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Sean's 2017 Recap

2017 Recap From Sean
Hey All, 
As you know, without all of you we wouldn't be here today.  And although I know its not customary for brands to send out yearly recaps to customers, I wanted to share with you what, because of you, we accomplished this past year. 
As we came into 2017, I found myself really wanting to know who I was buying from-personally just as a consumer shopping. And I'm not talking about where the company sourced their products or who the manufacturer is, but who is the person at the top of this company and can I get behind them and their mission. Because I wanted to shop from a person.  Think of the TV show Home Improvement. Tim "the tool man" Taylor always would go to what was portrayed as a neighborhood hardware store run by a person he was friends with to buy all his equipment. That's how I personally wanted to shop and then determined that's the experience I want my customers to have. So in 2017, we implemented that and here's how we did.   
Not having any prior experience in apparel/retail can at times make running The Lomas Brand challenging but at other times, its kind of our "ace in the hole" so to speak.  Our approach is and has always been very unconventional to industry norms because frankly, I just didn't know what the norms were.  That being said in 2017 you may have noticed we pulled back our presence in retail stores.  That was entirely a choice I personally made. As humbly as this can be said, we were growing in our retail accounts at an incredibly fast pace during 2016.  So much so that one owner told us in her 14 years of owning her two stores, she'd never seen product move faster. We have all of you to thank for that btw. But about 2 weeks after she said that I was reading something from Yvon Chouinard that said not all growth is good growth. He said growth can turn to fat in an instant if you aren't ready for it. That struck a cord with me.  I didn't feel The Lomas Brand was mature or established enough to handle that growth sustainably and I didn't think I was as knowledgable yet in my position as I should be to take that kind of growth on.  So in 2017 I reduced our presence in retail stores to essentially just one, Fowler's Boutique in Cardiff. A "hit the brakes" so to speak. 
I doubled the amount of events we took our traveling pop-up booth to every weekend and personally worked every single one of them from start to finish.  That was(/is) essential because it introduced me and The Lomas Brand to each one of you in person.  We got to see customers reactions to our products, establish our young clothing brand within the community and also, for everyone of you, to get to know The Lomas Brand on a personal note. We got to know each other. In that we've created a community around a clothing brand that can't be bought, it has to be patiently made.  A guy wrote me an email a few weeks back telling me he saw another guy walking down the grocery store aisle with a Lomas shirt on and they high-fived and kept going their opposite ways. Total strangers... I mean that's amazing, haha!  What we're seeing in my opinion is the beginning of a brand truly for the community, built by the community, something we all have a piece of.  Which is what the dream has been since the beginning.  It has by no means been easy, but together, I really do feel like we're building something special.  
So to recap, 2016 was a good year for us as we became established in 10 retailers and were experiencing rapid growth that I didn't feel was sustainable.  In 2017, taking a very unconventional route reducing our presence to just 1 retailer and attempting to cultivate slow growth, we focused on our mission, our customer experience, growing organically together as a community, creating only high quality collections.  Somehow when trying to slow growth, we actually accelerated growth.  The Lomas Brand grew 36% over 2016. That's a testament to all of us and a testament to focusing on our customers, our brands principle pillars and, that sometimes, unconventional ideas yield the right ideas.  
Thank you for an incredible 2017 and here's to all of us making 2018 even better!
Sean & The Lomas Brand Team
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2 Years Later...

