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The Though Kitchen - Dedicated to Stirring the Pot

The Road to Relaunch: Part 5 – Perspective From Gordon

Posted by admin | September 8th, 2008 | Filed under Uncategorized

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.

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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.

Gordon.

21 Responses to “The Road to Relaunch: Part 5 – Perspective From Gordon”

  • September 9, 2008 at 10:28 am | Frances Chapman says

    I bought my first Tomboy dress through Title9 maybe 5 years ago. Hated your company name on feminist grounds (is this abuse?) but eventually bought 4 of the dresses. I am glad you are helping out nau. I am not really the demographic you are marketing to, but I am a fan of sustainability, even though I am not as outdoorsy as your ideal customer. I thought nau did a really great launch, but it was undercapitalized for its ambitions. I think we have the same view of marketing. I call it the cold cut approach: Slice thin and often, microsegment by microsegment and find the right direction. Good luck.

  • September 9, 2008 at 10:30 am | PRand says

    we are a site dedicated to design-driven products and are green, very green. we are tracking your relaunch and have posted nau on our site at http://designapplause.com/2008/nau-is-back/154/

  • September 9, 2008 at 10:48 am | Nan Marshall says

    I am very glad to see nau.com making a comeback. I have been working hard to change my lifestyle and one of the things that is difficult to find is stylish and original clothing that is also sustainable. We need all the innovators of sustainability. I look forward to your new line! Good luck.

  • September 9, 2008 at 3:40 pm | ian says

    PRand,

    Thanks for your shout out about Nau on Design Applause. We really, really appreciate it.

  • September 9, 2008 at 4:43 pm | Gordon says

    Thanks for being a fan of the Tomboy and other HT products sold by our friends at T9. Just an FYI, the company was founded by a strong minded woman that happened to have a favorite critter growing up in New Mexico and named her company after it…Horny Toad. No offense intended.

    Thanks for the well wishes with Nau…we are all committed to a long and prosperous new life.

  • September 9, 2008 at 4:45 pm | Gordon says

    Thanks for the words of support Nan. Look forward to your feedback on the line this Fall.

  • September 9, 2008 at 5:28 pm | Jonathan says

    I am glad to see the growth of sustainable outdoor and relaxed clothing. My idea, and I think it would be great for a company like Horny Toad and Nau, is to come out with environmentally work clothes, that can be worn in the office, i.e. organic cotton dress shirts. Nau had some great casual pants, including the wool pants. Since I have to work in an office a lot of the time, my options for purchasing clothes that make a minimal impact on the environment is limited.

  • September 13, 2008 at 9:51 pm | Jamie says

    I did extensive research last year on environmentally responsible clothing and was so relieved to find NAU out there! Friends and I are very happy that Horny Toad and NAU staff are committing to seeing this endeavor through. I have quite a few NAU items and I get great comments all the time on them. I love that they travel so well, both in the country and the city – so please keep up the combination of cutting edge design and green industry technology. Only one thing: As an architect, I love the blacks and greys – but my wardrobe is getting too monochromatic – I wonder whether you all can try for more color moving forward??

  • September 14, 2008 at 9:30 am | Jean-Pierre Veillet says

    Knowing the Horney Toad culture and the great people and ideas that I have been lucky to work with in the development of the Lizard Lounge, the absorbtion of Nau blew me away as brilliant, my little hairs were raised. UTW, I am a souldier in this movement my resources and abilites are dedicated to help this work. Way to go Gordon, Kick ass.

    JP

  • September 14, 2008 at 9:33 am | Jean-Pierre Veillet says

    oops Horny Toad , not Horney Toad big difference.

  • September 14, 2008 at 11:32 am | Gordon says

    Thanks for the well wishes Jamie and color is on the way. Our fabric development team continues to work diligently to develop new ways to dye fabrics without harming the environment and at the same time also expanding our color options. But Jamie and Mark can do a better job of explaining the specifics.

  • September 14, 2008 at 11:34 am | Gordon says

    Much appreciated JP…love having you on the team. Hope you enjoyed Michael Franti last night at the Lizard Lounge and then his killer show at the Roseland. Special night, special musician.

