Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Do the clothes make the man?

We received this from a rep application for Buffalo & Company today, and I couldn't help but be grateful that the men who want to be part of our company don't take our logo as seriously as they take the mission of re-cultivating the deeper issue of raising up men in our society. I guess if you are trying to create a brand, it mind sound counter-intuitive, but in my opinion, a brand should care as much about the people its serving as the money it's making. I am under the idea if you take care of others, somehow that gets back to you in time.

Looking at some of the companies who have strayed from their original mission in clothing, today they might have a big brand and powerhouse, and all the market share, but they miss the whole point. Our goal is not to lead people off a cliff, even if there's money below. It's about values and something much beyond a profit.

This is a great statement below by a rep candidate...

It appears today that what we buy is of a statement about who we are; that is to say rather than buying a product we are buying into a brand. Whenever someone walks into a mall the merchandise that they select from is not only a fashion statement, but also it says something about who they are. This is not what clothes used to mean. It used to be that a man was defined by how he acted, how he presented himself, what his morals and ideals were, and what dreams he held. He was the representative of his own brand. Now it seems that people have become consolidated into a few types of men by the choices they are unwittingly making when they walk into a store. If there is something that needs to be changed about men’s clothing it is the idea that the clothes make the man. The man should make himself; this will be accomplished be a return to traditional moral values.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

World's Most Interesting Man

Unless you are living in a remote cave, you have probably seen "The World's Most Interesting Man" commercials by Dos Equis.

They are hilarious. And kind of remind me of the Chuck Norris jokes. Hats off to Dos Equis in capturing some great marketing, including all their viral videos now on

We seem to be living in an interesting time of marketing to guys. Something has been lost in men, and advertisers are sure letting us experience the masculine side of a man we need. From deodorant commercials of Old Spice to Dos Equis. Even Canadian Whiskey does some pretty good ads joking on the modern metro movement.

I guess in all marketing, it is about selling an idea. It has been happening for ages. Even in the 80's there was the Marlboro man smoking cigarettes on his horse. And to today where AXE body spray tries to can come up with something sexually charged for teenagers. It is part of the game. It is classic marketing... you are lacking something, "We have that something you need."

And so, Buffalo & Company finds itself in the same place. We are trying to get the word out about our company and what we are. who we represent. I would like to think the same people these companies are marketing too, would be are target as well.

I think that is why I like looking into our past. The most interesting man in the world, while one of the most laughable commercials of the world, is made up. Nothing to the man beyond acting. And good scripts. It seems that has been our marketing efforts for the last many years. We will give you an image. Put a vodka martini in front of a yacht, and somehow you will believe it. Buy the thing.

I think we are heading into a more authentic user experience. I don't want to be sold at, I want to be inspired to join. I want to be part of something important and valuable for society, and for the good of people, and even re-cultivation of men. I want it to be true.

I don't want B&C to turn into some caricature of masculinity. It is far too easy I think to head down that route. Some funny ads, we can do those. We enjoyed laughing with our intern in those ways, making stuff up. But behind the curtain, and the company, what we want is an expression of something true and real.

That is why I love exploring our past, our heritage, and the men who came from it. Teddy Roosevelt was a real man. So was Hemingway. Lincoln educated himself to become a practicing lawyer and then become our nation's President. Those are interesting men. And they are real.

I think we need to be inspired again. Not by yachts, or actors, or carefully staged scenes, but ultimately, true works of character and honor. Men who actually did something with their life. I am enjoying on my weekends reading about these men. Both there tragic flaws, and their courage. They are much more like us, than we know. And that is what gives me hope. While we can be marketed to, I hope we can be inspired to be more than a silly commercial. I hope this generation doesn't settle for that type of masculinity. if so, we are in trouble, as a generation, and probably this clothing company.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The West vs. The South

Being raised the majority of my childhood in the south, and specifically in Nashville, and then moving west to Colorado the past 6 years, it has been both moments of joy and moments of loss. The two cultures are quite different. The West and the South. What they value, the roots of their origins, the spirit of the places. The people. The food. It can at times feel like two different countries.

I think we often have to leave home to appreciate it. And we often have to leave home to find the thing we just could not receive in the place we grew up. Most great stories have some sort of journey in them. Leaving home. Often returning. I think that is why the story of the west and the south need to find one another. And why at B&C we hope to tell it.

Part of our clothing company is bringing parts of the two together.

Here is what I love about the south:

1. Family. There are family businesses. 4 generation of families in churches. There are reunions. There is a sense of caring for one another. Meat and 3. Picnics. Emphasis on sports like football, baseball, and soccer that are community sports.

