As you can probably imagine, owning and running an independent business in today’s world is no easy task. Partially because of the realities of the economic climate, and to a certain degree because every day we’re answering the same old question… “how’s Reason doing?” Well, here’s the truth; times aren’t what they once were, and we are not immune to that, but we’re here, we’ve weathered the storm, and we’re not going anywhere.
Here’s a quote from our first interview ever in an issue of The Royal Magazine. This was five years ago. We were twenty years old at the time. “We are ten years younger than anyone else in this industry. We have a head start, and we’re here to stay. In ten years while everyone else is pushing 40, we’ll be 30 with ten years of experience under our belts, we’re in this for the long haul.”
Despite the less than stellar economy, and operating in an industry that many wrote off as over-saturated and tired, we’ve always seen an opportunity to make it through the of the world’s collective state of uncertainty stronger than ever, not by waiting for the next big thing, but by starting it.
About a year ago today Jon and myself got together for a production meeting to discuss the plans for Reason product offerings in 2010 and beyond. The biggest topic on the table was how we would persevere and build Reason despite the doomsday reports we saw on the news every night. In the coming weeks, we worked through and conceptualized hundreds of ideas and scenarios in what the next chapter of Reason would come to be. The only thing that we both held steadfast to was our initial promise to be the only brand that makes top quality, independent, New York City based clothing, with a touch of tongue in cheek humor. Aside from that, we decided to let go of all our pre-conceived notions about what has, should, or could have been, and focus on the future. So where to begin?
Some of the changes in our brand have already been taking place right before your eyes, like this new website, our fully overhauled visual identity, anchored by the re-vamp of our Trademark Tophat Logo, a new style of product shot photography to better showcase products, a new state of the art Online Store platform, deliberately aligning ourselves with brands more in tune with ‘the new reason’, and a ground up re-design of every single one of our products in our range.
Naturally that re-design began with the category that started it all off for us, the t-shirt. Those of you who’ve seen our trademark ‘Supersoft’ tees that we launched last spring can attest to the fact that they are not only the best tees we’ve ever made, but probably some of the best t-shirts you can find anywhere. Just ask the fifty people a week asking us if we’ll ever start selling blank shirts wholesale or see how many of our tees from last spring you can even find anymore. None left? That’s a 40/1, custom knit, organic ring-spun 100% cotton slim fit tee cut and finished to the exact specs we developed over 18 months of testing, not some cheesy blank shirt with a played out mascot printed on it, we’re off that. And that’s how it began, piece by piece, zipper by zipper, thread by thread, we overhauled everything, including traveling halfway around the globe, upgrading our factories, calling in favors, reading lots of books, asking for and listening to advice from our mentors, and of course, insisting that no matter what, from here on out, everything had to be flawless.
Over the next week, leading into the launch of Built To Last, I’ll continue with a step by step walk-through of our re-branding and new outlook, including (my favorite part), our Team Reason Interview Session with Jon, previews of new products, and a look back at the highlights of all our ups and downs of the last half decade of Reason.