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The Though Kitchen - Dedicated to Stirring the Pot

Gordon’s Question of the Month #1

Posted by Gordon | May 18th, 2009 | Filed under Uncategorized

question-of-the-monthLast week we spent some time out of the office to establish our priorities for the coming year and refine our 5-year vision for the family of brands (Nau, Lizard Lounge, and Horny Toad). Being committed to creating value in the broader sense, balanced between social, environmental and financial impacts creates an energizing environment for innovation and inspiring possibilities.

But the reality is that we also have to be practical and somewhat prudent in the challenging economic climate of today so some of those great ideas might not have had a chance to surface or fully develop. So I thought it would be enlightening to broaden the dialogue to our community of enthusiastic product and brand fans.

So here is my first of many Questions of the Month…

What is your favorite aspect of our company and what should be our top priority for improvement?

I will respond and comment on submissions to provide a window into our efforts to address your suggestions. I look forward to your thoughts.

7 Responses to “Gordon’s Question of the Month #1”

  • May 18, 2009 at 12:37 pm | joel says

    I think the economic gap is widening, and particularly in diffiuclt times it’s difficult to approach affordability with sustainability. I think NAU has a great approach to manfacturing and design, but as written in a previous NAU blog posting, a sustainable approach comes at a price. I think the biggest room for improvement lies in ensuring that NAU doesn’t become an elitist brand but is able to convince as many as possible the merits of a holistic approach to business. I think this is an issue that the environmental movement in general is challenged with.

  • May 18, 2009 at 2:29 pm | hot.biology says

    nicely put joel!

  • May 21, 2009 at 3:55 pm | Gordon says

    Sorry for the delayed response Joel…we were in our Sales meeting all week launching the Spring 2010 Nau and Horny Toad collections.

    You raise a great point…how do you run a responsible business and not ask your customer to subsidize those environmental and social commitments by paying more.

    The answer we have come up with at Nau is to build a product with the highest quality, timeless design and multi-use function in parallel to an authentic commitment to sustainability and hopefully the value equation translates. We don’t ask our customers to subsidize our responsible choices…the sustainable aspects of the brand and product are the bonus. Our hope is that the Nau value proposition is compelling enough for our fans to tell their friends and so on to achieve scale and thus make the economics work for all.

    The good news is that in many cases reducing waste and adopting responsible best practices can improve costs and generate higher returns then traditional methods. We are always in search of those win-win value creation opportunities like our Partnership with Yay, Planet Access Company.

    We are sincerely committed to accessibility and will remain focused on the value equation in every product we create.

  • May 26, 2009 at 12:27 pm | Robert says

    My favorite aspect of the company is the clothing design. The environmental and social aspects of the company are great, but they wouldn’t make me buy the clothes if the designs were bad (or simply uninteresting like many outdoor clothing manufacturers). Instead of simply copying what others do, I like how even small details like belt loops are re-examined and changed to be more comfortable.

    Improvement is a more difficult question. I understand the feelings about price, but I’m not sure how that can be lowered without cutting unacceptable corners. Aside from price, I’d like to see an increase in non-black color options.

  • May 29, 2009 at 4:53 pm | libby says

    Robert,

    We are bringing in a lot of fresh news colors for upcoming seasons. Stay tuned!

    much love,
    Libby

  • June 5, 2009 at 10:59 am | sharon says

    hello, hello!

    props to joel! and i agree with robert. it’s easy to support the environmental and social aspects of a company, but hard to support the product if the clothing is, quite simply, blah. there’s nothing less inspiring than waking up and putting on a rather insipid and uninspired article of clothing. While some see clothing as just a means of covering up, clothing to me is a reflection of my interests, personality, self, etc. when i’m wearing your functional and fashionable clothing, i’m often turning heads and getting questions about your item. the fit and the quality of both the material and the craftsmanship really are fantastic, which lends to the argument of the longevity of well made products. sometimes you have to pay more for a product that is designed to last longer. while i try not to buy new too much, your pieces are an investment that i’m willing to make.

    on that note, color would be fantastic! perhaps consideration for comments/review for your product on the product page would be helpful. i’m sure you’re receptive to comments regarding your items, but sometimes i like to read what others think. it’s useful in my decision to purchase items.

    thanks

    - sharon

    oh and some day, could you make a cardigan (perhaps something with a rounded yoke collar, slight puff sleeve and slim cut through the torso) ? there’s nothing more functional and classic than a cardigan.

  • June 6, 2009 at 11:13 am | Gordon says

    Thanks for the product kudos Sharon. Glad you are turning heads and getting people talking about your Nau style.

    As Libby mentions, we are definitely broadening the color offering in the coming collections as the sustainable capabilities of the dyeing process evolve.

    As for product dialogue and feedback, we are working to get more interactivity on the website so you can comment on style, color and fit. We wanted to first get a stable and easy to use website up and running in our Nau 2.0 effort and then start to enhance the function and features. Stay tuned but in the meantime, we are hoping some of that specific design feedback and ideas can be shared here in the Thought Kitchen.

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