Chicago…that toddlin’ town.

Having lived in the Windy City from ’88-92, we were excited to return to Chicago for a couple of days, lucky to be meeting with two great families/companies in the footwear world, Horween Leather and Hanig’s Shoes.  Both are renowned, family-run companies who have continually provided premier product and service to their customers for generations… and who have also been generous enough to offer guidance, support and interest in the success of Moccatomic.

almost like coming home…driving in from O’Hare and the Chicago skyline.

At Hanigs (www.hanigs.com), we reviewed both Men’s and Women’s F’12 selling with Peter and son, Daniel  – and discussed strategies and product evolution for Fall’13.

a Chicago landmark, Hanigs at 2754 N. Clark Street, one of five locations.

The best seller this season for the women of Chicago,

The W’s ChukkaMocc in Powder Suede / Coffee.

At Horween, Skip and I worked on leather selection for the two styles that will be made in Maine.  I also showed him a coordinating belt that was in the works, with an aluminum buckle milled in Massachusetts.

On N. Elston, arriving at Horween…

Welcome to Horween.  Indeed famous around the world…

On Skip’s desk – ChukkaMocc (in Calico and Utica), RingMocc (in Utica)

belt in tumbled chrome-xl, aluminum buckle. made in USA.

No NESCAC rivarly here … Skip (Bowdoin) helping to build Moccatomics in Maine.

Urban industry… tanning leather in the city.

And if ever in Chicago, here are a few tips to enjoy this great city -

the architecture …

driving south on Lake Shore Drive

the hospitality…

stay at the Blackstone Hotel (www.blackstonerenaissance.com/)

Looking out from the Blackstone towards Lake Michigan…

the food…

eat at The Girl and the Goat (www.girlandthegoat.com/) and sneak a picture… get there early.

the sports…

play some platform tennis… Chicago is a great paddle town!

and since Chicago is a great toddlin’ town…

remember to rocc-your-Moccs!

 

 

 

Social Share Toolbar

the greatest show on earth…

Sorry Ringling Brothers (Barnum, Bailey, et. al), the greatest show on earth is Outdoor Retailer.

The main entrance of the convention center in SLC.

This trade show is held twice each year in Salt Lake City and brings together suppliers and buyers from the far corners of the outdoor industry – and the world.  I returned last week from two quick days at the Winter’13 show. My primary objective was to meet prospective sales reps and to build a sales force for the fall delivery (clock is ticking…).

The show provides a broad view of the outdoor industry – everything from climbing ropes and ice axes, to beef jerky, to the puffy coats that were everywhere.  In turn, these ‘tree huggers and granola eaters’ influence style and design in many other areas – so I find it helpful to try and get a sense of new trends here.  Networking is a critical tool in my stage of the business, and this show is a great place to connect and reconnect with people I’ve worked with in the past, and hope to work with in the future.  ‘All work and no play makes Jong a dull boy,’ so of course I found time to enjoy old friends, new finds, and good food (though – ugh – no skiing this year)…

A view of the action from the balcony.

I haven’t been to 40 shows, but I’ve walked many… and yes, Moccatomic is a great tradeshow shoe!

The must-have item for the season… puffy coat (preferably with a hood)!

The action around the TNF booth…

When bisons fly… at the Mountain Khaki booth.

The ‘circus’ at a Keen promotion.

Climbing shoes and the wall on which to try them…

Simplicity and understatement at Patagonia…

Wooden lasts on display at the TBL booth.

Nice booth at Vibram where I met to discuss future outsole programs.

Old (some are still young) Friends.  After nearly 20 years in this industry, I’ve worked with many, many great people.  Those who are still in the business are likely attend the show — so this becomes a big reunion for everyone.  Here are a few who didn’t mind having their picture taken.

Jay S. and Bob B. Two veterans from TBL, whom I first worked with in the early 90′s.

Terry K. of 1% For The Planet, me, and Stephen K. of Sympatex

With Christina D. I was sourcing, she was design in the early days of TBL apparel.

