By Christine Graf
Brother and sister Conor and Cara Maloney set out in 2016 to design and manufacture clothing that reflects their love for Saratoga. They got the idea while vacationing in Cape Cod.
“We saw a company that had a very similar community feel,” said Cara Maloney. “They came up with a design that really reflected Cape Cod.”
Conor, a 27-year-old SUNY Oneonta graduate and physical therapist at Albany Chiropractic and Physical Therapy, designed the Toga Threads logo. The horse-inspired logo pays homage to Saratoga’s horse racing history.
“My brother was gifted with artistic design ability,” said Maloney.
Twenty-three-year-old Cara, a Siena graduate, is a development specialist at Special Olympics New York. She also waitresses at Charlton Tavern in Ballston Lake. The restaurant has been in the Maloney family for 70 years and is operated by her parents.
“Small business has been running through Conor’s and my blood forever,” says Maloney.
When the idea for Toga Threads was born, she said their parents were eager to help them turn their idea into a business.
“They said we should run with the idea,” said Maloney. “They were able to help us fund our orders in the very beginning, but once we were able to get off our feet, we have been using the money that we make during our 9 to 5 jobs during the week.”
The Maloney siblings chose a local company, Downtown Custom Printwear, to do their screen printing and stitching.
“Everything is American made,” says Maloney. “We have a printing company in downtown Schenectady that we use that has been absolutely fantastic.”
In addition to operating an online store, Toga Threads sells their merchandise at Charlton Tavern. They also offer their products for sale at America on Tap craft beer festivals. Several America on Tap events will be taking place in Saratoga in February.
America on Tap events are popular with millennials. Maloney said that fits perfectly with Toga Thread’s target demographic.
“Late 20s to early 30s,” she said. “That’s the age group my brother and I have targeted.”
“Business has been great,” she says. “We are incredibly fortunate to our family and friends for getting the word out.”
They rely heavily on social media and encourage their customers to post pictures of themselves wearing their Toga Threads clothing both locally and around the world.
“We ask people that when you take Toga Threads with you wherever you go, please share where you are so that we can see where Toga Threads has gone,” said Maloney. “We’re trying to place our name on the map, and a lot of people know Saratoga. What better way to promote Saratoga than with this really awesome design. It’s a great option to NYRA promotional clothing and hats.”
According to Maloney, their biggest sellers are hats and patriotic red, white, and blue long sleeve t-shirts.
“People really love the canvas wash look of our hats as well as the leather strap in the back,” she says. “And the red, white, and blue is really popular. Conor and I have an uncle and a cousin in the military and a lot of uncles who are cops. We wanted to show our patriotism for our country.”
“Our goal for right now are to get into a store in downtown Saratoga that is willing to work with us since we are brand new and don’t have a lot of experience in the clothing industry,” she says. “We would love to be a part of the downtown community.
As for long-term goals, the Maloneys want to establish their own business that fulfills Conor’s dream of making and selling his own craft beer and Caracurtis’s dream of owning a boutique that sells Toga Threads merchandise. Conor currently sells his own craft beer at the Charlton Tavern.
“To have a business that incorporates our two passions together. That would be absolutely amazing,” says Maloney.
Their products are available for purchase online at togathreads.com and at the Charlton Tavern, 745 Charlton Road, Ballston Lake.