The phoenix rising of eco outdoor wear company, Nau, appears to be on track for the release of their new collection next month. When we last spoke to Ian Yolles, marketing head for the firm about the relaunch, it was clear that it wouldn't be business as usual for Nau, even under the supportive wing of new parent corporation, Horny Toad. More detail of just what changes are afoot is slowly filtering out via their ongoing blog and email newsletter.
We already knew that the retail stores weren't coming back. Recently it was announced that the range will have about 40% of the originally planned Fall-Winter 2008 line. Down to 69 styles from 170. You can get a sneak peek of some of these on the Nau Flickr page. You can also see some other pix at ... ... a little pre-release they did with WorldChanging and Fashion Loves People.
(We're flummoxed as to why the Nau website itself doesn't direct its obviously loyal customers to any of these photo links. Maybe it's all part of some low key viral marketing campaign?) Update: since posting this, Nau have indeed added a Flickr link to their home page—apparently we were just a day too early.
The other major change is in the Partner For Change program where the original Nau donated 5% of all sales to environmentally and socially progressive organisations, as selected by customers. According to Ian "without it, Nau would no longer be Nau."
He goes on to say that when they spoke to Gordon Seabury, CEO of Horny Toad, they impressed upon him that the Nau Partner For Change program "reflected the way we wanted to do business and our belief that businesses have a broader responsibility then simply the singular pursuit of profit at the expense of everything else." To their delight Gordon agreed.
However due to the smaller scope and scale of their operations (Nau's own staffing has dropped to 12 from 60), the level of corporate philanthropy has downsized as well. It will now be 2%. But Nau still believe this is "twice that of even the most generous companies and roughly 28 times the average level of corporate giving." And the organisations that will be supported by the program has been adjusted from 36 down to six. These are Kiva.org, Breakthrough Institute, Mercy Corps, Ashoka and Ecotrust, with one more to be announced.
We wish Nau all the best on their relaunch and will no doubt have an update post when this innovative company releases their new range and website into the wild.
(Though we muse over whether all their customers quite understand what the company's goals are — observing at least one Nauist salivating over a vague half photo of jacket, for which no product information was provided. Cool, green apparel is only green if you really need it, not if it has to be crammed into an already full wardrobe.)