Oskar the Bear and friend

New Finds.  I’m always on the hunt for new things — and there’s no shortage here of people with new ideas.

Stress-free campfires this summer in Acadia with Teepee Fire!

Tony Post and Topo Athletic.  Go tabi shoe!

Beanie with beard. BeardBeanie!

Waterproof cases by LifeProof (yes, both iPhone and iPad were running videos underwater!)

Good food.  If you’re going to eat, you might as well eat well…

Maple ice cream with bacon… courtesy Darn Tough socks

Krave Jerky: turkey, pork, beef varieties

Hamachi Kama (yellowtail collar) off campus at Naked Fish across from the convention center…  http://www.yelp.com/biz/naked-fish-japanese-bistro-salt-lake-city

And it’s always nice to come home

Flying home over Boston harbor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

with a souvenir for the family…

Hanna wear-testing the BeardBeanie.

 

Social Share Toolbar

starfish

I was fortunate to have spent the formative years of my career working (and playing!) in the outdoor industry. During this time, I had the opportunity, to work both for and with many incredibly bright, talented, passionate, and inspiring people.

In contrast, I never met — nor even caught a glimpse of — Mr. Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, though he, his company, and his products, were often the subject of analysis, competitive review, gossip, admiration, and envy.  Neither a surfer nor a rock climber (‘no duh’ – as any of my daughters would say), I first read his book, Let My People Go Surfing (LMPGS), soon after leaving Timberland in 2008 (having some new-found spare time without the daily 120-mile commute each day up to Stratham, NH).

my well-traveled copy of ‘Let My People Go Surfing’

During that first read, long before hand-lasted moccasins on anatomic cork bottoms were even a glimmer on my horizon, I didn’t have a clear idea of what I was going to do beyond my then, full-time role as chef, chauffeur, and chaperone to three teenage daughters. So I enjoyed the book as an interesting and insightful peek into a long-admired man and his company.

Of more immediate interest was the last chapter in the book about the 1% for the Planet Alliance, which Mr. Chouinard had established to increase the effectiveness of environmental activism, and which Terry Kellogg, a friend and respected colleague at Timberland, had recently gone to lead.

Fast forward to last week.  Now a little over a year since launching Moccatomic, I brought LMPGS to re-read during our family’s Thanksgiving getaway. What was once an enjoyable, interesting read about how one man once envisioned and hand-hammered a better piton, and now enables and inspires environmental activism around the world— all while building a widely respected company that makes highly coveted products (just look into my daughters’ closets) — has become like drinking business-building wisdom from a fire hose.

The mission statement at Patagonia states,

Make the best product possible, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.

Inspiring?… indeed.  Humbling?… yes, that, too.  With 260 pages covering philosophies on everything from image to distribution — what’s a start-up to do? where does one begin?   As a product guy my entire career, I know my interest and passion will compel me to make the best footwear possible. But as for the other dimensions of becoming the company that I need and dream to be?… yikes.

my Sarah and her starfish.

Then…

This picture was taken last week, and it immediately reminded me of my favorite story from the wonderful and dedicated folks at City Year, with whom I had the pleasure to serve on many occasions while at Timberland.  The Starfish story goes…

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had washed up during a terrible storm. One-by-one, she picked up each starfish and threw it back into the ocean, while people watched her with amusement.  She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said,

Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!

The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied,

Well, I made a difference to that one!

The man looked at the girl inquisitively, and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. (Adapted from “The Star Thrower” by Loren C. Eiseley.)

page 250, LMPGS.

So, can I make a difference? I can, and here goes my first starfish.

I’m pleased to announce that Moccatomic is member #2979 of the 1% for the Planet Alliance  (click to see their video).

I am humbled and inspired as I join the family of other fine organizations in doing what I can to make positive change and donating 1% of sales each year towards active efforts to help the environment.

Time to pull up the bootstraps… and get going!

 

 

 

Social Share Toolbar