2 Years Later...
2 Years Later...
By: Sean Feeney
Man, time flies.  2 years ago this week I launched The Lomas Brand having decided to leave my career in sales entirely and go all in on a dream of creating a clothing brand, where essentially I just made clothes I thought were clean, simple, and that I would wear.  I had grown so frustrated with going to stores and thinking "I could do this better. If they just changed this or that the piece would work etc." I didn't however want to make this super fashion forward brand that only appealed to a select few. I also definitely didn't want to start a brand that just followed the latest fad of whatever some celebrity was doing on Instagram.  What I wanted to do was make a closet for myself essentially of pieces that were timeless, simple, and made with the highest quality material. Maybe people would like it; maybe they wouldn't.  But if it was going to be my closet and knowing how much I love making things, I had to learn every aspect of production.  So I personally made each logo for every shirt, learned to physically screen print the logo onto the shirts, learned textiles and specs, then photographed each shirt and every photo for the brand, and finally sold each shirt to all of you every weekend at markets.  That was my life for 2 years.  And when I write it out like that even now, for a guy with no experience or training, no outside capital or investors, and a previous life in corporate really does seems impossible.  Yet somehow this model over the last two years has brought The Lomas Brand into 10 retail partnerships, over 1,000 online customers and an official United States Patent and Trademark holder.  I don't mean to sound boastful remotely bc thats not what this is. My hope is that someone finds inspiration out of this to go after their dreams and to believe in themselves. Its all mental. It may sound crazy but its not impossible.  Don't get me wrong though, the road from Point A to Point B hasn't come without its sacrifices.  The reality of having to put all your personal goals on hold for the better of the business is real.  But that same road is so full of fulfillment money can't buy, an appreciation for every mom and pop small business and an incalculable appreciation for our North County community and all of San Diego for supporting and hoping The Lomas Brand success.  Its been so incredible. 
But when it really comes down to it, the true reason why The Lomas Brand is here today is because of all the dear friends, old and new, and family.  From grade school friends, to old neighbors, to friends of friends of friends.  I wish the news did more stories on people like all of you, seems like the world would be a happier place.  You all saw a guy who life had thrown a few curveballs at and was trying to get back on his feet by chasing a dream.  And for reasons unbeknownst to me, you all decided to make it a mission to help get me closer to that dream.  And for that I am forever indebted to each and every one of you.  Old friends, new friends and all who'll I'll meet down the road.   
And lastly, I chose this picture bc it was taken a few days before the launch on a shoot with good friends Rob Fleming and Stevie T.  You can see the "holy sh*t, am I really about to do this" fear in my eyes.  But the true story comes on the other side of the camera.  Rob and Steve, my brothers' life long best friends, had taken an entire day out of their lives in LA to shoot the line with me for free, just to help make sure I hit the ground running.  I feel like thats a microcosm of what the last 2 years have been.  My company wouldn't be anywhere without all of you.  Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia said, "as a company, if you're trying to implement a culture after inception, stop. Its already too late." Those words couldn't be truer.  I'm so proud The Lomas Brand was built on a culture of community, appreciation, humility, self-reliance and determination.  
Thank you all from the deepest of the deep.
The best is yet to come...


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Interview with The Lomas Brand Founder Sean Feeney

Interview with The Lomas Brand Founder Sean Feeney

SF: Professionally, my inspiration when creating a piece comes from the challenge of finding a balance between - less being more and nothing not being enough- if that makes sense haha. That inspiration stems from growing up idealizing guys like professional skateboarder Jamie Thomas and world renown surfer Rob Machado, who actually lives locally in Solana Beach/Cardiff and I've had the pleasure of meeting. Their influence in the mid to late 1990's era of skateboarding and surfing apparel style I guess you could say mesmerized me. In those days I thought brands like Zero, Toy Machine, Vans were so cool and I watched iconic brands like Volcom and Hurley rise from obscurity with similar styles. If you go back and look at this era you'll find it was a time of simple, stylish looks that symbolized a lifestyle that represented skateboarding, surfing, a love for just living out your passion, whatever it may be. The style wasn't so much about flash but rather it took a simple logo and put it on a contrasting solid color garment and what you got was this clean and balanced, eye catching final product. Growing up immersed in this era, I think that look just inherently comes out in my collections' designs. As I got older my idol became Yvon Chouinard and the clothing brand he founded, Patagonia. Yvon made Patagonia reflective of himself on a stage for everyone to see. His passions, his cares, his standards for clothing, even his own personal story. He didn't care what the "latest trend" was, he made clothes that were for him and his lifestyle.  He inspired me to do the same, which if you're a private person like I am, is a very difficult thing to have to do in a public arena. Patagonia inspired me to never use cheap material as well. They've taught me the importance of the material used and the lasting effect that reputation can have on your brand.

