[NOTE: In August of 2017, we switched to a new website and I stopped blogging until March of 2018. --- Thanks --- Ralph]
25 July 2017
Debby has been hard at work getting the new WeatherWool website going to the point where we will be taking this version of the website down soon. We also had an interesting thing with the Women's Working Group ... About 10 days ago, I contacted Twyla Jean, of Nature Productions, about the helping us with a design for women. The next day, we were watching The Bear Whisperer, one of their TV shows, and we got a real boost seeing WeatherWool front and center on the program. And then a couple of days later, Twyla responded to our inquiry with a strong YES, and this picture of herself wearing our SkiJac while doing black bear research! Thanks to Twyla and Nature Productions for helping us “get known”.
Twyla Jean of Nature Productions in a Lynx Pattern SkiJac doing Black Bear Research with the State of Maine. Temperature was -17F/-27C.
3 July 2017
Today we added to the website our first International Advisor, Harald Krauss of Germany.
20 June 2017
We are building a Women's Working Group to update one of our earlier designs for women or perhaps even create an altogether new design.
10 June 2017
WeatherWool has been reasonable described as a Fabric Company that makes clothing. It is true that our Fabric is very much what we are about. If we had been unable to make a Fabric that met our design specs, we would not have taken the next step of manufacturing clothing. And so it was a kick to have a great company like American Trench use our Fabric to create a Peacoat of their own design! Thanks, American Trench!
American Trench made their Peacoat from our FullWeight Fabric. We love it!!
We also love the way they described our Fabric:
“WeatherWool is crazy soft with almost a cashmere feel but wears like armor.”
10 May 2017
Our Advisor Program is getting a lot of interest!
26 April - 1 May 2017
Heading the truck South to Atlanta for the NRA Annual Meeting. NRA is always a fun show for us. We met some great people and we had dinner with WeatherWool Advisor Zach.
24 April 2017
Up early for the Opening Day of Turkey Season at The Swamp. I only had a couple of hours to hunt because we have so much work to do to get ready for the NRA Show ... but I couldn't pass on the opener ... maybe I should have, because I didn't so much as hear a gobble or see a turkey. I did walk up on a sleeping/resting fox, tho, which was pretty cool.
I've walked up on sleeping foxes and coyotes and deer before, but this was the first time I saw the fox without disturbing it. The other times I didn't know the fox was there until it jumped up and ran. I got a few pictures, but none of them came out very well. Interesting too ... this was the first blonde fox I've seen. Eventually I think he got my wind, because something spooked him, and it did not seem to be any sound I made, or the sight of me. He might have heard my camera click. And weirdly, even though I got a pretty good look at him (or ‘her’), I could not see a tail. My buddy said maybe the fox had mange. But it was acting normally, and I never (I guess) would have walked up and seen him except that he was sleeping a few feet off the ground on a fallen log, so he was pretty conspicuous.
22 April 2017
Today we were in the Garment District of New York City to pick up our ShirtJacs!
21 April 2017
Getting ready for the NRA Show ... and today we also decided to develop a new Jacket ... the North Maine Double Jacket, a brainchild of WeatherWool Advisor Mike Dean.
18 April 2017
Updating the website to include WarriorWool™ ... this is a pretty big deal for us ...
17 April 2017
Discussing WarriorWool™ with the SEALs ... we are pretty well ready to go forward.
16 April 2017
Today we spent a couple of hours at The Swamp shooting (that's what the photographers call it!) pictures for the website and social media. We caught an unusually warm day, 85F/29C, which is very warm for this date in North Jersey. But the humidity was down, the bugs were basically zero (except ticks!!) and even the poison ivy had not yet awakened from winter. Our model for the session was my Friend Fisher Neal, who is (really!) an Ivy League-trained Broadway actor AND a truly hardcore hunter ... there cannot be very many people who fit that description ... Fisher is also a hunting guide and instructor who has guided some total newcomers to their first deer.
14 April 2017
Today we decided to proceed with a WeatherWool Advisor Program. We still need to work out the details, but we like the basic idea a lot!
6 April 2017
Today we were in NYC’s Garment District to approve (or not) what is called the TOP of our ShirtJac ... that is, the first ShirtJac off the production run, or Top Of Production, needs to be approved before the rest of the production run can go. We did approve. And here is a picture of JR, our production consultant, wearing the TOP ShirtJac that we all REALLY liked! JR made the first one in his own size ... ???
Here is one of the pictures I really like of WeatherWool "in the city" ...
