As big as any so far…we’re officially opening our doors to New York City for 50 days of interaction, experience and education.
At Tuesday night’s private media opening, it was hard to tell which impressed the crowd more: the store aesthetic, the energetic vibe, or the Nau product itself. The one thing that was clear – beyond the genuine enthusiasm of what we created and what was about to unfold in the coming 50 days – was that no one believed the space had been built in only 10 days, and that it was intended to be a temporary installation.
My favorite comment from the night: “You have to stay”.
Even our musical guests, Zee Avi and Will Dailey, had to outfit their bands in Nau for their upcoming tours before leaving, and they’ll now be making a stop to play Lizard Lounge the next time they pass through Portland.
Today we unveil our project to the public. With the help of Secret Machines on stage tonight, the photography of our Grantees for Change Benjamin Drummond and Sara Joy Steele, and the support of a tremendous number of partners here in NYC and back in Portland, here/nau/nyc finally (officially) arrives. We won’t be staying this time around, so make sure you come see us during the next two months if you find yourself within striking distance of 69 Mercer Street in Soho. Keep a close watch on the ever evolving calendar of events as we weave through the beauty, performance and sustainability themes with a dynamic list of community events, activities and charitable partnerships.
We are officially on our way to SoHo for the holidays, ready to mix with the Collective that we have yet to meet – the artists, athletes, and activists of New York’s greater Metro area.
We signed a lease and started painting this weekend in a discreet space on Mercer, just north of Broome.
Why SoHo? We wanted to be in a space that would be convenient, easy to find, and welcoming to all. And, we needed to find a space large enough to throw a party (or ten), play live music late into the night, and be open to creating a buzz.
After a pretty involved search this Fall, we found the perfect two-story space. For the street level, we’ve designed a clean, minimalist retail space to host Nau’s Fall 2009 collection, peppered with some of our favorite sustainable and socially responsible complimentary brands. Downstairs, we’ll have a coffee bar, lounge and gallery.
In a series of blog posts over the coming weeks, we’ll share details of the making of the pop-up, including the dumpster diving process we just went through to assemble locally sourced, sustainable store fixtures; the store design and our site specific art installation process; the line-up of music, featured artists and events; and the selection of our local charity and other partners. Part store, part gallery, part event space, and with plenty of room for all things unpredictable, our NYC pop-up’s about sharing our approach to sustainable business and considered design with our friends out East in an unforgettable way. It feels great to finally see the first of our plans unfold.
We hope to see you there, and if you are not planning to be in NYC in the next two months, tell your friends to come say hi for you.
We were in NYC last week getting the plans laid for our arrival in November. Thanks for the many recommendations…we are exploring all the artist submissions and then some and should have a compelling line up of events The only downside of being in NYC last week was we missed a Portland office visit from our friend Michael Franti and an amazing show at the Roseland.
While we had great meetings with a host of people in NYC, the most inspiring was with the folks at Mercy Corps NYC. Our Partner For Change recently opened its first public space, the Action Center to Stop World Hunger across from the Irish Famine Memorial in Battery Park. They were incredible hosts spending nearly 2 hours touring the facility and providing an overview of the work being done throughout the world to address poverty and hunger. The combination of interactive educational tools for students and adults, the deeply knowledgeable staff and the warm reception made for an inspiring visit.
We plan to install a Mercy Corp Action Center display in our space in NYC to inspire visitors to make a difference with as little as one minute of their time and will also have several activities to raise both funding and awareness for the center. I encourage anyone in the area to stop by 6 Riverview Terrace and learn how you can make a positive impact.
I skipped last week because we had an internal conversation about the Thought Kitchen and how we wanted it to evolve over time to a more interactive dialogue with the public. A forum for discussion, debate and feedback and still be accessible for Nau fans to comfortably participate. We will work towards that end goal in the coming months and in the meantime, I thought what might be interesting would be to shift my weekly post to an open and evolving dialogue on Nau’s visit to the Big Apple this Fall.
In the coming weeks, I will provide the latest developments on the event along with questions that need to be solved. To start, we need a list of your favorite artists and musicians…local to NYC is always terrific but great art and music travels well so the broader the list the better.
We have been doing a bit of soul searching lately discussing the accelerating evolution in responsible behavior and the growing importance of life meaning and balance. We love this shift as it speaks directly to the core of the Nau brand.
At Nau, we like to think of our loyal fans as Artists, Athletes and Activists, a group of people that strives to create new and innovative paths to a better world. People whose lives blur between the creative, active and cause related worlds. Enjoying everyday and trying to make a difference along the way. (Many send us pictures of all this, which we love. We post them on flickr, and now have a great collection of snapshots from the real world, like those at the top of this post).
It makes us want to learn – and see – more. This month, we would love to hear from you…tell us who you are and what you love, give us a sense of what inspires you.