2. Traditions. As a kid, I hated the traditions of the stuffy churches with the old singing and starch white shirts required, but I have come to enjoy traditions that go beyond our own generation. Things of the past. They transcend the moment and our feelings to something deep and full of history and story. The traditions help in our understanding our place, and the chance to carry that on to our families one day. A story bigger than ourselves.

Here is what I struggle with about the south:

1. Family. Family can turn into a weird little cult. Protecting the images, and trying to live up to the gold frame picture that lives on most mantle places in the houses of the south. There is a sense of entitlement of I deserve this or that. There is often a lack of independent thinking. You just believe what your family believes.

2. Traditions. The traditions that are anchoring, can also spin into lifeless acts that leave the south disconnected from other places in the world and the country. There becomes a pride in a culture beyond just enjoying it, but maybe elitism of sorts.

Here is what I love about the west:

1. Ruggedness

The west is about stepping into the unknown. Going to where the land matches the terrain of the wild places in our soul. It is the territory of Lewis and Clark, wild herds of elk, native cutthroat troat, and where our ancestors left everything to just a covered wagon for a new land. You have to be tough to survive. The sports here are skiing, backpacking, cycling, rock climbing, mostly based on individual performance and heading not on manicured fields of grass, but heading into the rugged land, exploring, and competing against it.

2. Individualism

There is the chance to do your own thing. Not be confined to the ways of family, or traditions that can constrict. You can explore your faith in a rather unorthodox way. There is an openness to your way. There isn't one line, one style that you must fit into to be a part of it. You don't have to go with the flow.

Here is what I struggle with the west:

1. Ruggedness

The west prides itself in its wildness. It is less tame, less prone to being confined to a city. Or wearing a blazer, much less a pink shirt. The explorers who went west often lacked a cultured spirit that brought them into community, into refined values.

2. Individualism

The people were going to new land and the hope to strike gold. They often were getting away from something back east, and therefore were not prone to bringing it with them. THey started over, maybe for good, maybe for bad. There is an independence of doing things on your own, and community and traditions are not as much a priority as a fres spirit to do what you want. The sports and hobbies here and often the people can be a little more self focused than community focused.

So which is better? I am not sure I can say. I think they have a mix of the good and the bag. A priest Richard Rohr says for all good things, there is often the shadow side of things. The negative part of the positive.

I would like to think of that with the values of each. It is also why I think the two need each other. The West of individualism and ruggedness needs some experiences that the South can offer. Same with the Southern boy of family and traditions who might need to head West to work out at a ranch in the summer to get a part of him he can't find in his own culture.

I would like to think B&C is creating a belief that we need each other... the South and the West. An expression of two parts we need to find within us. An appreciation and respect for both, but not that one is better than the other.

Friday, June 11, 2010

In search of wisdom.

I was at a little coffee place I frequent in the mornings today. Every Monday through Friday a group of retired gentleman gather there to talk about just about everything. One man in particular who is in his 80's is becoming quite an interesting man in conversation. He is always asking me what I am typing on my laptop, and no matter what I say, he seems to know about it. In fact, he said he had thought awhile about getting on facebook, but he realized most of his friends were dead. I laughed at his joke. But realized, he wasn't kidding, he is as alive and interesting as any man I have met.

Well, we were talking about Teddy Roosevelt today, and he said, you know he is a progressive right. Well, kind of I said. And he went on to tell me about the movement, and Woodrow Wilson, and FDR. I was kind of interested in learning about it and I said, "I need to look more of that up." And he just stared at me and said, "Well, I lived through it."

And it just kind of hit me staring at him. That I hadn't even thought of saying, tell me more. Or what was that like. Or did I even connect that there are people alive, and men alive sitting at coffee shops right next to me that know these stories of the past. I was going to google it. He was it.

I love technology. I really would love one of those ipads. But I wonder how man screens we are getting our information from, instead of seeing who is right before us. Or who we could talk to. I need to practice the art of asking and listening. and sitting. versus all the knowledge at my finger tips get the quick facts gathering life. I am sitting on my laptop in a coffee shop full of googles with real stories within them.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

From poverty to distinguished gentleman

Abraham Lincoln was born into a poor working family in a one room log cabin. Their state of Kentucky was seen as rugged wilderness and known to many as “the west.” His father was an uneducated man who taught the hard lessons to Abe of long hours and the use of an axe, but had little experience in the greater ambitions that Abe sought.

