A while back Rick contributed a Thought Kitchen post about the “worst cinematic interpretations of outdoor sports. It was entitled The Camera Steals the Soul: Outdoor Sports in Cinema. On a different but related theme Grist compiled their list of 15 green movies. It includes the obvious like An Inconvenient Truth and the not so obvious like Chinatown (which also happens to be one of the top three movies ever made, at least in my books). Check out the list and be sure to see the running commentary on the most glaring emissions.
Archive for September, 2008
10:45pm, seat 37G.
I just returned from a trip to Hong Kong and Bangkok, having wrapped up a particularly important trip. I’ve worked in Asia for many years and made countless trips here, but nothing has ever been quite like this. Jamie Bainbridge and I started the week meeting with three prospective new factories. With a smaller footprint for the new Nau, we’ll be consolidating our business into Asia. We’re pretty excited about what we found.
We then got to work with our existing factory partners reducing our original purchases for Fall 08 by 75%. This meant re-merchandising the line for new distribution channels, calculating what materials are left over and could be used in Spring 09, and then Fall 09, tracking hundreds of different materials from, over 50 suppliers, has been a significant challenge.
Everyone involved with this, from both Nau and the factories, has asked themselves why they are willing to go through such an inordinate amount of work, to make such a small quantity of garments? The answer actually comes quite quickly. For me the reason is the chance to continue to make the most impressive product line on the market, with the very best people in the industry. For the factories it lies in the promise of future business growth, but more immediately in the challenge we present them with our designs and construction ideas. I knew we had something special when the factories (who have literally seen it all) began saying that our product is different, and that it pushed them to think and work differently. Because of this, and the integrity with which we strive to conduct our business, every factory and mill we work with has welcomed us back and pledged their continued support.
This was made especially clear to me while sitting with two guys from Teijin, our primary jacket fabric maker, who had flown in from Japan to meet with us and KCK, our primary jacket maker. These two companies are pillars of the industry and, incredibly, were coming together for the first time to ensure the current deliveries and future fabric developments of their smallest customer. It gave real meaning to the phrase “punching above our weight.”
Next came a meeting with our polo shirt maker in Bangkok. I’ve known them for 15 years, and am now working with the second generation of ownership. From there, we met with our cotton fabric mill, and then the organic cotton yarn spinner who is so critical to our supply chain. The final trip was a four-hour drive “upcountry,” to see our main sportswear factory.
After all this, I was seriously ready to get some sleep on the plane home, in order to be ready to buy the Spring 09 line. Safe to say it will be less eventful than Fall 08.
We have a friend. She inspires us, all the time. Her name is Dee and once upon a time she decided to build herself a small house. 84 square feet to be precise. Why? She wanted to tread more lightly on the planet. Every day she quietly lives what she believes. That’s why she inspires us. Once upon a time we made a video about Dee. One thing led to the next and today she was featured in an article that appeared in The New York Times. Now she’s inspiring more people. Go Dee go!
When we first initiated conversations with Gordon (see Road to Relaunch: Part 5) regarding the possible relaunch of Nau, we knew there were some dimensions of the business that couldn’t change. To do so would mean that in the simplest of terms Nau would no longer be Nau. That wasn’t something any of us were particularly interested in. At the same time we knew that some aspects of the business would have to change. Having found a new partner, we couldn’t simply wake up the next day and pretend that nothing had happened and continue business as usual.
As the team engaged, we quickly realized we had to examine the scope and scale of what we were doing. In that regard, the most material decision we made was to not reopen our retail stores. Instead we would continue to sell via nau.com and initiate relationships with a select group of retail partners across the country (more on that to come later). That decision had a series of cascading implications. For instance, the original Fall 08 line had 170 styles in it. Why? Because we had to fill our retail stores. Now, as we move forward without our stores we’ve been able to edit the size of the line. It’s the best of the best and it totals 69 styles. That’s another example of examining the scope and scale of what we were doing and, as a result, focusing our resources..
We thought we’d invite our new friend and partner Gordon Seabury, the CEO of Horny Toad, to pull up a chair in The Thought Kitchen and talk about his initial interest in purchasing the assets of Nau (version 1.0) and his vision regarding the relaunch of the business. Needless to say, we’re thrilled that he and the rest of the Horny Toad team are supporting our efforts. What follows are Gordon’s preliminary thoughts. In the spirit of The Thought Kitchen, we hope this will be the beginning of a great dialogue.
It is hard to believe it’s been almost four months since I first arrived at the Nau offices to meet the passionate group of Nau team members trying to find a way to keep the vision alive with a new partner. I’ve often joked since with that same group (currently part of the Nau 2.0 team preparing for the brand’s re-launch later this Fall) that I haven’t slept since I met them.
The fact is, I’m actually sleeping quite well these days as the plan we collectively developed in the subsequent months has progressed extremely well. The response (and gratitude) by customers, partners, industry colleagues and media has been truly inspiring. That sincere commitment and effort by all involved since our decision to jump in and continue to build the Nau vision into a reality goes a long way to reinforcing our confidence in the potential of the people, product and ideas that made the company unique.
While the credit for any future success should go to the creators of the Nau vision and the special team of individuals unflinching in their commitment to keep it alive, the Nau team thought it was important for the community to hear first hand what the new business partner envisioned for the future.
So here are the highlights I think you might be interested in hearing about:
What did we see in Nau that compelled us to take action and get involved?
The people – the passion of the original team and willingness to hold out hope and continue to believe in the possibility of a future.
The product – amazing innovation in both sustainable fabrics and practices as well as distinct, innovative, beautiful design.
The brand – and its strong connection to the community, from the day one interest and enthusiasm in the vision and story of Nau to the overwhelming response by fans following the announcement of the company closure. The market had clearly spoken. The brand had become one symbol of the larger change underway.