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.