In the spirit of the Horny Toad “Invent a Sport” contest a while back, it should be recognized that our close friend and outstanding design/build partner Jean Pierre Veillet (Siteworks in Portland), is likely the inventor of one of the most enjoyable sports I have come across in my lifetime. This is the guy that helped us design and build our Lizard Lounge retail experiment in Portland and soon to be famous for another revolutionary project for Nau coming this Fall.
The only favor he has requested for the last two years is for me to come and boat surf on the river with him. And all I have done is politely declined with a host of work and time related excuses.
I finally agreed this weekend as I was extending my Portland stay with my wife for her birthday and assumed it would either be a form of wake boarding or water skiing. He kept claiming it was his invention and that no one else was doing it but again, not really thinking that much about it, all I was worried about was the possibility of swallowing too much of the Willamette River and getting sick (as I was repeatedly warned).
Okay, I am now a convert and this sport is not like anything I have ever seen. This is an 8 foot surfboard with the rider holding on to a ski rope that is 20 feet or so off the back with the boat traveling at 20ish miles an hour. When is the last time you surfed a wave for 10-15 minutes? That is what this is about and while it was difficult to get the hang of standing up without any attachment to your surfboard, once you are up you can rip up and down the face of the wake wave like a pro … okay JP can but my wife Karen and I were respectable for first timers.
Get out and try it … you will not be disappointed! And remember, the movement was started off JP’s boat on the Columbia and Willamette rivers.
The news of Zappos.com being acquired by Amazon was bigger than just another merger and acquisition. It will have meaningful implications to the online consumer product business for years as it combines the two most successful pure plays to come out of the dot-com era. It is also interesting because the brands and the business models they chose could not be more different in any way.
The question I keep asking and now pose to the audience as well…is this a good thing or a bad thing?
A bad thing:
- Sad to see this independent and very unique culture become part of a public company…we can only hope Amazon understands the premium they paid is only justified if they don’t mess with what made Zappos special.
- Even though these are extraordinary economic times, Tony and the Zappos ownership could easily be perceived as sell outs…giving away the vision they preached to the very competitor they targeted to outdo.
- One less online competitor to keep the playing field fair.
A good thing:
- A win for exceptional customer service…Zappos hallmark.
- A win for modern company culture. That makes us feel better…our happy hours, free form office space and dogs are not so crazy after all.
- It demonstrates optimism that the economy will improve and that consumer spending on apparel and footwear in the online environment still has significant growth potential.
What do you think? Good, bad or don’t really care…
While Nau is only officially on its first lap with its refined distribution plan to add select outdoor, fashion and eco-friendly retail partners to the network of places to buy Nau product, the retail community has already welcomed us with open arms. Fresh off an inspiring week at Outdoor Retailer and getting prepared for the Project fashion tradeshow at the beginning of September, it is comforting to see demand for Nau’s blend of beauty, performance and sustainability prove popular beyond the direct to consumer only model.
Even in these challenging economic times and following a successful 12 key retailer test in Fall 2008/Spring 2009, Nau will be offered in more than 60 specialty retailers and counting this coming September in most major cities and resort markets in the U.S. as well as select retailers in Japan and Europe. We could not be more pleased with reception from the various retail communities and are looking forward to spreading the word about the product, brand and company philosophy.
Thanks to all the retailers that are embracing our efforts to spread the message of positive change and stay tuned for the list of retailers near you to shop locally and enjoy the Fall 2009 Nau product in 3D. (coming August 18)
I am lucky enough to be on my way to a week at the Outdoor Industry tradeshow to spend time with some of the most inspiring leaders and athletes in the outdoor world.
While I am gone, the best advice I can give to believe the world will be a better place is to spend some time browsing the amazing work and accomplishments of the nominees we have received so far for our Nau annual Grant For Change program. Special people doing exceptional work to create positive change.
Make sure you vote and if you have a friend or colleague that is making a difference, get them in the mix with a nomination!
It was truly a pleasure last week when I was once again reminded of the special nature of our not-for-profit partner, Search in Chicago. This is an amazing organization that provides beautiful homes, quality life training and experiences for adults with developmental disabilities. They are also our partners that co-created Planet Access and Search for Adventure, the pick and pack operation that ships all of our product that then in turn funds an adventure travel and vacation program for these same adults.
I could spend a few paragraphs on all they do with these programs but probably best to provide the link for you to read for yourself.
That said, I had a chance to tour their latest masterpiece…a 36,000 SqFt life experience and arts center. This facility really epitomizes what Search is about…taking the practical needs of their members and satisfying those needs in ways that far exceed any possible expectation. Instead of generic classrooms in a sterile facility, they designed a magical New Orleans streetscape to provide a dynamic and real world environment in which their population can be truly inspired. Classrooms were more like workshops and as you walked through this beautiful facility, you quickly understand the point…you were a guest in a vibrant community.
Keep an eye out for gallery openings and possibly a t-shirt program promoting the terrific art coming out of their new arts studio (like the image above) and arrange for a tour if you find yourselves in the western suburbs of Chicago!