2017 Recap From Sean
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