This was taken outside JR's studios on 37th Street in the Garment District.
3 April 2017: Reworking Website
We just ‘upgraded’ our website software. Seems OK, but upgrades always make me nervous because it seems like something, somewhere, always breaks. We'll see ...
21 March 2017: Reworking Website
We just made a lot of changes to the website today. There are probably a bunch of small fixes that still need to be made!! Hopefully the look is less distracting and easier for cell phones.
15 March 2017
We have been describing WeatherWool as “Hardcore Luxury” for a year or so. Today we applied to the United States Patent and Trademark Office for registration of Hardcore Luxury as our trademark.
13 March 2017
We are exploring some non-traditional distribution channels. Most people prefer to handle clothing and see it in person prior to buying. And that is particularly true for higher-priced garments. So we are beginning to partner with some stores and outdoor pros who will be able to represent us.
1 March 2017
We have begun work on a new batch of ShirtJacs. Also, yesterday I spoke with a gent who has been testing our All-Around Jac. I could tell this guy is a very serious, hardcore outdoor type, and I knew he'd give our wool a serious, hardcore test. And he did! We will put a writeup of his report on the website soon (we spoke for 90 minutes). But basically he is familiar with and has tested all of the other wool brands out there. He named several other brands and gave detailed analysis of their strengths and (mostly) weaknesses. For various reasons, he said Filson's Double Mac was his favorite. But after about 30 days in the deep woods of Maine, living alone in an isolated cabin dealing with the worst of Maine's winter, he emerged with the opinion that his WeatherWool All-Around Jac is the best there is. He placed an order for our Double Hood and said he is selling his Filson. He also said although he had pounded and drowned (literally) his All-Around Jac, it still looked new.
14 February 2017
Last week I took my young Cousin to The Swamp for his first waterfowl hunt. We only had one chance, just after legal shooting hours started, and Al made the most of it, bringing down a banded Giant Canada Goose. I don't remember ever hearing of someone who brought down a banded bird on his first attempt at waterfowl.
5 February 2017
Just back from the SCI Show in Vegas. Good show! At present, there are only two shows that we plan on doing each year. It is really gratifying that people who have never heard of WeatherWool will walk by our booth, recognize we have something special to offer, and spend time getting to know our products. And quite a few of them spent significant money as well.
26 January 2017
Thought the deer would be moving this morning. Lots of fresh tracks, did not see a deer tho! BUT ... I was lucky to watch some otters in the pond at The Swamp. I saw the commotion in the water, and, from 50 yards away and concealed in the trees, I had a great view of them with my binos. There were three otters, all the same size. Siblings, I guess. Two of the otters swam to shore with fish in their mouths. As they ate, they were clearly (OK, maybe a bad interpretation) enjoying themselves. Certainly they did not eat the fish as quickly as they could have. After the meal, the otters scampered around on the shoreline, wrestling and tussling with each other ... tangled up together in an otter-ball. They made it look really fun to be an otter.
25 January 2017
This morning I joined my friend Fisher Neal for the first Snow Goose hunt for either of us. Fisher is a professional actor (even made it to Broadway) and a serious hunter. He even teaches people to hunt here in the New York City area. Yesterday he was hunting with a client (who took his first buck ever!) and in the afternoon they were doing some scouting when Fisher came upon a harvested cornfield where thousands of snow geese were feeding. So we decided to try for them today. Fisher made some white-plastic-bag decoys and we set out 10-dozen of them prior to first light. It wasn't long before waves and waves of snows starting passing over us and some flocks showed interest ... but none of them committed to our little setup. So we had the great thrill of seeing uncounted thousands of snow geese, and listening to their remarkably loud calls. It was very memorable! I would like to do this again ... maybe even try to talk Debby into going with us, just to see such a Wonder of Nature.
21 January 2017
We took a new set of pictures of the new Anorak and All-Around Jac for the website. Our website is not as slick as I would like, but I do it myself and I'd go crazy having to wait for an outside professional to get things done. And I wouldn't be happy either with the very basic, fill-in-the-blanks sort of website that most everybody uses now. We try to include a lot of pictures and a lot of information because many people have told me they've read most everything on the website, and they appreciate all the info. That's good news to us because we believe the more people know, the more WeatherWool will be appreciated.
19 January 2017 ... WeatherWool heading for Vegas, Booth 6364
Today we sent off our materials to the SCI Show in Vegas, beginning the 1st of February at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Debby and I won't be leaving until the 31st, but our freight needs to ship out well in advance. The SCI Show is one of only two shows that we plan to do in 2017.
