About Olang

DSC_0421Olang, the winter boot with pivoting grip, built to increase traction on ice and snow.

Created in 1991, OLANG was the first brand to offer the Canadian market fashion boots made in Europe and equipped with the OC System’s built-in swivelling and folding ice cleats, a proprietary system developed in Italy by the OC System CO.

In North America, the OLANG brand is distributed by Lil Paolo, a company that imports shoes, boots and slippers from Europe since 1967. Their expertise ensures high quality products designed to increase grip on snow and ice.

Enjoy a safe and comfortable winter!

From left to right: Serge Marchand, Armando Sartor (owner of Olang Italy)

Olang Head Office – Italy

Viewing of the new Olang collection

About Lil Paolo

Lil Paolo is a company specializing in European-made shoes since 1967. Their expertise ensures a high level of quality in the confection of products made by an exclusively-adult European workforce.

The Italian plant is made up of motivated individuals working with the passion, perseverance and creativity required to design shoes using the latest technologies, while maintaining the same craftsmanship as 50 years ago.

The Research and Development Centre works closely with international universities and orthopedic clinics to study new materials and new technologies patented for the shoe industry, with a special focus on the latest studies on the physiology of children’s feet. New technological ideas, attention to anatomy and development of antibacterial soles that improve flexibility… each detail is minutely studied and considered in order to offer unique, exclusive products with a special attention to children’s health and welfare.

Attention to detail – that’s what it takes to create high quality, innovative products in Italy at competitive prices.

Factory worker in the process of making a shoe mold

Shoe mold

Production of a shoe sample

Special Ties to the Shoe Industry: 5 generations in the shoe industry

The story begins around 1895 with Wilfrid Marchand who manages his own baby bootie distribution company. In 1945, after working for a major Canadian shoe wholesaler as a designer and purchase manager, Wilfrid’s son, Paul-Émile, decides to establish his own company.  Using his 40 years of experience and in-depth knowledge of the shoe industry, Paul-Émile soon spreads his territory to cover all of Quebec, French-speaking New Brunswick as well as Ontario along the Ottawa River.  Working out of his house and garage, the space is rapidly becoming too small and in 1950, with the expansion of the company, Paul-Émile commissions the construction of a head office and warehouse in Sainte-Rose of Laval.  During that year, his son Pierre joins the company establishing the family’s first father and son shoe-duo.

With a Man and his World and Expo 67, Canada and Quebec open up to the world. This change is also reflected upon the family business. Certain milestones had already been crossed with the purchase of products in England and the United-States. Paul-Émile and Pierre decide to find new manufacturers in Italy and France to expand their range of products. In the early 1970s, they achieve a stroke of genius… importing shoes fabricated in Spain. The initiative is hugely successful.

In 1974, tragedy hits the family forcing a transition, Paul-Émile, the beloved founder dies on Labour Day and his grandson, Serge, joins the company, thus creating the second father and son shoe-duo. During the next 15 years, the business thrives during a golden age for Canadian shoe importers. Although Spain remains its main supplier source, there are some incursions in Portugal, Mexico and Italy, which will take on a more important role in years to come. From 1977 to 1988, government policies aimed at protecting Canadian shoe manufacturers are equally beneficial for importers who are already established; enabling the company continuous growth.

At the end of the 1980s, the disappearance of quotas protecting Canadian shoe manufacturers has dire repercussions on the entire shoe industry. Companies must cope with these brutal changes, and adjustments are difficult both for manufacturers and importers. The family business cannot escape these difficulties. A restructuration and downsizing policy is implemented which lasted until the end of the 1990s. Objectives are reviewed, operating procedures are streamlined. It is during this period that company decides to purchase exclusively from Italy.

After years of hard work and continuous lean times, all of their efforts finally pay off and the company is once again successful and in 2009, a most joyous of events occurs.  Les Importations Lil Paolo welcomes a new shoe-duo, albeit different from the previous ones. Marie-Hélène joins her father, Serge, with new ideas and the vitality required to market their brands across Canada. This father-daughter shoe-duo will implement modern management and marketing techniques and customer oriented service that enable the company to flourish in an ever increasing competitive environment.

With your bootie, shoe or boot purchase, you are now the ones contributing to the growth and success of this great family story, a family with special ties to the shoe industry. The Marchand family would like to say, “Thank you!”

From left to right: Serge, Pierre, Wilfrid, Paul-Émile Marchand

Serge Marchand – Founder and Co-Owner of Importations Lil Paolo

Serge and Marie Hélène Marchand, owners of Importations Lil Paolo, at their warehouse