Hoping to better himself, he learned ways to earn money through tradesmen and business men who were eager to hire Abe to float their products on flatboats down the Mississippi for trading in New Orleans. With some of this earned money, he purchased white fabric and with his own hands sewed together his first dress shirt. He was an avid reader, and while only spending 18 months in formal education, he was able to teach himself law, and entered politics though he didn't have an education, powerful friends, or money.

His ambition and self-education landed him as the 16th president until he was assassinated.

At Buffalo & Company, we believe in the men who stepped into the other side. Whether it was a rich kid who went west, like Teddy Roosevelt, or a small working class farmer, who worked his way into politics. We honor the men who went against the grain.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Honor your Wild

At Buffalo and Company, we have tried to make our company "authentic." It is an interesting descriptor, as some have said, "So my clothes are inauthentic?" Well, good point. What we mean is that we want our company to live out the lifestyle we are promoting. Both in adventures, and in character. We want to run an honest company, we want to serve people, understand the impact of our manufacturing on the land and people. We hope to grow into these things. We are learning as we go.

When it comes to marketing and promotion, while we would love to pay $100 million to Tiger Woods or Lebron James, we just don't have it. I mean, if we did, surely our company would become great, right? With a powerhouse behind it?

But since our company is about taking back clothes for men, we also think it should be giving our sponsors, into the hands of those out there living this out as well. We believe in empowering men to step out into something adventurous, take a trip somewhere they have never been before. It is not as much about proving yourself amongst other men, but for yourself. We believe a man needs a bit more wild in him, with all this suburban and urban landscape. He needs to get out, challenge himself, and be tested. Not for others, but for himself.

We have created "Honor your Wild" website where we encourage people to tell their stories of how they have done just that. While we would love any stories, we would love you to bring along one of our banners to take a picture while doing it. For a limited time, we are giving them away free from here.... FREE HONOR YOUR WILD BANNER

It is a big reason why we started this company. It is about much more than just clothes. We want it to get into the sinews of a man, into his thinking, into his journey as a man, to grow into more than what our culture is showing him these days. We hope our slogan, "Honor your Wild" and this site, helps to promote that. Authentic stories of men living this out.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Kentucky Derby - Where would you sit?

I have been watching ESPN today, as they broadcast the Kentucky Derby. I must confess I forget how men and women dress for things like this. The large hats and dresses. The suits and ties. Then there is the infield. It has been raining for the entire day, and the place looks more like woodstock. People out there partying, wearing green hair, shirts half off. There are mint juleps inside under all the air conditioning and probably PBR out there in the rain.

I have wondered, where would I belong? Which group would I want to enjoy the Derby in?

It just made me realize how there can often emerge two worlds. Two sides of people. The haves and have nots. Both are there, enjoying themselves. Different drinks. Different outfits. Different perspectives of the track. of the weather.

Where would you go? Run out in the mud and get dirty? Or put on your derby hat and head into the grandstands and high society and mix with a few celebs and business tycoons?

Sometimes I kind of wish for fun sake, we could toss them around a bit. Shake the place up and everyone switch roles. Maybe the little men on the horses would become the great men in the stand who are the wealthy owners, and the slightly overweight owners would head down to those horses they are watching in their binoculars, jump on the horse, and ride them around the track in all that mud covering their expensive italians suits.

That is a race, I would like to see.

That is a race that I think Buffalo & Company would sponsor.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Post - Clothes with a mission.

As a christian, and as a young businessman, I believe it is important to ask the bigger question of what is this company ultimately for? The mission of the company? The reason for us to be selling clothes, and what to do with our profits?

I believe in capitalism. I must say that first. But I also believe we have used that for many evils, and have turned a blind eye to what the reason God would give us blessing our work. It is far too easy to go spend it on ourselves. For all "our hard work."

I don't know where this company is going, we could fall apart, we could never make a profit, but I believe in my own heart, that if there is something behind this company, then I want it to serve a greater mission than just making money.

Our company's name and symbol is the buffalo.

I feel the buffalo is a symbol of many things for a man, and american, one of which is the close association with the Native people, the first nations, the native americans. We wiped them out, us white people. And we brought over our cattle from Europe to replace the savage animals called the buffalo. No one wanted to eat a wild game associated with Indians. Our ancestors felt that if we could kill the buffalo, maybe we could kill the Indians with 'em.

We almost did.

I love what President John F. Kennedy spoke in 1963,

"Before we can set out on the road to success, we have to know where we are going; and before we can know that, we must determine where we have been in the past. It seems a basic requirement to study history of our Indian people. America has much to learn about the heritage of our American Indians. Only through this study can we as a nation do what must be done if our treatment of the American Indians is not to be marked down for all time as a national disgrace."

