Dobson startups, they went on tour to pitch at the Demo Days and now host pop-up shops in various cities.

If you are in Toronto, you can visit their latest pop-up shop:

Pop-Up Shop Toronto: November 14, 5:30 PM