Blog 2021 - Part Two
WeatherWool news and topics of interest.
BLOG entries by Ralph unless otherwise noted. Feedback welcomed!
-- Ralph@WeatherWool.com / 973-943-3110 (mobile)
The Blog for 2021 exceeded the maximum page-size limit, so a "Part Two" is needed. Please click here for 2021-Part One.
We have customers named DeMeo and DiMeo (our spelling) and completely by coincidence we spent time with both of them today! Neither of them are known relatives, although going back far enough, we probably are related. My understanding is that our name is normally spelled DiMeo in Italy, but during the big immigration of the early 1900s, many phonetic spellings were recorded by Ellis Island immigration officials on behalf of those who were not literate.
I recently updated (slightly) our Customer Service Page. We've always felt Customer Service is as important as our actual product. But I wanted to make clear that even if we are successful in our efforts to make problems rare, there will still be problems, and when "stuff happens", we will overcompensate as a matter of policy.
WeatherWool is committed to Slot Buttons and this is the first prototype of a Titanium Slot Button made for us by Dutch at DutchWare Gear
We are very happy with this as a first proto, and although we are already discussing some changes with Dutch, we know we are hot on the trail because this is pretty great as is! THANKS DUTCH!
And our friend Mose, co-owner of APROE in San Francisco, is still experimenting with some Custom Bronze Slots Buttons. Mose is kindly allowing us use of his designs!
It sure looks like we will have some great customized Slot Buttons soon!
Debby just reminded me about a little battle we had years ago when we first began to make clothing. I've always wanted to minimize the labels we put in our garments because labels hurt performance. But we are legally required to have our own WeatherWool label, plus labels for care, composition, place of manufacture. We have added a very tiny size tag and recently a Batch Tag, which tucks nicely under the MADE IN USA tag. What I did not remember was that Debby wanted our MADE IN USA Tag to also have an image of The Flag. I wanted a smaller label with no Flag. I am now very glad I lost that battle!
WeatherWool is proud to have The Flag displayed prominently among our garment tags and legally required labels. Our “Batch Tag” is under the MADE IN USA Tag. Our Care Label is not shown in this photo.
We get a lot of requests from people who want a guest blog, or want us to plug their products, link their podcasts, etc., etc. But this morning I received a "LINK US OR ELSE!" mail. Never gotten one of these before!
This is the note just as we received it, except that I disabled the links:
Yesterday, I think for the first time ever, a customer told us the Mouton Hat was a little too small for him. Given that the Mouton takes up a lot of space inside the Hat, we suggested he try shaving down the Mouton. He did, and it worked! This has us wondering if we might be able to use strips of Mouton as hatbands that could be sized to make the hat larger, as is sometimes needed ...
2021-12-22 ... Years of Patience. THANK YOU!
Today we filled an order that was placed two-and-a-half years ago. And we have some backorders much older than that. (We honor the price in effect at the time of the original order.) But there is a good chance that 2022 will be the year we really start getting caught up!
2021-12-21 ... DOs and DON'Ts
We mostly go against the prevailing wisdom. I just wrote up a page listing some of the typical "DOs that we DON'T" and "DON'Ts that we DO".
2021-12-20 ... YouTube Reviewer Carl Murawski
I just added the following to the page presenting Reviews of our All-Around Jacket.
Six months ago, Carl Murawski, a YouTube reviewer of clothing and gear, posted a video focused on alternatives to Filson’s Mackinaw Cruiser. Carl discusses the Cruiser, then introduces 11 alternatives, including our All-Around Jacket. Here is what he said about us (at the 5-minute mark):
The WeatherWool All-Around Jacket ……. Now, if you have cash to burn and you want something quite amazing, the WeatherWool All-Around Jacket might be the one for you. Now, let's just get this out of the way right off the start. It's $850. I know, I know, for that money though you're getting some next-level wool that seems to almost have magical properties, along with details that any true outdoorsman or hunter will appreciate. This is a really nice piece that feels like what Filson probably would have eventually turned into if they'd kept true to their roots. And it's probably the best wool coat for actual hard use that's available today.
Carl regularly reviews workwear for close to 100,000 subscribers. Thanks for the nod, Carl!
