Nau 2.0: Back on track

Charlie Burr

I wrote a few weeks ago about the demise of Nau, the Portland-based outdoors company that in addition to making some great jackets and gear, was a model of consumer-driven giving. So, great news last night from Treehugger:

Yep, it seems like a phoenix, Nau will rise from the ashes. Six weeks ago the eco outdoor apparel company, that some had dubbed ‘Patagonia-meets-Prada’, closed its doors due to a venture capital drought. But today the company has officially announced, to paraphrase Arnie, “We’ll be back.”

It won’t be quite as it was, and won’t make an immediate return, but Ian Yolles, head of marketing for Nau 1.0, was nevertheless excited to give us the good vibes on Nau 2.0, as he called it.

The Oregonian has more:

Nau fizzled under the pressure of tight financial and retail markets, but not before winning praise for its sustainable business practices and a philanthropic bent that handed 5 percent of its sales over to charity. With its purchase -- for an undisclosed amount -- Nau returns with plans for more green operations and giving, without costly stores.

Horny Toad will operate Nau as a wholly owned subsidiary with a Northwest Portland office near Horny Toad's sole store, Lizard Lounge, in the Pearl District. Nau's holiday collection will go on sale as early as October at Lizard Lounge and a new Nau Web site, along with a few other potential retailers.

"We've been a fan for a long time; we share some DNA," said Gordon Seabury, Horny Toad's chief executive, referring to the two companies' makeup of former Patagonia and Nike employees. "We had been rooting for them and were very sad when they closed."

About a dozen of Nau's staff of 60 employees remain, said its marketing director, Ian Yolles. That doesn't include past chief executive, Chris Van Dyke, who will not be part of the new effort.

A Nau-run blog received 91 comments after news of its closure was posted May 2. That, Yolles said, along with other customer e-mails and comments pushed him and other former Nau colleagues to find a way to keep the idea alive.

We wish Nau 2.0 much success and look forward to what's in store next.

  • TAL (unverified)

    Does it bother anyone that NAU left a lot of little businesses in the lurch with their bankruptcy? I know a couple of small businesses that were vendors for NAU and they have been stiffed. What about social responsibility as well as sustainability?

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