I like the sound of that name. What do you guys think?
So the big hullabaloo right now is BD/Gregory merging into one awe inspiring company of radness. Or so they say. My opinions on this are a bit skewed having worked for Gregory in the past. I really do love the company and think that they put out some of the best packs on the market. They're one of our industry's few "heritage" brands and I hope they don't lose that.
I was on Cloudveil's website earlier today and was caught off guard. CV was bought earlier this year and some major changes took place right away. Everyone was fired, they closed the Jackson Hole brand shop and moved the company to Connecticut. It's sad to see a brand like this seemingly go away for good.
The new owner keeps on claiming that nothing will change and that they'll keep on keeping on, but that's seeming less and less likely now. It's too bad really. I still have one jacket from them that I keep more for posterity than anything else.
There were a couple comments on the CV blog that caught a coworker and I off guard. First someone said the following:
"I wish Cloudveil could be more authentic like K2 or Marmot. Being owned by a NY company that specializes in making crock-pots and mason jars really impacts their ability to make technical apparel."
I really don't think this person knew that K2 owned Marmot.......or that K2 is owned by Jarden corp.....who owns Ball Jars.....and that Ball Jars have roughly a 90-95% market share of the Mason Jar market. Made me smile.
Another said this:
"What a bummer! Another sellout! I too will be forced back to the Patagucci line."
Never mind that Patagonia for a while went on a bit of a buying trend itself. A while back they bought the prominent PFD line Lotus Designs and promptly drove it into the ground and out of business.
Thought it'd be interesting to post up some info about who owns who in our industry. Feel free to add more in the comments if I miss something.
The North Face - Owned by Vanity Fair - For all the shit that TNF receives for being "The" outdoor company in our industry they continue to have an impressive athlete list and an even more impressive list of cool marketing campaigns. The trip to Turkey was just the latest in very cool media.
On top of that, they still do make some very high quality gear. You just have to wade through all the Denali fleece to find it!!
Mountain Hardwear/Montrail - Both companies are owned by Columbia - I'm biased obviously but I can honestly say that MHW hasn't been too effected by the merger. Separate design/sales/headquarters has allowed MHW to be fairly independent from Columbia.
Montrail on the other hand had a bit of a rough patch there. The ship seems to be righted though and they're on a better track. Seems they figured out that they make great trail running shoes and not so great climbing shoes. Although Nic might have something to say about the Method. Nic?? Anything???
Marmot - Owned by K2 who is owned by Jarden - Seems that the only hiccup came in the pack world when they absolutely destroyed Dana Designs. It was sad to see such a good brand go down so hard. Other than that things have been good for Marmot it seems. They make good shit and also have a nice roster of athletes to go along with the product.
Dana himself seems to be doing ok. Get an update on his absolutely badass packs over here.
Patagonia - They seem to be one of the few large outdoor companies that does their own thing. Curious to see how long that lasts and just how much backlash will come along with any sort of merger/sale. What seems most interesting to me is that they've played the "buy" card with a number of companies. Lotus Designs was just one of the companies that are no longer around.
As much as I might not be a fan of the Patagucci style, I do respect their commitment to environmental ideals and also their commitment to the community. It's impressive to say the least
Arc'teryx - Owned by Amer Sports - Arc'teryx is another brand that seems to go along with many people not knowing they're owned by the same group that owns the ball sport giant, Wilson. They're a great example of a company being bought and not losing any of their credibility. They still maintain very high standards and have phenomenal products.
Cloudveil - Owned by Windsong - Seems more and more that this brand is being driven straight into the ground.
Mammut - Owns Toko and a sleeping bag line - Mammut seems to be the other company on this list that isn't owned, but owns others. Just last year the century old boot line, Raichle was morphed into Mammut Footwear.
Nau - Owned by Horny Toad - Nau is funny to me. Very funny. They promptly went out of business after one year of operations. They had an unusually large following due to their humanitarian work and charitable donations that ended up putting them out of business.
Horny Toad scooped them up and Nau has been surprisingly quiet since then.
What I find most interesting about all of this is that pretty much all of these companies get their fabrics and materials from the same damn people. If you look hard enough at any line you're bound to find a nice jacket or tent or sleeping bag. Yet, having said that, all of them are known for different things. Whether it's the green efforts of Nau and Patagonia or the reDONKulous prices that go hand in hand with CV and Arc'teryx.
What I find incredibly encouraging though is the commitment to our very small industry that each and every one of these companies display in some form or another. No matter who the owner is or isn't, there is support behind each of the names. There's a very real story to go along with the name.
I encourage you to look around a bit the next time you need something. Stray a little from what you'd normally buy and who knows, you might find something cool and new. It's amazing what you'll see when you take away any previous thoughts you have about a company and shop "brand blind".
That is unless you're buying a crash pad.....then you need to buy Organic. For shizzle......is it still cool to say that???
6 months ago