Nau executives Ian Yolles (top), vice president of marketing; Jil Zilligen, vice president of sustainability; Chris Van Dyke (bottom), CEO; and Mark Galbraith (right), vice president of product design.
Nau advertises on TreeHugger, and the stuff looks pretty good in the ads and in Warren's posts. We learned from the June issue of Fast Company that "Based on a shared conviction that, in addition to generating profit, companies have an equal responsibility to create positive social and environmental change, the Nau team set out to reinvent the way people shop, reshape the outdoor category, redesign the corporation--and inspire the wider business community to do the same."
Says CEO Chris Van Dyke, (son of Dick)""We believed every single operational element in our business was an opportunity to turn traditional business notions inside out, integrating environmental, social, and economic factors. Nau represents a new form of activism: business activism."
Their stores act more as showrooms than stores; customers get a discount if they use it as a fitting room and then have it delivered, because the stores can be smaller and carry less inventory. They give 5% of their gross to charity and the customer gets to chose where it goes.
Van Dyke says "We're launching this company into a culture of cynicism--and it's cynical for good reason. Business hasn't behaved itself. Our challenge is how to deal with that by designing from the ground up to try to do better in every area we can think of--and then making sure we're utterly transparent about how we're doing and where we fall short."
That doesn't mean Nau intends to pander for legitimacy. "One of our greatest goals is that a significant number of people really hate us," Van Dyke continues. "That's just perfect. You try to please everybody and you end up being nothing. The sign of a really powerful brand is one that is loved and embraced and equally hated. The deeper you pound your stake into the sand about your values, the more of both the love and the hate you're going to generate. That's what makes it exciting."
And we thought it was just about clothing. ::Fast Company