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The Though Kitchen - Dedicated to Stirring the Pot

The Road To Relaunch Part 9 – Getting Close

Posted by admin | October 14th, 2008 | Filed under Uncategorized

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We’re getting closer. We can now say that our public relaunch will take place on Tuesday, October 21st. At that time we’ll launch our new website and our Fall 08 product line. Stay tuned. And, of course, thanks for your patience!

20 Responses to “The Road To Relaunch Part 9 – Getting Close”

  • October 15, 2008 at 10:52 am | eric says

    Hi Nau,

    I love your brand, your product and was sad the day you went out of business. When Horny Toad bought you I was ecstatic – I thought now Nau can learn from its past mistakes and launch this company the right way that both screams your message and is economically viable!

    I got your newsletter yesterday and immediately went to check out the new product line. But, it seems little has changed. $100 long-sleeve shirts, $75 shorts, etc etc. Like I did last time I will likely just wait until the sales start.

    I love your brand, love everything you stand for. But I am sad that everything is still over-priced and well above the means of 95% of the people who would be most excited about a brand likes yours. Putting the horrible economy aside, I had hoped that you guys had learned that while your product is amazing, it is just too expensive.

    Best of luck!

    Eric (ericedelson@gmail.com)

  • October 15, 2008 at 12:41 pm | Dan says

    The site looks fantastic!

    I have to disagree with Eric, though. No doubt you’ll agree there is a cost to sustainability (and promoting it). I’m sure research into recycled/organic materials and taking a firm stand on labor regulations isn’t cheap, nor is all the time in building solid relationships with groups and peoples to continue supporting and expanding sustainability.

    I’m sure costs will eventually lower as more and more companies adopt the same philosophies as Nau does in this regard.

  • October 15, 2008 at 8:00 pm | Holden says

    Hey, how are you doing at nau? Wow gosh, Ian you post up most of the blogs!

  • October 16, 2008 at 3:08 pm | Pat says

    Great site re-design, great product design–you’re definitely the zeitgeist brand in terms of ethos and practice.

    That said, all the best with your new business model. Agreeing with both #1 and #2 above, there are prices to be paid for a forward thinking, responsible production line–and coming out of bankruptcy!

    Hopefully the shrinking (disappearing) luxury market won’t be a major impact for your chosen scale. Looking forward to the day when you guys can afford to be affordable.

    Good luck,

    -p

  • October 16, 2008 at 3:52 pm | ian says

    One # 1 and # 2 above, part of our current reality is that we live in a world that has externalized all of the social and environmental costs associated with with product creation and consumption. As Oystein Dahle, former Exxon vice president for Norway and the North Sea, observes,” Socialism collapsed because it did not allow prices to tell the economic truth. Capitalism may collapse because it does not allow prices to tell the ecological truth.” Clearly a lot has to change, including our traditional notions of the price/value equation associated with product that we buy. To whatever extent possible, when designing Nau product we’ve tried to take in account as many imapacts as possible across the entire life cycle of our products.

  • October 19, 2008 at 3:32 am | Anaka Narayanan says

    I really like your Thought Kitchen! Your new home page looks like- love that the photo is so large. Hope you’ll have a lot of information on the fabrics you use. I know how difficult it must be to stay economically viable and still keep the prices of your garments low. Just a suggestion (and I totally respect that this may be in conflict with your goals for the company): you could have a less expensive line of clothing that is all natural, but not neccessarily organic. I have a small clothing company and while I would love to only use handwoven fabric, sometimes I need to have mill made fabric as well – either to complete an outfit (handwoven trousers would look too unstructured) or sometimes just to have a few garments that are of good quality but not as expensive as the rest of the store. Sometimes you have to get people excited about your goals by letting them experience a few things that are halfway between synthetic and completely organic. Once they are sold on nau, they will graduate to the all organic stuff. Like I said, just a suggestion- I’m still new to this and learning.

  • October 20, 2008 at 1:49 pm | Thom says

    Just read the article on Nau in this month’s Good magazine (in the back section called Good Business.) Fascinating. All the best in your endeavours.

