December 05, 2003 Features & Images » Feature Story

Feature - Two boys and the Girls of Whistler 

How two local brothers built a business through networking, trade and a solid dose of integrity

By Kara-Leah Grant

It’s one of the biggest businesses in the world. Every home has one, or two, or even five. It helped launch Marilyn Monroe’s career and it’s difficult to name any high profile model that doesn’t have one. In fact, it is almost impossible to name any area of interest not serviced by the calendar industry. Love tiny paper airplanes? Got a thing for antique maps? Spend your free time quilting? There is a calendar for you. And you. And you.

Now, courtesy of the vision of local brothers Josh and Jordan Wolsey, there is a calendar for those who love Whistler women.

Called Girls of Whistler and featuring 12 local girls photographed in Whistler’s backcountry clad in local clothing, the calendar is the result of a year’s hard work and planning by the Wolsey brothers.

It’s not the first business the entrepreneurial brothers have operated, other ventures included golf ball recycling and a Vancouver newspaper. But the number one requirement for Josh and Jordan as they considered where to next direct their energies was that the business had to encompass aspects of their life they enjoyed. They wanted to run a business that created great experiences both for them and everybody they dealt with.

"The concept of Girls of Whistler was an evolution," explains Josh. "We wanted to put together all the things that we loved about Whistler – the women, being outside, the gear, fashion and events."

After all, why spend your life involved in something that doesn’t thrill you?

Josh and Jordan tested the waters with a bikini contest at Tommy Africa’s and then followed up with a fashion show at Garfinkel’s. Both events were successful and the brothers decided to go ahead and shoot a calendar. They already had the girls, thanks to the bikini contest, fashion show and personal contacts, and a serendipitous meeting at a Vancouver Culture Crawl in Vancouver snagged the project’s photographer.

"I’d never done a calendar before but was excited about the opportunity to work with regular everyday girls, not necessarily models, in their home town," says Wendy Dee. "Plus I thought it sounded like a really fun project."

Dee is an accomplished photographer who has worked on everything from the red carpet at the Academy Awards to male nudes to hockey teams to Vancouver nightlife.

Dee shot all 12 girls at various locations in the Whistler backcountry, accessed by helicopter. While most of the girls had no modelling background, she says they were a joy to shoot.

"Overall, it was a fun experience for everyone involved. The only real challenge was the weather," says Dee. "The calendar looks wonderful but I have some ideas on how to improve it next year, make the girls look more individual and bring out their personalities more."

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