So what is our mission? I don't know if it is all clear. I personally am trying to pray, seek God, read, and learn from books and people with much greater wisdom and perspective in these issues than me, but I think we have a role to play. I think it is part of our time, our generation, for our history of American, to explore the past, the current issues, and how we might join up, and learn from each other. How God might be reconcilling us to one another.

Why would God put a people group here before us? What part do they have to play in this larger story of our life here and shared lives together on this planet? What did we not learn then, that we desperately need, even today?

I love what Richard Twiss writes in a christian worldview of what might still be to come, "God is going to use Native people in a unique way to accomplish His sovereign purpose of our nation... It was never the purpose of our Creator Father to crush the original inhabitants of the land in order to "manifest our destiny."

When you begin to read how we brought Native Americans into "educational learning systems of the white culture" from cutting their hair, to educating them in our systems, and keeping them from using their native tongues in class, what we essentially said was, learn from us. You have nothing to teach us. We are the superior race. We will teach you.

Isn't that so easy to believe? We are something far superior than the cultures around us? As even Americans, we assume the world needs to learn from us. I am pro-American, I believe we are a shining light, but that we somehow have all the answers? That is simply pride.

One thing I wonder today, with our questions on sustainability, with the environment, with the use of land, and natural resources, what if there was something we need to listen to from them? Didn't the native Indians originally help us on plymouth rock, help us, to keep us alive? Isn't that what our Thanksgiving celebration is about? The story of the natives and the white europeans? Where did all that go after that event?

So I wonder, could we be part of a bigger dialogue, a bigger discussion? I hope so. And this summer, our goal as a company is to go to a reservation out here in the west, as a company, to serve, and just ask questions. Hear stories, and be an ear for God to whisper to us, what role we might play. Maybe it is to just learn. Maybe it is more. But if there was any group, that truely honored the wild, the land, it was them. May we draw our inspiration from them.

For if there is a "road to success" in this company as Kennedy wrote, we must determine where we have been in the past, and yes, we have much to learn. as a company, as a mission.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Our new shirts, and the quote inside them.

I was talking on the phone with a man named Vance the other day. He is about twenty years older, and a veteran business man. I have been given the gift of receiving a few of his thoughts and insights in business and life to me at various times over the last few months, and one of his comments has really stuck with me. It was about when you receive wisdom, don’t envy the wisdom for the man who brought it. Because that wisdom came at a cost. A price was paid to understand it. It was told to him by a mentor, the late Brent Curtis who co-wrote a book that changed my life back in ’01, called The Sacred Romance. Wisdom is not free for the man who birthed it.

Isn’t it true? Wisdom comes at a cost. There is insight or “knowledge,” we can learn that from books. And it can be obtained in the head, but wisdom, that is a much different beast. It comes through experience. Much of that being through hardship and pain. Wisdom comes with age, and experience, and a life well lived.
All that to say, it gives some backdrop to think of when you read what Theodore Roosevelt shared in a speech through these words…

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

I get the sense, to pen those words, and to give this to a speech of onlookers, it wasn’t just crafty ideas. Or great academic though. It came from a much deeper place, because Teddy had lived this out. This wisdom came out of his own story, stepping through adversity, and struggles, and failures, deaths in his family, from his new wife, and mother. He had overcame health issues as a child. The words came at a personal cost. And yet, that is why they are here today. They are worth their weight in gold.

We have put this quote in all of our new shirts coming out. So, why do we think they should inspire us, and why Buffalo and Company is putting inside all of our t-shirts, polos, and henley’s?

Because we don’t need a yacht symbol to inspire us anymore. Not some sunset on a beach. Or a pink shirt. We don’t need some symbol or company that takes us away from all of life’s problems, or by their models, promises to remove all the difficult. What we need is inspiration to step into them. From our fears, our entitled lives, our privileged upbringing, to risk, and to love, and to be willing to go through it, not around it. To step into the sweat, and the tears. And risk daringly.
So, we are proud of Mr. Roosevelt. We honor his life that lived this quote out. And inspire those to consider that lifestyle for their own. May Roosevelt inspire you. May he take you to a river. Maybe even out west.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

For every man.

Our tagline is "Honor your wild."

It came out one day at my other job, with my buddy who helped co-found the organization, Cory Smith. We started the organization 4 years ago to invite young men into the masculine journey in work, wilderness, and worship. Not because we think specific guys need the wild, or testing, but because we believe every man needs it.

It is why I think when Cory threw out the idea, "what about "honor your wild.'" It was truely a brilliant moment. Not because it was just some tagline, but because for the last 4 years of our lives, we have dedicated our lives to bringing guys out into our program for 11 weeks to explore and experience God, their own souls, and some of the most beautiful places out west, from the Grand Tetons, to the Snowy Range, in Wyoming, to fly fishing in Estes Park.