  • October 20, 2008 at 2:17 pm | Ian says

    Thom,

    Thanks for your support in and interest in Nau. Indded, The Good Magazine article was an interesting read. On Good, we are huge fans of those guys. We’ve always felt we have a lot in common with them.

  • October 20, 2008 at 3:24 pm | Ian H says

    Ian,

    You have a great point in that prices don’t tell the ecological truth today. However, while your company’s crusade to change traditional business models is very admirable, nau continues to stand as a place that people in my economic situation – middle class (!) can’t afford. Unfortunately, nau seems to continue the current practice of allowing those people with enough money and influence to become ecological and social “heroes” – George Clooney, Angelina Jolie – while continuing to relegate the vast majority of the population to consumption of mass-produced Wal-Mart goods – for the sole reason that we can’t really afford otherwise. I understand that you’ve taken into account as many impacts as possible while designing your products. However, while this may be harsh, nau isn’t revolutionary – at least not right now. It seems to be nothing more than a company where rich people can buy well-made and socially sound clothing to feel like they’re environmentally and socially responsible.

    i’m sorry in advance for this sounding very angry and bitter. however, i think my points are valid, and i hope you don’t take offense to my comment.

    thanks.

    (also, the modus trench looks AWESOME)

  • October 20, 2008 at 3:37 pm | Ian says

    Ian,

    Your commentary and pov is welcome. I hear you. It would be difficult for us to design the quality product that we’re designing at significantly reduced price points. We’ve made a decision to focus on a particular product type with a particular customer in mind. The point I was trying to make is that often price becomes the sole purchasing criteria. However, it may be the case that in buying a less expensive product you’ll have to buy two or three of them over the lifetime of a similar but higher quality product. Sometimes mass market equates with Mass disposibility. I just read an interesting article about the current financial crisis and how it may lead to the ‘end of consumerism” as we currently know it. It talks about the notion of “treasuring” which refers to buying fewer, higher quality products that will last longer, have a smaller footprint and are designed for multifunctionality so in the end you consume less.

  • October 20, 2008 at 4:24 pm | Ian H says

    treasuring seems to be a very interesting concept indeed. thanks for your response.

  • October 20, 2008 at 4:45 pm | Brandon B says

    Ian,

    The treasuring philosophy is an interesting one, and one that has it advocates and its skeptics. I’m very hopeful that you’ll be right and find a sustainable number of clients (like me!) who are looking for something that might be more of an upfront investment but that will pay for itself in the form of fewer purchases to come.

    As fall breaks, I’m thrilled to pull my jacket out and find it in perfect condition after a year of fairly aggressive, mixed use. And hope there will be many more years of that repeated.

    But you have an uphill challenge — you’re talking about changing an ingrained consumer mindset. I hope you do. And I know a lot of us will be active advocates for you.

    Wonderful to have you back

  • October 20, 2008 at 8:30 pm | John Ritter says

    Hi, i’m 20, and a college student with a part time job. Treasuring works~! ive been doing it since i was 17 haven’t gone shopping in about 8 months… b/c i haven’t had to lately… lol… most of the disposable garb out there right now is just that… garb-age… $100 for a shirt is very affordable once you cut out the $4.00 daily latte or start packing your own lunch…

  • October 21, 2008 at 12:43 pm | Reece says

    Treasuring is a great concept, and it’s one that is undoubtedly taking hold in consumption patterns already. But can ‘treasuring’ really support Nau’s business? It would seem that Nau would really have to boost its margins in order make up for the lack of volume.

    I’ll admit that I’m one of those embittered middle class members who is frustrated by my lack of ability to participate in the green market — which includes everything from hand soap to luxury sportswear. Of course, I could go ahead and make all my soap from scratch or sew my own clothes, but that wouldn’t make sense in the cost-benefit analysis of my own time’s financial value. (I don’t have enough time in the day for ‘slow living’ *and* a mortgage.)

    So, sadly, I’m stuck in socially responsible limbo — at least until Walmart or Target starts selling clothes made from recycled polyester. And even though I can’t afford to by Nau’s awesome clothing anymore, I hope their success will ultimately lead to a sustainability trickle-down effect into the mass market. But, of course, this will depend on Nau’s ability to generate more sales rather than treasures. Am I wrong?

