When we started this company, the kind of garments we wanted to make was clear in our minds, but we had no idea how to make them. So we built a team of Partners, all of whom have real expertise in their fields.
But we have never worked with "branding" professionals. People who know how to build a name, get exposure, market products. For the last few years, we've had a great deal of difficulty making product, and we've sold basically everything we have been able to make, so there seemed little point in trying to grow sales.
Now, however, everyone we need is up and running. It looks like we'll be able to produce much more than previously. And so it is time to raise our profile and present ourselves in a manner that matches our Fabrics and garments.
The following paragraphs are taken from the Blog of 2022-11-02. I'll update/add as we work at our branding and presentation.
In the last few days, I got an earful from some people who know their stuff, and they landed on me pretty hard. But, they were telling me as friends, and their comments mostly served to (severely!) underscore what I already knew, and what Debby and others have also been telling me. But, the timing was exquisite, and these were professional opinions.
First, I heard from Jason Vincent, CEO at Field Ethos, where they publish a magazine and other content that I very much enjoy. I've known Mike Schoby, COO at Field Ethos, for 10 years. I've known Jason by phone and email for a couple of years. Jason wrote me "... your marketing may be the worst I've ever seen". But I wouldn't have heard from Jason at all except that he has tested (and really likes!) our Anorak and Schoby has been wearing our wool for years.
And two days ago, Advisor Trustin Timber, who has been wearing WeatherWool about as long as anyone outside the family, released on YouTube the 63-minute Gentleman's Guide to a Wilderness Wardrobe, saying more or less the same as Jason. Trustin wore his All-Around Jacket for the entire video, and he spoke about WeatherWool for a minute or two at the 38- and 48-minute marks. So his criticism of our marketing/sales was in stark contrast to his stance on our garments.
Trustin is both an outdoors guy and a (former) fashion and photography/video pro. So both Trustin and Jason are guys know of what they speak.
This little story is illustrative of my relationship with Trustin, and it's funny ... A couple of years ago, I was sort of proud of myself for adding some text into a photo that I posted on Instagram. I was still patting myself on the back when my daughter Denali phoned saying "Dad, you used THE FIRST FONT you found, didn't you? That font is NOT appropriate ...". Somewhat (only slightly) chastened, I thought about what Denali said, which was exactly correct. The phone rings again, and it's Trustin saying "Ralph, you used THE FIRST FONT you found, didn't you?"
There is also a funny story about how I got to know Mike Schoby. When we were still developing our Fabric, I was amazingly naive (that hasn't changed) about what I was getting into, and how long it would take to do what I wanted to do. So after about 18 months of working on our Fabric, I booked space at a big show that was almost a year away. Surely, by then, I'd have lots of stuff!! No. I went to the show and had only prototype pants and jacket, and I was not at all yet satisfied with the fabric. But Schoby stopped by the booth and we talked for quite a while and he said he was very interested in what we are trying to do, and that he'd follow us and he'd like to stay in touch. He did, and we have. And writing this reminds me I owe Mike a call!
Since we started the company, it's been clear to me that I know where I want to go, but I don't know how to get there. And so, WeatherWool is truly the creation of our great many Partners (experts) who knew one of the many different stages in the processes of raising wool sheep and turning their fiber into finished garments. But marketing and sales have been all me and the family, and some volunteer help from many others. And the many shortcomings are all mine. Given that we have sold practically everything we've ever made, I haven't really sought professionals who could help us grow. For a long time, we've been limited by our inability to make more than a relative handful of garments. But, that looks to be changing. The last four years have seen not only the virus, but we've lost two companies upon which we relied heavily. All this prevented us from making much product. Now, we should be able to make a whole lot more, and it's time to begin working with people who know how to raise our profile and better present our products.
4 November 2022 --- Ralph