Our company believes that every man needs this. Not just for a select few. Not for just the ones who want adventure. We believe in every man, there is a deep desire for it. And often it is only because of lack of invitation, he has never been. It was true for me, and so many of my friends. I wasn't around it, or I didn't have men to lead and guide me in those places.

Honor your wild. what it means. is calling out every man. wild places in the sea. wild places in the mountains. wild places, even in the city. we need it. our culture has killed that place in a man's heart. and it is time to break out, invite men again.

Our new shirts are coming out this week, and some of them have the tagline, "honor your wild." The "your" is that every man has it. And I hope as we grow, that our company will continue to explore and open doors for every man, young and old, city slicker, and mountain man to find a place in it.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Gathering of Men

Occasionally on a saturday, or weekday morning, I will stop by a little breakfast place that has been around for many years in a shopping center near my house. When you walk in, you find around 10-12 men, in there 60's, 70's, and 80's together. They gather, what seems like every morning for a few hours. They talk about Obama, jobs, the economy, and they laugh a lot. Just overheard someone saying about flying over France, back in the day. They tell war stories too.

How does that relate to Buffalo & Company? Well, I just know, that one day, I hope to be at a table like that, with friends, and living in that type of friendship. Sharing the old stories. And talking about the current events of the day. And yet, I feel like what they are doing is fading away... we aren't gathering anymore. We are too busy. Chasing money, success, ambition. It's easy for me to do that. But at the end of the day, we need a place to go, and be with friends.

I hope as a company we can continue to re-claim what has been lost along the way, to trends, and be inspired by a bunch of men in a breakfastshop. We need their stories. We need to listen to their wisdom, as we grow as men. As a company, we honor the men of our past, and are inspired by their character, their courage, and what I see today, their friendship.

We all will become old men one day, and we should wear that with pride.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Our reps words...

As part of our belief in Buffalo and Company, we have the ideals that we are joining with others out there, to reform and change clothes for men. To recultivate masculinity, and reform clothes as a whole. It can't just come from a person, or through a good business model. It comes from guys like us. Regular joes. Because to be honest, we ain't fashionistas or amazing business men anyways. We are typical men. So are the guys who are buying our products.

We got this in one of our rep application questions, and I wanted to share it. He offered his permission to put it up here...

I've never really been one to care about what I wear or how I look, I've always been the kind of guy that wakes up, puts on whatevers in reach and heads out. Now, after being in college for almost two semesters I've started to realize that I'm growing up and that how I present myself does really matter. So I decided to make a change. At first I decided to look outward and see what the older guys in my fraternity and other guys around campus were wearing.

What came to my attention was all the bright colored collared shirts, shorts cut well above the knee, flip flops that just looked and sounded ridicilous when walking and basically just a bunch of crap that I really didn't think looked any better or more mature then the rags I was wearing at the time. The term metrosexual, which ya'll used in your "about us" page, described a lot of it perfectly. So basically what I am trying to say is that I feel like a lot of guys my age dress like women and the products ya'll are advertising are in my mind, exactly what any guy with any love for the outdoors should be wearing.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A mission of HOPE.

We had one of our reps write us last week and mention one of the reasons he believes in our clothing company is that we aren't only interested in making money.

Man, did that mean something to us. Sure, we are a company. We have a bottom line. A need to produce revenue, but I felt honored that in the midst of his experience of us, and what we are doing, he saw beyond a dollar figure. I really hope we are a company founded insomething beyond just selling clothes, "an image." But about social change. And spiritual change. In men. In our culture. And even in serving those around us.

This summer Campbell and I spoke about the idea of all getting together in a place wild. We thought, if this is true, if we believe every man needs to be invited into these experiences in adventure, out west, and in streams and land. Then we need to be about that. Living it out. Joining with other guys in that experience. So we talked about Grand Teton National Park. We would meet up for a few days, do some fly-fishing, backpacking, canoeing, and spend a few days if we are allowed at Wind River Indian Reservation serving the needs of the communities there. Adventure with some community service.

There is a lady right outside of town there I met a few years back named Sharky. She is from the Shoeshone tribe there. I am hoping she gives us some entrance into their world, and how we might serve the needs of their community. Some small way.

We are about to release our new shirts in the next two weeks, the symbol of the buffalo on the shirt, as our new embroider, and I am thinking that a portion of the proceeds we will use to give back to that community. Part of the beginning of the Native Voice Foundation, I hope we can start with a percentage of the proceeds. I would like to see us find a tangible way to serve people. Not just by a check. But through the faces and hands of those who are part of Buffalo and Company.