  • September 26, 2008 at 1:19 pm | Marcy Petricig Braasch says

    I stumbled across NAU while researching innovative green companies I could romance, beg or otherwise throw myselves at now that I have left a corporate, very non-green advertising career in search for something more.. ah, fulfilling.
    Anyhoo– I commend you on all endeavors and plan to dress myself fully a la Horny Toad promptly. Oh, and PLEASE contact me the second you’re ready for some creative, festive and tightly run outdoor mobile (emission free!) campaigns! .. or if you need a seasoned media pro, of course.

  • September 28, 2008 at 10:29 pm | Sarah says

    Dammit, Gordon! I work with underprivileged, rehabbing teens, I get paid nothing, and you have the nerve to put my favorite clothing back on the frickin’ market! Keep up the good work.

  • October 11, 2008 at 6:42 am | Pascal Bejean says

    hi. I discovered Nau in Surface magazine. I thought design was really great. Even though Nau did not deliver in France at the time, I decided to order some items, by having them delivered at friends’ in USA and redirected to me. It was a bet, because I couldn’t try them on. That’s why I ordered in the sales period. That was a good idea, because even if I measured myself in cm and converted them (online) in inches, everything I ordered was way too large. Something was wrong in the process : my measures, my conversion or maybe the charts on nau.com (that would be my guess, because I really did it 3 times, I was quite concerned about that issue)… Anyways, the customer service was kind enough to prolonge the exchange deadline because of the distance and the shipping delays. Unfortunately, shipping back the items would have make the all process too expensive, so I kept the clothes, hoping to build lots of muscles in the next future ;-) I still am very intereted in Nau’s products and design, and I would gladly try again to order, if shipping was directly done to France, and the size issue was worked out… Long live Nau. Waiting for your relaunch! Best whishes. Pascal

  • October 12, 2008 at 9:23 am | Ian says

    Pascal,

    First of all, thanks for your incredible enthusiasm for Nau. All the way from France no less. I’m very sorry to hear about your sizing issues, especially given the lengths you went to to order the product. I’m not sure what happened given it sounds as though the clothes were far too large. Given we don’t ship to France its difficult for us to offer an exchange which is a bummer. In spite of that, your support regarding our re-launch is amazing. Hopefully in the not too distant future we’ll be able to ship our product internationally.

  • October 15, 2008 at 9:03 am | Jan Liverance says

    hi from CT. . . i’ve been talking up Nau at some of my favorite local retailers, hoping they will carry your line.
    here’s a short list: Parkers – Rye, NY, Outdoor Traders – Greenwich, CT and Outdoor Sports – Wilton, CT.

    in the meantime, i’d like to add post a comment that relates to Pascal’s sizing issue. i feel like you have really ‘hit it’ size with with Nau tops and jackets but your pants need some tweaking. please make sure your pants run at least 32′ or longer in length – not 31 or 31 1/2. your sizing is also a bit big too.

    also, in general i have also found Horny Toad fit and styling a bit too big and baggy – no offense intended here, just commenting! Your fabrics and colors are nice and I have often tried on your clothing, hoping it would work but your pants are too short. I’m a size 8 and your size small is right for me so I’m thinking that you’re probably missing a whole group of consumers who are smaller than me or like me, taller than average for a size 8. it’s easy to hem something, but you can’t make it longer.

    Nau fabrics and styling are amazing – if you can just get your pants to fit like athleta and ex officio, that would be great.

  • October 15, 2008 at 9:13 am | Ian says

    Jan,

    Thanks for your suggestions. On the retail front, in the immediate future the closest place to find Nau product will be at paragon Sports in NYC. They will have Nau product as of the first week in November. I know it’s not quite local but it’s likely within striking distance if you head to the Big Apple.

  • October 16, 2008 at 4:58 pm | Jan Liverance says

    Thanks Ian -
    Paragon is also within striking distance for me . . . I get into NYC on biz about once a week, and Paragon is on my hit list when I’m near Union Square – thanks!

    - J

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  • April 27, 2011 at 10:40 am | Garth Propst says

    Hi, i think that i saw you visited my website so i came to “return the favor”.I’m attempting to find things to enhance my website!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

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