2021-12-18 ... The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
The Good: We continue to get wonderful feedback from our customers, and this is like oxygen for us! Thanks Everyone. Here's part of a note from yesterday (Thanks Larry!):
Actually, that was a lot better than "good"!
The Bad: The virus is still with us. I've heard just today from two customers who've been dealing with it. One wasn't terribly sick but sense of smell has not returned. The other is feeling OK now but nearly died. And this was a hospital worker who has been in the thick of it for nearly two years. Who would have ever thought our medical people would be facing hazardous duty? I'm concerned also that the governments of New Jersey, New York City and Connecticut might decide to shut things down again. It seems like they are edging in that direction. We already lost a full year of production due to shutdowns. But our little concerns are the least of it!
The Ugly: I'm trying to avoid being a "fine print" company. But I just had to update our Customer Service page:
There are no other dealers of WeatherWool. If you bought a WeatherWool garment from someone else, whether new (nope!) or used, we assume no responsibility. We cannot guarantee transactions in which we did not take part. We cannot support people who are not our customers. And we have heard about theft of some of our garments.
And I guess everyone knows that The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is one of the biggest Western movies ever ...
2021-12-17 ... MidWeight Drab Anoraks
The Fabric for the next production run of Anoraks -- all in MidWeight Drab -- has been cut. HOORAY! I hope we can ship these in February.
2021-12-16 ... Mulesing
Today someone asked whether any of our Ranchers practice mulesing. I was going to refer her to the mulesing information on our website, and was very surprised that there isn't any. I would have given long odds we had covered mulesing ... but evidently not. Thanks to Monique for the inquiry!!
Some sheep have an accumulation of folded skin around their back end. The wool in the skin folds is an ideal place for parasitic flies to lay eggs. The fly larvae cause "flystrike" ... they eat the flesh of the living sheep, which is very painful and potentially lethal. Mulesing is the surgical removal of the extra folds of skin, eliminating/reducing the situation that attracts the flies. Click for some information about mulesing from Australia's Woolmark.
Advisor Mike Corn, a recent president of the American Sheep Industry Association, mailed me today that nobody he knows practices mulesing. Instead, those ranchers that need to address the situation "tag" their sheep ... meaning they shear the wool away from the problem areas. THANKS MIKE! I also asked Rancher and Advisor Bob Padula for input, and he phoned me. Bob agreed with Mike and did not believe there is anyone in the USA practicing mulesing.
2021-12-15 ... Pushing It!
I designed the Anorak to wear over one light layer in moderate conditions ... potentially to be worn for hours indoors and to be worn for hours outdoors in temps down to freezing or so, depending on a lot of variables. But I hear frequently from people who push it. We just got a note from Isaac who wrote that he was comfortable at -18F/-28C with two light wool base layers, the Anorak, Neck Gaiter, Watch Cap and a thin waxed cotton shell with a hood. Our Canadian friend was just walking around the neighborhood, but we suggest people always bring a storm shell on any potentially serious outing.
2021-12-14 ... TITANIUM!?!!
Advisor Chris Christian has been aware for months that I'm not willing to proceed with our North Maine Double Coat and Peacoat without appropriate Slot Buttons. And there just are not any commercially available American-made Slot Buttons that are suitable for these jackets. Today, Chris introduced us to his friend Dutch Ressler, proprietor of DutchWare Gear in Lancaster Pennsylvania.
Dutch is a professional gear-guy whose business was inspired by his dissatisfaction with the gear he used when he hiked all 2200 miles (3540 km) of the Appalachian Trail in 2003. Hammocks and hammock accessories are his specialty and because he designs and manufactures at his own shop, our search for custom Slot Buttons was interesting to him. It was a happy coincidence that Dutch was also familiar with WeatherWool and has been waiting on us for a Hooded Jacket (sorry, Dutch!) since mid-2019.
Dutch does a great deal of work with Titanium, and the Slot Buttons we have in mind are not all that different from some of the items he is already making. We are really looking forward to seeing what he comes up with!
Separately, our friend Mose, co-owner of APROE in San Francisco, is experimenting with some Bronze Slots, and intends to allow WeatherWool to use his designs.
So it seems these Buttons are going to happen!!