I love our reps enthusiasm, their willingness to take a risk on our company, and rep our brand, and believe in our mission. They stand with us in our values. And I would love to see us gather for a few days, to "Honor our wild" along with our land, and our history of America.

I hope this company can be about these ideals. I hope we can finally be a brand and a logo, that could honor what their values are, and their image. I'd love to be a symbol that is seen with respect, and honor.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Men and their choice of colors.

It is an interesting topic, what colors do you wear in your style of clothes. For a man, for a woman. Browns, pinks, yellows, tans, blacks? What does that say about you?

It appears there is actual biological testing that shows there are reasons a men/boys might prefer "the blue" color, while women/girls can recognize and see more of "the pink" spectrum. You can read about this gender connection color idea here... {ARTICLE}

It is personal to me, for one reason because I just had a little girl. And we painted her room in a pink/orange mango type color, and most of her outfits, are in that range. The question has to be, why do we do that?

It is also personal because while I lived in the southeast in Tennessee, I had a full collection of pink and yellow, and pastel shirts, and polo shirts. I wore a lot of pink ties, (still do at times) and for the most part, while in college, I enjoyed the thought of being seen as a "pretty boy."

I moved out west a few years back, and with that journey came other discoveries and clothes, and colors. And even at a soul level. I went backpacking, fishing, hunting. I wore camo, instead of a pink polo. I bought my first pair of white Dickies painter pants for my job painting houses. And I started buying my clothes, instead of at the Polo outlet on our way back from the beach of Hilton Head, SC, from Wal-Mart. Part because I was broke, and part because it actually was kind of liberating.

I am down in Florida for my brother in laws wedding this weekend, and I see all these pastel colors around me. Light sea foam greens, purples, yellows, and pinks are everywhere. On men, women, and child. It hit me that maybe our colors match the countours of our landscape and our setting? Light colored clothes are for the beach, reflect heat off, and representing a "beachy" feel. No reason to wear moss green, or chili red, or hunter green when you have 90 degrees of sun up in your grill.

I think that is what makes me ask about the many males today. We have a lot of pastel type clothes dominating many new clothing companies that are meant to reflect the beach feel. Symbols and colors more related to the lifestyle of the coast. Nothing wrong with that. I love the beach, and enjoy our yearly trip to South Carolina. But what I wonder is what is lost in a man, when he just stays in those regional places, in those colors, and those styles? As we look at clothes for our market of college men, I have to wonder why so many guys so easily run to the beach to identify themselves there.

I speak from personal experience. There was a lack of something deeper than just my pastel shirts. It was a connection to a landscape I needed that was not found lying on a beach. It came in a world of men, in the outdoors walking through timber in search of deer and elk. It came underneath a carhood with Earl helping me learn how to change my oil. It came hiking alone through Lost Creek Wilderness, scared out of my mind, with a backpack loaded down with too many "shiny" items, that brought pain, and a sore back.

It came through hard work, and a more blue collar lifestyle of lessons that I did not learn as I proudly wore those pastel shirts.

I think that is why I would say, I proudly wear my Polo and my pink tie, and a pastel here and there, but it is not my whole collection anymore. I have one pink tie, one yellow oxford, and a few shirts from Wal-mart, a few from Polo, and now a few that we are creating from Buffalo & Company. I think we need some diversity, and I hope we offer that as a new choice for men. To experience and explore another side of a man. Out west. Out in mountain ranges. Maybe under a car. Maybe in the woods. But somewhere that can't be found on the east coast beach. We need more diversity, as men, and as a nation, and in our clothes.

I think that is part of why we started this company. Because there are many sides of a man. But maybe for obvious reasons, men who get into fashion, and styles, and clothing companies, are often a bit more on "the pastel/beach" side of life. Nothing wrong with that. We need those parts of a man. But most mechanics, most guys out an elk hunt, dont think about starting a clothing company. Probably because they don't have enough of the other side of a man. They dont appreciate the style, the connection of how that is important. In fact, their wives back home probably would die to see them in some hair gel and cologne, and something beyond those tube socks from 1980.

I think we need both sides. And I hope we can represent the other side of a man, while understanding and respecting style. Just not getting to full of ourselves in it. We need clothes that look good, but a polo shirt you can jump under the hood, and be ok with getting dirty. That is our goal.

This is one of my favorite quotes, and why I think men need to move from pastels and beach loving to the west, even for just a season...