  • October 22, 2008 at 12:39 am | Ian H says

    the problem is that dropping $400+ on a rainjacket (“holy shit” -dad) isn’t actually as smart as spending less money on much cheaper clothes which have to be replaced. a $400 purchase is a huge dent in many people’s pocketbooks, and many people can’t afford to buy such a jacket without giving up rent and food! the clothes are great, but.. :) more, smaller purchases which are spread out over a longer period of time are more realistic for the vast majority of people. the amount of money that needs to be shelled out for a piece of nau clothing puts such a gigantic crater in the average financial routine that most people will be extremely stressed out for quite a while until their finances even out again.

    treasuring IS a great concept, and the new clothes are great, but..

    i for one can’t ever justify spending $400+ on a jacket, even if i’ll keep it my entire life.
    there are quite a few other people in the same situation.
    these posts might sound harsh, but, Ian, i think your idealism needs a little bit of tempering – treasure or not, the majority of people won’t be able to buy nau clothing, because of the gigantic upfront cost. and, you know, $400+ is gigantic. :(

    it looks so awesome though!
    best of luck, and i eagerly await your reply!
    i’d like to hear what you think of my concerns.

  • October 22, 2008 at 10:37 am | Ian says

    Ian H,

    We have designed our product with a certain level of quality in mind.

    Roughly speaking, 70% of our product cost is reflected in the cost of the fabric. In our case we’ve chosen to develop high quality fabrics (performance characteristics, sustainability considerations, durability, aesthetics, softness of hand or how it feels next to skin) because we think our customers appreciate a considered approach to design.

    Regarding specific prices points, we’re on par with the upper end, higher quality outdoor brands like Arcteryx and Patagonia. On the more fashion oriented lifestyle side of things, we’re in the mid-point price range alongside brands like G-Star and Diesel, more expensive then the Gap but less expensive then Rag and Bone jeans. For us its about designing high quality product that pushes the envelope from a sustainability point of view.

    Our product is a premium product. To do that it requires higher quality and higher priced ingredients. That’s a conscious decision on our part. We know that its not for everybody but we hope that over time some of the tenet’s of what we’re doing will become more accessible and the ingredients less expensive.

  • October 22, 2008 at 12:44 pm | Ian H says

    yep!

    duly noted.

  • October 22, 2008 at 2:39 pm | Reece says

    One more observation: Nau’s visual identity seems a bit at odds with their premium product positioning sometimes. Most of their models are down-to-earth Portlanders riding fixed gear bikes, livin’ the simple life, etc. They don’t fit the Diesel or G-Star look. Which is cool. But maybe it’s causing a disconnect between those who aspire to join the sustainability movement (the treasuring type) and those who are looking for a hot, trendy, stylish pair of jeans.

    I don’t want to start a class war, but maybe this is the reason why some people are thinking that the product is too expensive.

  • November 23, 2008 at 11:47 pm | Colin Liu says

    Good design(sleek, pure, ergonomic), good fabric usage(like polartec power-stretch for high function, laminate fabric for waterproof)and good material choosen(wool, organic-cotton, etc).

    The NAU company’s declaration are some like the other athletic outdoor brand – Patagonia(I like this brand which also provide the functional and eco-concious appreal), but has the opposite feeling of the product – one is casual-outdoor style and the other(NAU) is fashion-sleek style.

    Price is also OK if there is the SEASON SALE.

    Last hope the NAU will has the branch shop in TAIWAN, that I’ll buy the products without shipping from my relative in U.S.(u know air-shipping is not eco-friendly !!!!)

    Regards

  • November 24, 2008 at 3:14 pm | Caitlin says

    Colin,

    Great news! One of our retail partners in Portland, Oregon, the Lizard Lounge, is able to ship Nau products outside of the United States, including Taiwan. For more information or to place an order, please contact Brett at the Lizard Lounge:

    http://www.lizardloungepdx.com
    ship@lizardloungepdx.com
    503.416.7476

    As a company, we totally agree that air shipping is not so eco-friendly and that’s why we offset our carbon emissions for the shipping of our product from our production facilities to our distribution center and from our distribution center to our customers. If you purchase Nau product via the Lizard Lounge and have it shipped to you, you can offset the emissions via http://www.carboncounter.org.

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