Ten Days of Christmas with Ten Kills the Pack
Canadian Singer-songwriter spreads holiday cheer to independent businesses
Ten Kills the Pack is the acoustic-folk project of singer-songwriter Sean Sroka. Hailing from Toronto, ON, Sroka finds inspiration from the quiet existential moments laced throughout the city. For the holiday season, he teamed up with ten Canadian businesses for the Ten days of Christmas giveaway. Each day, fans can win a $100 gift card to spend at a beloved independent company. Onside Media had the opportunity to speak to Sroka about the importance of this generous initiative.
Have you done holiday giveaways like this in previous years? How is this one different?
I have not. I have worked with another company that is part of the giveaway, which is 18 Waits. I’ve done giveaways with them before. They’re an all Canadian-made store, so everything is made in Toronto, which is challenging. But everything is really good quality. I have done giveaways with them while working there, so I have some experience with giveaways in the retail space. So this is my first giveaway, and it works because its “Ten Kills the Pack, Ten Days of Christmas”.
I’ve seen you perform live before. You’re brilliant! How have you stayed connected to your fan base during these trying times?
This is one of the ways I like to do that. But mainly I have had some releases that were lined up throughout the year. That was fortunate because I had content to talk about during this whole time. It has been crucial because there are no shows that I can do, or any other third-party marketing ideas. So luckily, I’ve been able to keep in touch by releasing some music. About every six weeks, something would come out, give or take. But that can only last so long. So it’s been nice to have a refresher with something different, by giving something away and partner with these great Canadian brands that I am personally connected to and absolutely love.
How many weeks leading up to this give away did you spend planning this? What was the planning stage like?
Oddly enough, it was a last-minute idea. Myself, my manager, and my label had conversation not even two weeks. And literally after that call, the next day I made a bunch of calls to friends that I’ve worked with in the past and companies that I’m connected to. We were stressing, it was crazy to set this up, and do giveaways with 10 different shops, do 10 different announcements, including winner announcements. For me, it was one of the craziest short-term projects that I have done. But it was a great opportunity, and we didn’t want to miss out on it. So, within 10 days we had everything done. We even had all the graphics done. I collaborate with Fleck Creative all the time, so I had them make all the artwork for it. It was an all pistons running kind of thing. We thought, if we can’t get a certain company on one of the days, we would at least fill up that day with something. But we managed to get everyday filled the way we wanted it to be.
How did you go about choosing the businesses for this giveaway? Was there a certain criterion?
Basically, the criteria that we started off with was just people/businesses that I know personally. I want to be able to take care of my family and friends first. I’ve worked on Queen Street and lived on Ossington for many years. I’ve made friends with lots of companies and businesses in those areas. From that, I was able to contact those people directly. I’m friends with Craig [Pike, owner of Craig’s Cookies], Laya Spa & Yoga is just a few doors down from me. Basically, every business is one I had a personal connection to.
I also look for companies that do great work, are ethical and progressive. The business must be in touch with communities, whether its LGBTQ or BIPOC. Any touchstone that needs importance, I am always trying to hit those markers and am actively pursuing those. Otherwise, there was no specific criterion, only good people and good brands that I wanted to help.
Which of the 10 days are you most excited for?
The last one is a “choose-your-own-charity”, which is a favorite because that is the spirit of Christmas. Other than that, I don’t have a favorite store, I don’t want to pull any biases. One thing that we did was a merch bundle on the only day that we didn’t have a business giveaway. The criteria were that people had to share their favorite TKTP song that they would recommend to a friend. That was fun for me because I got to have a personal connection with all these people. Besides that, through these businesses, we have had a lot of positive messages through Instagram. People would say “I’m so glad I discovered this brand”, which is great.
In your own words, describe what kind of impact you hope to have with this incredibly generous giveaway?
This was an important project because it was something that means something to me. I wanted to help these businesses thrive during a really hard time. I’ve been hit really hard, as all musicians have, so I can only imagine how hard it is for people with small businesses, employees, and all these other costs. It’s been great to work with these businesses, and to work with some of them again. I have such a history with most of these companies and people. I was able to give this money to these companies, while also introducing my fans to their brand. It’s been really nice to spend $100 at a store, and then give it away to someone. It’s a 3-sided coin in a way, and it’s all-positive.
Between December 10th and December 20th, Ten Kills the Pack collaborated with Craig’s Cookies, Coup de Tete, Philistine, Barber & co, Boxcar Social, Laya Spa & Yoga, 18 Waits, and Nona Vegan Foods. For more information, visit @tenkillsthepack on Instagram.
Author: Vanessa Butera, Content Writer, The Onside Media, Toronto, Canada. If you have stories to share kindly email: – firstname.lastname@example.org