While the classic European coming-of-age story generally featured a provincial boy who moved to the city and was transformed into a refined gentleman, the American tradition had evolved into the opposite. The American boy came of age by leaving civilization and striking out toward the hills. There, he shed his cosmopolitan manners and became a robust and proficient man. Not a gentleman, mind you, but a man.

Elizabeth Gilbert, The Last American Man

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Letter to The Fasion Industry

For the past many years, as men, we basically followed your lead. We bought your trendy sweaters, and followed your fashion colors according to what you told us. It worked out for you, because you made a lot of money. You turned good companies like Abercombie & Fitch and Banana Republic from adventure and safari clothing to metrosexual styles with pre-frays and pre-tears and said it was "authentic," and charged us way too much.

Somewhere along the line, you betrayed us. Instead of using clothes to lead us into deeper meaning, and discovery as a male, and a man, you seemed to just lead us away from it. From the colors you selected, to the European trends you followed, instead of American. You left the roots of clothes, the heart of a man, and took him into something he was never meant to be.

We want to introduce you to Buffalo & Company.

We aren't experts in fashion, or apparel. We are men, we don't think we are supposed to be. We are normal guys. But we decided to create a clothing company that would break away from all of those new trends you are working on. We have no models. No New York fashion shows for our product. Heck, we shoot the products in our backyard. We have no marketing projections of what men will buy next season. We think all a man needs is what he has been wearing for many years. Simple and basic clothes with a symbol any man could be proud to wear. The kind our grandfathers wore, even yours.

We are a really small company, too small for you to follow our lead. But if we do our job, which is to represent a man’s true ideals, to bring him back to the dirt and the dust, and the sweat by which this country was made, we think your marketing department will one day look at this company, and say, “oh, we forget that about a man.”

That is our mission. This is our movement.

While you follow the trend, and the bottom lines, we will honor the things you forgot.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Our heritage.

I am always amazed at the heritage of men in our past. While it can at times feel like we are starting from scratch, from our journey into our place as men. I love finding great gold in the realm of true men of character and inspiration we are not alone. We stand on the shoulders of the men who have gone before us.

I was given this by Rudyard Kipling on a note card from an older man, David Bianconi, in Knoxville, TN a few years ago. I found it recently cleaning out my basement where we house all the inventory for the company. It was a reminder of why we are doing this. I thought this is what poetry was meant to awaken in a man... and what at Buffalo & Company, the ideals we represent...

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Serving Communities

I am spending some time journaling tonight, thinking about the reasons of why this apparel company exists. Like any business, or endeavor, we always start something with great intentions and visions, but the little daily things and the grind, and bottom line, easily cloud us, and bring us to areas that can lose sight of the big picture.

I spoke with a few friends in Chattanooga the past few days, and they were sharing about a factory in Ecuador. Villages in the country are often known for specific manufacturing, possible silver, or denim, or wood crafts. The villagers can often work in one area and specialize in products or processes.

He mentioned that a factory in one town is offering fare trade wages, and conditions for their workers, but are around 30% operating capacity. They are great at creating denim and corduroy.

I don't know when its feasible to offer jeans, and corduroy shirts, I hope soon. But I really had a vision in listening to the village of hoping on a plane, and walking through the town, and seeing the factory. The thought of giving back, whether it be helping to aid in production lines and helping salaries, or giving back by working on a project the locals need. But pouring into those communities. Serving and meeting their needs, as they work to meet ours.

The world is flat. And because of that, we have opportunities to reach out, and serve one another. When I was exploring a few months ago, unserved and unmet needs that were out in countries today, one of the areas I discovered was micro-finance. Helping serve the poor by offering them small loans to start new ventures and businesses. I was heading down that road, and very interested, when one friend at Excellence in Giving named Al said, "the problem with micro-lending is that 70% of people are just looking for a job, not necessarily gifted at starting something on their own. He said, if you really want to help people, in developing countries, own a factory, and employ people.

It was an eye opening thought. While I love new ventures and start-ups, the majority of people did not necessarily have those gifts. it made sense.

I dont necessarily see this company as owning plants or manufacture facilities, but I love the idea that maybe we can offer a few more hours of work to people in need. if that continues, we can offer a few more. maybe the best way to alleviate poverty was to offer employment, or work for them. but not just slave wages, but through good supervisors, and an honorable boss.

I was reminded tonight of that desire. to bring together the consumer with the manufacture. the people. for us to be serving one another, whether it be a living wage for a durable product. one exchange for another. we need to be more connected to each other.

I would love to see Buffalo & Company meet the needs of many people. and I hope in our social action and values, that be one of our greatest beliefs. capitalism and manufacturing and overseas production can be good for us all. and while I am quite the naive person, I look forward to getting on a plane to discover what part we could play as a company.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A man or a woman? Or does it matter?

