Dyed In The Wool
I’m Mac, and I’m a sixth generation member of the family that owns and runs Pendleton Woolen Mills™. Growing up, wool and clothing weren’t unusual dinner table conversations. Needless to say, I’ve been versed in wool-speak from a young age. There would be no Wool&Prince today without those lessons and mentorship.
The beginning of my love of wool (thanks for the costume, Mom), Age 3.
My first job out of college was at the consumer products giant, Unilever. This is where I became familiar with the standard corporate uniform, a cotton button-down shirt. Even with an undershirt, the button-downs required laundering after a couple wears which cost $10 a week, an expense that didn’t seem worth it.
Seeing merino wool and its odor resistant properties gain popularity in the outdoor community, I started experimenting with wearing a wool button-down shirt to the office. I had it tailored to my preferred fit and hoped the more casual pattern wouldn’t draw any flak. The shirt was rarely hung up at night—not something that I like to admit—and stayed fresh for weeks. If there was ever a “lightbulb moment,” that was it.
Scenes from my 100-Day Challenge.
Soon after the “lightbulb moment,” I nervously quit my job at Unilever and recorded the call telling my parents the news and that I planned on “changing the way people think about wool shirts.”
To prove the efficacy of wool, I decided to wear a wool shirt for 100 days straight. The wool shirt I wore was actually made by my family’s business, Pendleton Woolen Mills. The shirt went with me everywhere—snowboarding in New York, salsa dancing in Brooklyn, holidays in Oregon—and I took a selfie every day as proof of wear. With the help of two friends, we launched the “Better Button Down” on the crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter.
The 100 day concept went viral and Wool&Prince presold 3,000 shirts in ten days. Cool Materials, Gizmodo, Jay Leno, David Letterman, CNN.com, Fast Company, The Today Show, and Oprah Magazine were a few of the outlets that picked up the story. My dream of starting a business became a reality. (If you wear one of our shirts for 100 days straight, your next shirt is on us.)
What Should We Do Next?
Wool&Prince is the company it is today because of feedback from our customers. We’re constantly taking customer feedback into consideration to improve the experience. One of our channels for gathering customer feedback is the quarterly founder’s update. I give a personal update on where we’ve been and where we’re heading. It’s a chance for customers to provide suggestions to the team. Heck, we may even give you a budget to explore an idea.
Only What Matters
I continue to experiment with my wardrobe and inspire others to live with less. You can find my minimalist wardrobe challenge and mindful wardrobe challenge over at onlywhatmatters.com, an online community for aspiring minimalists.
Meet the team and get a feel for the Wool&Prince culture.