On a personal side, my inspiration comes from my dad. He's the hardest worker I know. He came from very little and left home when he was really young but determined his own future by relying on himself. I think I get my entrepreneurial spirit from him.  He founded and owned a small Irish pub and steakhouse when we were young that him and my mom ran. Him and my mom raised my two older siblings and I with the understanding that 1:) Everyone of us work in the restaurant industry through high school and college and 2:) they would provide for us a loving home and a great education, but everything else was up to us. There would be no handouts.  So when I started The Lomas Brand I looked to relying only on myself. I took my life savings I'd stored from years in corporate sales and self funded this venture. Everyday my inspiration when I wake up is knowing there is no safety net below to catch me if I fail, no one else's money on the line but my own to lose, and the success of this venture falls entirely on my shoulders. The best advice my dad has ever given me came from his days owning the restaurant: "Sean - A Miller Lite tastes the same anywhere you go, but its the way you treat people and the pride you take in your craft that makes them come back."


SF: The reputation for quality and comfort of the items in my brand's collection is one of the things I'm most proud of to date. The material an item is made with is as critical, if not more critical, then the aesthetics of that certain piece. If you think about it, as a consumer, you only get to see the way you look in an article of clothing at most lets say 10% of the time whether that is through a mirror or in a picture. But you feel that item's comfort and fit 100% of the time while you wear it. And part of style is looking effortless and confident and that is directly derived from feeling comfortable in what you are wearing. That is why the months prior to opening for business I spent tirelessly researching, sampling, washing/drying, sewing different fabrics and blends of fabrics to determine which ones would be used in the collections. Its no coincidence that the biggest brands in the business like Patagonia follow this same formula.


SF: Not a lot of people know this but The Lomas Brand is actually the second clothing brand I've started. The first one I started when I was 16 called Revival Clothing Company. It was just t-shirts and I sold them out of my backpack in high school. I had NO clue what I was doing but literally took out the yellow pages and found a beat up t-shirt printing place and somehow made a few t-shirts on a shoe string budget. My mom recently found one of the shirts in their attic and sent it to me. I now have it framed in my work studio to remind myself that I'm following a dream I set out to conquer almost 15 years ago. Continue reading

The Elijo Club - How it Came to Life

The Elijo Club - How it Came to Life
-The Elijo Club-
The English translation of Elijo is "to choose". The name stems from San Elijo State Beach in Encinitas, CA and the correct local pronunciation that we go by is
 "el-a-jo" (though we know this is not correct in Spanish).  The Elijo Club is a club designed by us, The Lomas Brand, that provides members with premium, exceptionally constructed blank t-shirts. We found this name to be glaringly appropriate given the pillar of The Lomas Brand is the belief that everything in life is a choice. Nothing is set in stone; no matter how difficult or how fortunate, a situation may appear. How those life situations are handled are dictated by the choices individuals make.
While hustling away establishing The Lomas Brand, we began to evaluate the apparel market. What we found was that everyone "wants" the latest, coolest looking trends, but not everyone "needed" the latest, coolest trends. But we found that every guy and girl "needed" the essential blank t-shirt for everyday wear. Surprisingly, what we found was this: the blank t-shirt market was plagued with problems. High costs, poor construction, rough, sometimes deplorable materials, and lack of a convenient way to purchase the shirts.
We got to work and began brainstorming a product and a service that addresses each of those issues.
As many of you know, The Lomas Brand prides itself on its reputation for the quality of all materials used in all products within the collection. So these blank t-shirts would be no different and they absolutely would have to be an extension of The Lomas Brand's reputation for quality materials.
We began working on testing, sampling, surveying focus groups. We went to great  lengths to find out why materials expanded and constricted the way they did. We wanted to know how they responded to high heat and what effect moisture would have on the fabric. What plants provided the softest materials. Why certain fabrics felt rough.  It took almost one year of searching to bring the best blank t-shirts to market and we did this with the sole intent of bringing the best product available to our consumers.
Once the shirt was established, we had to work on the price. 
Blank t-shirt prices are unrealistically expensive in the retail world. We asked ourselves, "how can we get this high quality product down to the most affordable price for our consumers?" We found that by selling the shirts in sets of three, we were able to offer a reasonable price to our clients.
The availability problem was easily remedied by using a membership platform that would ship automatically every three months. Three shirts, every three months. Done. 
Now came an internal concern. Often times we find our drawers and closets full of clothes we no longer wear. We wanted to create an effortless way for our members to do something good with those old shirts. Sean holds a strong belief in the saying, "Waste not, want not." So while sacrificing profit by providing an easy avenue for our members to donate to charity, The Lomas Brand and The Elijo Club will always put the consumer, customer experience and those less fortunate first, which in turn we believe will build trust within our community of supporters.