17 January 2017
Today we got an order for a Hooded Jacket from Norway. We have customers in quite a few countries and we really appreciate that WeatherWool is getting attention globally. But also, we are particularly appreciative of international orders because generally these customers get whacked both by the currently relatively high value of the US Dollar and the often severe import duties, VATs and other taxes imposed by the governments of other countries
15 January 2017 ... Slot Buttons!
So almost all of the Anoraks have been completed and picked up BUT we are still waiting on our very special Slot Buttons. These buttons are great, and somewhere on this website I will be adding some material specifically about them. But the main thing is that these are the best buttons around ... and they are made by only one company in the USA. And they are not made often. We've been waiting on our buttons for a long time, and it turns out that the factory did not make as many as they were supposed to make. So ... some of our Anoraks cannot be completed because we don't have the buttons! It would be very easy to use standard industry buttons ... even American standard buttons used by the US Military. But these are nowhere near as secure as Slot Buttons ... so we will wait.
14 January 2017 ... What is this??
So we do a very thorough inspection of all our garments, and one of the things we found is a bit of extra fabric inside the cargo pockets of some of our new All-Around Jackets. This extra fabric does not have any negative impact at all, near as we can tell, because it is completely hidden and invisible inside the cargo pockets. But it is not supposed to be there and the tailors will be spending a little bit of time on the jackets that have it ...
13 January 2017 ... “I'll take another!”
The first customer to receive one of our new All-Around Jacs, a Law Enforcement Officer from Connecticut, called to tell me how very happy he was with the new AAJ. He'd only had enough time -- less than one day -- to take one hike and wear the AAJ around a little, but he'd already decided to order another one in a different color. WOW! ... Can't ask for a stronger endorsement than that! And actually, we have had people buy the same garment in different colors or different sizes more than once. We feel great when that happens!
Also, today we picked up the new Al's Anoraks and began shipping the ones already on order!
11 January 2017 ... Crank Up the Sugar Bush!
Today we tapped our Maple Trees and started making Maple Syrup. We do this every year and to me, once we tap our trees we are counting down the days of Winter and headed straight for Spring! I love Winter but my Mom taught me to absolutely love every single sign of the coming of Spring. And I do love the idea that, here in North Jersey, the Sugar Bush usually cranks up just a little bit after the First of the New Year. Most people think Winter is just getting started, but the Maples are getting ready for Spring!
9 January 2017
Pick up the new All-Around Jacs in New York City's Garment District. They look great!!!!! Woo-Hoo!!!
6 January 2017 ... Thread?!
Here is a little tale of the kinds of things that happen when trying to get a garment made. We used some new tailors to make our Anorak this time. Not that we have been unhappy with the tailors we’ve been using for a while ... we just felt it was prudent to have another avenue. So, as usual, we instructed the tailors to use only the material which we provided. And we said NO LINERS. We meet to review the first Anorak ... a demo, basically ... this was about 6 weeks ago. And we are extremely surprised to find the tailors added some kind of non-breathable synthetic liner inside the arms and the hood. Why would they do that? Because the sew for some of the biggest names in the industry, and those companies all use this kind of liner in the arms and hood ... so they figured we'd welcome the change! OK ... so we explain again about how we don't use liners because liners don't perform and that's why our Fabric is so soft and comfortable ... Next version of the Anorak looks great. These guys are great craftsmen and tailors and they had pointed out some ways we could strengthen the Anorak with different types of stitching and remove a little bit of bulk with different types of seams and stitching in certain areas. Terrific stuff! And so we incorporate these technical suggestions and approve the new Anorak. We visit again a week or so later to approve the first production piece ... POP, or Proof of Production, they call it. At that point we turn the garment inside out to look over the inside stitching and we notice that the merrowing has been done with thread other than the thread we have provided. Merrowing is the stitching that is used around the edge of a Fabric to prevent the material from unraveling. Merrowing is not structural stitching. They felt there was no reason to use our super-strong Mil-spec thread for merrowing ... and they have a point, but they did not realize one of the reasons we wanted the Mil-Spec thread is because it is specifically hydrophobic ... And it turned out that 19 Anoraks had been made with the other thread. Happily, the tailors did know that we won't ever use anything non-American. So, we have 19 Anoraks with thread that is a little different than what we had expected, but it doesn't seem that it will matter because this is also American hydrophobic thread.