Today marks the start of the official melin blog so please forgive the rambling length of this kick off post. There has been so much going on we felt the need to establish a few things before jumping right into it. We plan to cover a lot here; new product drops, ambassador updates, pose questions to the melin community, brainstorm ideas and overall have a place to get it all out....since this is a pretty stressful time. So let's give this a go shall we.
It was 4 weeks ago today that I was looking at our financials realizing it had taken us 6.5 years as a company to ever exceed our planned sales goals (not to say we haven't grown a lot, we just always seemed to plan to grow more than actually ever occurred)...except for now....it had happened, two months in a row. January and February both, and March was off to the races looking even stronger than the first two months. This had our team hyped! My partner Corey and I have been through so much resistance at this point in building the brand and the entire premium headwear category for that matter, that we had literally become conditioned to hearing how "crazy" and "on drugs" we must be to charge $59, $69, $79 or $100+ for a hat.
The price has never been a big consideration for what we do at melin. It's always been about making the best damn products we can, surrounding ourselves with the the best people we can, working with the best materials we can find and continually pushing ourselves to improve. We came here to be different. To build something better. To stand up for ourselves as athletes, as pioneers and to build headwear that would literally make us smile as we slipped it on to our heads.
We came here to eliminate the frustrations we had in our hats that drove us to build melin in the first place. To minimize sweat stains, to make hats that floated so we knew our products wouldn't end up at the bottom of our lakes rivers or oceans. We came here to make people look and feel better and to inspire one another along the way.
So here is a bit of what goes on behind the brand.
"Fashion is cyclical. Style is subjective and products that don't work, suck."
Every day more than 10,000 “new clothing, accessory and fashion brands” hit social media from another inspired creative, excited about a logo or brand they believe they have a shot at getting rich on by creating a “clothing company”.
melin is not one of those. melin is different. We are born from passion and decades of industry veterans investing their knowledge in to us and many tough lessons learned along the way. melin stems from a deep dedication to perpetual improvement. Manifested from a desire to elevate the headwear category, to have more fun throughout our entire lives and to inspire a continual aspiration in our selves and our customers, for better.
We believe that we are each capable of our own version of greatness and that happiness comes from making progress but all the while being present along the journey and valuing the moments, lessons and memories made along the way.
melin represents a refusal to accept mediocrity, the desire to provide and to give back to the communities that inspired and formed us as kids, that to this day remain hanging in the back of our closets, folded neatly away in that bottom drawer or as remnants of stickers in our garages and vehicles as little clues telling the world about the people we are, the ways we’d rather be spending our time and a bit of insight in to the fact that we are likely coming from or heading to our next adventure.
We build products that are unmatched in quality, comfort and turn out a smile when you put the brand on before stepping out in to the world, (or at the current moment, before stepping behind your computer screen for the next video chat).
melin does not fit in a box, we are a blend.
A blend of races and passions, a blend of cultures and views, whom all found common ground in a love for ball caps, fun and for pushing ourselves to do, give and achieve more. The recipe consists of a desire to change the world for the better, to create something innovative and exciting and to spend more time outside with our loved ones growing, experiencing and creating memories that we will look back on for a lifetime.
The foundation of melin is built upon a desire to be surrounded by the best people in the world, those that act with integrity, those who want more out of life, maintain a positive perspective and believe that they personally are capable of whatever they set their minds to. We are the go getters and the pace pushers.
This is a diverse brand rooted in a love for board sports, hip hop music and punk rock, a love for motorsports and underdogs. We have a chip on our shoulder, we are competitive yet compassionate and all share an innate love for giving back and a belief that we create headwear that announces the fire that burns deep inside each of us. The melin brand is a symbol of achievement, a symbol that tells the world you are someone who values a fresh approach, a refusal to accept average and a burning desire to be on the go; experiencing, accomplishing and pushing yourself and others to achieve more and to be out doing what you love most.
Our mission is to help those around us become the greatest version of themselves. We do not tolerate lazy. We are here to plant seeds of creativity, to inspire hunger, to tap in to potential and to celebrate wins and open minds.