We hope you join our club and become a member of The Lomas Brand family!
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The Story of The Brand

This is how it all started.


My background isn’t in apparel or fashion, it’s actually in corporate sales. For eight years I did this and hated every waking second of it. Every year would go by and I would make more money, but year over year I found myself less fulfilled and less happy. I chose to ignore this inverse relationship because I’d trained myself to think money was everything. But in 2014, life threw me a curveball. My six-year relationship and engagement fell apart, someone very important to me was struggling with addiction and to top it all off, I was unexpectedly laid off from my job, all within 3 months. I remember sitting with one of my best friends on the eve of what would have been my wedding day talking about how I felt like maybe I should give up and move home to be closer to family. He looked at me and said, “Ok, you got dealt a shitty hand, but like my grandfather always said, this too will pass.” Those simple words stuck with me. Right then and there I had a choice to make: take the easy road and feel bad for myself or pull myself up by my bootstraps, bluff through the hard times, put up a fight and play another hand. I hate to lose, so I chose to play another hand—only this time it was going to be on my terms and everything was going to be different.
I’ve never really done well with authority. I don't like answering to people and I rules aren't really things I'm prone to following, so naturally I had to be my own boss. The next choice was even easier; I was going to do something I did when I was six-teen and since then dreamt of pursuing; start a clothing brand. But I was going to go about it differently than most. I wanted the freedom to take this brand where I saw it going. So instead of looking for investors, I funded the brand with all the money I had saved during my six years in corporate sales. To me, it was better than anything I could have ever bought. This time I was going to put my passion first. The other difference, I was going to do it all.
For the next eight months, I dove into learning everything I could about the industry. I educated myself on graphic design, clothing design, trends, what to look for in patterns and textiles, legal aspects of starting a business, license requirements, getting the licenses, I even learned how to build an online store. As luck would have it, a friend of mine happened to move his screen-printing business from Temecula to San Diego. Epic. Not only was I able to pick the styles and create the designs, but I also got to do the screen-printing. It didn’t stop there; I relentlessly practiced photography so that I could be the photographer behind all the photos of the brand. As time went on, The Lomas Brand started to take shape. It was alive. It carried a passion for community, the beach, ocean and surfing; a love for photography; and a simple, yet eye-catching fashion taste. It was about breaking norms, taking risks, being happy and free. Its about not listening to what you should do but rather listening to what you want to do. I’d work a fourteen-hour day and fall asleep excited about waking up to work the next day. I realized that finally at the age of 29, I found what I was supposed to be doing. Or more so, it found me.
The reason why I’m writing this is because I want you to know where this brand came from and what it represents. How appreciative I am of all who have helped and supported so far. When you order something, I want you to know that I hand selected the material, designed the final product, screen printed it, inspected it, packaged it and mailed it. All of that is a huge thank you from me to you for giving me the chance to live out my dream.
And if I could leave you with any advice it’s this: speaking from experience, when your chips are low, always play another hand. You never know what you’ll get. I’m glad I did.
Founder and Owner
The Lomas Brand
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The Name

Many of you are probably wondering how I came up with the name The Lomas Brand and whats the meaning behind it.  Well, to answer that, if you've driven the I-5 in North San Diego, you've probably come across the exit for the street Lomas Santa Fe.  If you've ever taken Lomas Santa Fe straight west to the water, you've probably noticed that it splits the coastal town of Solana Beach nearly in half and you also probably noticed it dead ends at beautiful Fletcher Cove.  
Whether it was spending many mornings and nights, sometimes lunch time (sorry old bosses) surfing here or having drinks and listening to live music with good friends during the summer's concert in the park series, or just to hangout, Fletcher Cove became a sanctuary for me and all of our friends.  So over a few beers at Fletcher Cove, just steps from the PCH and Lomas Santa Fe intersection, I said to my friend Stefan, "What if I called it, The Lomas Brand?"  It was never in question after that.  
So this morning, when after months of long hours, stress, and constant speed bumps,  The Lomas Brand launched from Fletcher Cove Park using a laptop, hotspot, and a few beers to celebrate.  
The Brand owed The Cove that much.  
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