2021-12-13 ... Brushes and Lint Removal
Something that comes up frequently is the subject of cleaning. And the website does have a Care and Cleaning page.
It's really nice that wool resists soiling quite well. But it does pick up burrs and lint. And the surface, over time, does lose the "nap" (similar to brushing) that is one of the finishing processes. The burrs can be removed and to some degree, the nap can be restored by brushing, as shown on the Care and Cleaning page, where I just added a video made by Advisor Randy Dewing. (THANKS RANDY!!)
We have thought about offering an American-made Natural Boar Brush, but we don't want to offer products made by anyone else. These brushes are offered for sale on various websites.
Lint can be removed quite effectively by the lint-removal rollers that are inexpensive and available from many outlets.
2021-12-12 ... Black AAJs
The tailors have completed their work on some Black All-Around Jackets in size XLarge. The website now has live pricing for Black AAJs in sizes Large and XLarge.
Size Small is already completely reserved by SHIP ASAP orders.
The tailors are still working to complete sizes Medium, 2X and 3X. These sizes are almost completely spoken for. Anyone interested in one of these AAJs should get on the SHIP ASAP list very soon.
Double Hoods in all colors are gone or already reserved.
2021-12-11 ... Fabric to Japan
Japan has a well-earned reputation for production and appreciation of fine textiles. And so it's something special to fulfill an order from Japan for yardage of our MidWeight Drab Fabric!
Alex totes the Fabric while Troy, our UPS friend, laughs at me from under his mask.
2021-12-10 ... Lending Library Requests
The Lending Library has become quite active. And maybe as a result, people have been sending me notes like "If you get any Used Small Anoraks ...". So we are going to start keeping a list of wanted items. We'll see how that goes. If there is something you'd like, please send me an email.
2021-12-09 ... Anoraks Starting and All-Around Jackets Finishing
Today we will drop off MidWeight Drab Fabric to be made into Anoraks and pick up completed All-Around Jackets in size XLarge in Black, plus a few in Drab. More Black AAJs in other sizes will be completed next week.
2021-12-07 ... Timely WarriorWool Donation
Last night, a customer from Connecticut funded a donation of 10 (TEN!) WarriorWool Anoraks. That is by far the largest single WarriorWool donation we have ever received. THANK YOU, GENTLEMAN from Connecticut! That makes a total of 11 Anoraks we need to distribute. Military people mostly wear sizes Medium and Large and we are totally sold out of those now. However, we are about to begin making MidWeight Drab Anoraks, and that is the Anorak most-frequently chosen by Military personnel. It is worth noting that this donation was made late in the day on December 6th, almost exactly 80 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor began. For people of my generation, whose parents won World War II, "Remember Pearl Harbor" are some of the most stirring words ever.
2021-12-06 ... "Not Like You Used To"
Five years ago I was speaking with a customer and mentioned that I was 62. He said "WOW! Do you still hunt?". I answered him with a strong YES. But later, when I told Debby about the conversation, she answered his question "Not like you used to." And she was definitely right! I've always been a meat hunter, and with the boys out of the house for many years, we eat a lot less venison.
Today is Opening Day of Jersey's "Buck Season", and not long ago you couldn't have stopped me from going out. We had a record-cold December in 1989, and I remember being in the woods long before sunup in 0F/-18C. I also remember getting back to my vehicle one evening and realizing my jaw was too cold to speak in a normal manner. I read in the paper the next morning that the temp had dropped to -20F/-29C in Layton, where I'd been hunting. I didn't know it ever got that cold in Jersey. I remember pouring rain one Opening Day about 20 years ago. I've never liked handling a wet animal, but the pouring rain was perfect conditions for me to sneak in The Swamp, and indeed I crept up on a completely-unaware buck that day. I well-remember the still-hunting, but not at all the field-dressing and dragging in torrential rain.
This morning, it's warm, temp predicted to exceed 60F/16C with a light rain falling. And instead of thinking how I can sneak in the rain, I'm thinking how it's too warm for deer hunting (my strong preference is freezing or near-freezing temp), Alex can't join me because needs to get Zabz to school and I have WeatherWool work to do. Plus we still have a little venison from last year and nearly all the venison from this October's deer ... WOW! Do I still hunt? Not like I used to ...