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.
What aspects of the original vision will remain?
To a large extent, the three fundamental reasons I was so enthusiastic about the partnership – the people, product and brand story are the three most important aspects that need to remain intact and unencumbered.
We have brought on as many of the original team as the current business model can support and have a list of previous Nau employees that we hope can rejoin the organization as it evolves and grows with the community’s continued support.
The product and all of the original Nau standards related to sustainable innovation and business practices will remain as is. The pipeline of new designs and fabrics are truly revolutionary.
The fundamental brand position will also remain intact. I think that will be evident when the new website launches later this month. The hope is that Nau can pick up where it left off and continue to build the community of artists, activists and athletes that have a deep passion for sustainability.
What will Change?
This is fairly simple…our expectations, pace and scale of growth will be less aggressive. I am a big believer in building a triple bottom line organization at a pace dictated by consumer response (some may say organic growth). While it might take longer (you will ultimately decide the pace), I believe it will be worth the wait. Our lifetime impact is what the brand and plan is all about. I think the Nau team may have even officially adopted my favorite phrase for the last four months….let’s “Build it as They Come”.
I look forward to keeping you updated on our progress and answering any and all your questions. Most importantly, thank you for welcoming us into the Nau community. Please know we embrace the responsibility to ensure Nau becomes a successful and sustainable brand and a model for a new way of doing business.