Should clothes be specific to a man or a woman? It is pretty easy to move to the sexism stance if you even consider some clothes are made for different genders these days, this article from the NY Times would suggest. Current styles are moving to either sex is fine. Even some companies are making neutral gender clothes... like American Apparel.

Read this article from the New York Times about the current trend about gender blending.

But I think clothes are to fit over the body, and the body speaks to its function. And its use. I believe God created our bodies for similar things and different things. A baby boy, last time I checked, is still coming out of mommy with a penis. And a girl, those girls parts. While the culture might be blending those, I am pretty hopeful that while we can change up behaviors and styles, aint no one getting in the womb, and messing with those parts. They are in the DNA. Designed by God.

So what is my hope is change for men, and clothes? Is it a new style? Is it people waking up? Well, my hope is maybe as Freudianism as they get. Men still have a penis. And while these latest jeans out there are trying to get a man to tuck it in, and twist it around, and make it limp, to put on a pair of tight women's jeans, the hope for a man is what still dangles there. and one of these days, he is going to figure out what he could use it for. not just sex, but stepping forward as a man, initiating, leading, being a strength to his family, to his communities, and to the world that needs him to rise up.

I believe the function of man is written from his body, to his sperm swimming forward to be received into a women. there is action. movement. strength.

The problem is that for the last so many years, maybe the history of the world, man has taken that and used it for evil. he has raped. stolen. violated. and everything under God's name he has committed to try and prove it. no wonder women wanted to cut our things off. look what we did with what he were given as a boy.

I'd like to think we could offer a good version of this again. much like clothes. re-introduce american and men to the value of masculine clothes and help them understand their use.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Following Trends

Have you been watching any commercials? There is one that caught my attention. Gap. They have a pretty catchy commercial promoting plaids, and reds, with all their models dancing around in flannel.

Gap is one of those trend setters. They tell us what to wear. They are saying... in their commercial. go buy this.

Well, I find it qutie ironic that I dont have to go out this year to buy their trend. its already in my closet. flannel has been in there for awhile, and I have been wearing it. which made me ask the question, am I a trend setter? or wait, am I behind it?

I just find it so interesting that the lumberjack look is in style. this year. but wait, wear it next year, and oh, that was so last year. its cool today, not tomorrow.

but I got some news for you. it wasn't cool back then, it just was. it was what you wore. not because it was trendy, but because it worked. it was functional. it kept you warm, and for many of the farmers in England and Whales many years ago, it served its purpose.

all to say, I will keep wearing it. not b/c its a dang fad, or b/c a bunch of jummping gap models are telling me to do it. I am going for it, because its classic, traditional, my relatives wore it, and dang it, so will I. because I like it. trendy or not. its classic. real.

while trends will go in and out of style, i think i'd rather stick with what is tried and true. so, gap, yes. thanks for the flannel and plaid suggestions. but sorry, i am already stocked up. and when it comes back around in 10 years or so, I will still have it to, still wearing it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Why are we starting a clothing company?

It is interesting to think about the question of why am I doing this? And maybe ultimately the question, with our reps, and guys involved, are we doing this?

As I work on the business plan, there is the obvious questions, the bottom line. But one of the things I must confess is I am not a big fashion guy. I really dont spend a ton of money on clothes, and my wife has to remind me to put gel in my hair at times, or remind me, I need to dress up, or pick out some good clothes.

So why start a clothing company? It doesn't seem to be a great fit. Considering that. Didn't get schooled in fashion design, don't have the latest trends, or shop at the mall that much. I really am not up on all the clothes.

But I think that is why I like stepping in this role. As I research, and explore other clothing companies, I feel like they are a bit vain, a bit selfish, a bit into themselves. They wear the coolest, and newest, and they know what to bring to market.

I think the best people to be involved in Buffalo & Company are not all these fashion people. But men. Men who want a good product, want classic looks, and want to feel like a man and be proud. Men who really dont spend hours looking at men's fashion catalogs, or care about the next trend in 6 months. I think that is what ties us together. We are dudes. Men with a pair of balls. We aren't supposed to know the latest trend, or forecast what styles will be in, or feel that comfortable putting on a pink shirt. We are supposed to care, but not to that degree.

I think that is the beauty of our developing product lines. We don't have to look to the future. But step into the past. Of men, of our heritage. we dont need to reinvent clothes. just bring guys back to the roots of it all. I would much rather be Teddy Roosevelt, Jefferson, Shackleton, Lewis & Clark, then the majority of the men in this culture today.