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.