We are here to celebrate the brands we grew up on that make us as individuals feel included and empowered to be ourselves. We want to exude passion for beings outdoors, being active, being creative, making healthy choices, pushing ourselves in sports, in business and in our existence here on planet earth to leave it better than we found it. The melin brand is built around the ethos of great people working towards bettering themselves and our products allowing for better adventures and a better planet. Lets go #HaveMoreFun
The COVID effect;
It was Friday March 6th and the day prior we spent some time with John Ashworth and Dino on the Linksoul team putting together the beginnings of a rad collaboration and that morning we had just wrapped up our monthly Friday morning sales call to kick off the month of March and to celebrate the brands momentum coming out of February. After our call, I met our Golf/Resort channel Manager David Lyons down at the Hotel Del Coronado to meet him and Carlos, the head of Merchandising at the Del to take measurements and photos to sort out the branded melin section in their lobby store as well as our own pop up for the summer to introduce all the people enjoying that beautiful Coronado coastline to the newest in melin HYDRO technology. My phone constantly buzzing with updates from reasons as to why we had experienced a few delays in our product development and sampling timelines. We had been paying close attention and seen some scary stuff on the news about how COVID-19 had hit in China so we started to put safety measures in to place immediately in our product development processes and said some prayers for our teams safety over seas.
Sunday, March 8th;
I meet up with some good North San Diego buddies every Sunday morning at 7:30am to grab coffee and share our projects, insights and to help hold one another accountable to our goals and plans. One of these buddies is Dan Given, MD at Scripps in their Geriatric division. He is a SUPER sharp guy and comes from a well established and respected family in the field of medicine. He shares with us that the stock market will likely crash Monday and to order as much of your prescription refills as possible since the majority of generic drugs are manufactured in China and we are going to have a pandemic on our hands leading to panic and likely shortage in critical drugs and supplies. Wish I would have taken him more seriously, but I guess thats what I get for being the eternal optimist.
Monday, March 9th;
I hit the office and share with the team we must be sure to Lysol and disinfect every material and sample and set new processes in place with our team to ensure our products never ever cause someone to be infected with COVID-19. Meanwhile sales are screaming along in spite of the rumors spinning about the effects of COVID-19 and likelihood of pandemic.
Tues, March 10th;
I work from my home office and the news blows up in the morning reporting about the story of COVID-19 hitting the USA. We call a company wide update to advise that this will have severe ramifications on the worlds health and that our team must mitigate risk to exposure and we work together to put a "work from home" transition plan in to place to get the team working remote by Friday.
Fast forward to the end of the week...
Friday, March 13th;
and I am looking forward to catching up with an old buddy, Josh Robbins over lunch. The discussion waivers between pre Covid normalcy and catch up, coupled with a new caveat we call "The Covid Caveat" . We would be mid sentence about current momentum or plans and then suddenly find ourselves stopping and interjecting "Pre Covid Caveat" as a way of saying..."this is how things were up until .....I guess about 25 minutes ago." The lunch wraps on our plans to launch a rad melin hat with a very prominent military Veteran outreach foundation (to be named later), with the intention of creating a nationwide movement to bring our country together pre Tokyo Olympics and in an election year in spite of what seems to be a very divided political time. I recall leaving that lunch wondering if that would be the last meal I'd eat out for a while, and in hindsight, it sure was. Thankful I got in one last bite at Decoy Dockside on Lake San Marcos before quarantine life. When this is behind us, I highly recommend this spot for food quality, decor and ambience, as well as the rad actual dockside sports bar restaurant they have downstairs on the water. Hope to see you there soon.
Jumping ahead to today, April 7th and the team is working from home. We have seen countless orders postponed and cancelled by our long time wholesale partners and hear more and more about how they are drawing down on their available financing to prepare for rough waters. We at melin are taking it on the chin like the rest of the industry. Shop Eat Surf, one of my favorite apparel industry morning reads is reporting daily on more and more of our friend's brands needing to take drastic furlough and layoff action. Corey and I have many conversations daily around creative ways to take on the unforeseen economic uncertainty and the inevitable huge chunk of missing sales from our company plans. As I work with our finance and management teams to re-project the revised "Post COVID" game plan, we know that we must immediately significantly reduce spending and re-prioritize the entirety of our teams efforts in to engaging with our community online and helping one another get through this.
While we have always had a great split between the brick and mortar wholesale side of our business and our own native website, our customers have really showed up for us in this crazy COVID-19 shake up of a time. Our customers haven't gone dark. You guys are supporting us in the darkest time in recent history and we have been able to maintain our business by the skin of our teeth because this audience, the melin family, you as customers and supporters have given us oxygen by voting us to make it through this with your purchases. It's this support and belief from you that has inspired me to lay it out for you on this blog daily from here out.
We will be here to share our thoughts, hear your ideas and to make sure that we are hearing you on the front line. We want to make the hats that make you smile. We want to create the brand that gives you faith. The brand that will always have your backs the way you have had ours. We want to align with organizations that are making a difference for our front line healthcare workers and I ask that if you have made it through this whole post and are here at the bottom with me, please tag or nominate an organization you would like to see us at melin get behind. We are here for you, because of you and are excited to work together closer with you to flatten the curve and make the best of an otherwise unprecedented horrible situation. Let's build! Thank you and looking forward to hearing from you #melinFamily