Horny Toad Acquires Nau Assets

By Charlie Lunan


Lifestyle apparel maker Horny Toad has acquired the Nau outdoor brand, including its trademark, URL, and all intellectual property such as product designs. In addition, the company acquired the physical assets of Nau’s design offices for an undisclosed sum. In early May, Nau announced it was winding down operations because it could not raise more money after burning through $34 million in cash in its first year. The high-profile start-up used the funds to launch a sustainable clothing line and sell it directly to consumers through its own website and stores.


When Horny Toad CEO Gordon Seabury saw Nau’s 2009 apparel line and learned that the company’s store had been picked clean within 24 hours of the May 2 closing announcement, he felt compelled to act.


“Between product in the pipeline and consumer response, I really thought that there was something there,” Seabury says in an interview with Outdoor Business. “Our goal is to take the product philosophy and brand story [Nau] was built on and bring it to life in a more fiscally sustainable model. The only thing we are changing is the scale and the focus on a single retail channel versus wholesale.”


Key Nau executives-including Mark Galbraith, head of product design; Ian Yolles, head of marketing; and Hal Arneson, creative director-will continue in their positions.


“We’re still committed to being a catalyst for positive change and bringing distinctive product to our customers,” says Galbraith. “We plan to re-open with a new Fall/Holiday 2008 collection that continues to reflect the design philosophy Nau’s customers have come to know and love: a balance of beauty, performance and sustainability.”


Nau will re-emerge with a smaller core team focused on product and brand development, and the merchandise will continue to be sold through its website, nau.com. Nau will also begin partnering with other select, like-minded retailers rather than continue to offer product through its own retail outlets.


Seabury is already working with outdoor and snowsports specialty retailers to grant exclusive dealerships for Nau’s Fall 2008 line. In Portland, OR, Nau will be introduced at the Lizard Lounge, Horny Toad’s experimental retail concept, in Fall ’08.


According to Seabury, Horny Toad is committed to maintaining and evolving Nau’s Partners for Change program, and will continue to give a percentage of every sale to organizations working for positive change and, as always, will involve customers directly in that process.


“We’re so pleased to have a second chance to make the Nau concept work,” says Arneson. “It seemed like such a shame to lose a brand that had harnessed so much enthusiasm and passion and talent, and had resonated with so many in such a short amount of time. Now, we have a new lease on life. We’re confident that with the help of our new colleagues at Horny Toad-many of whom we’ve worked with in the past and known for years-we can achieve our potential and grow this business into an enduring, innovative enterprise.”

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Horny Toad Acquires Nau Assets

Lifestyle apparel maker Horny Toad has acquired the Nau outdoor brand, including its trademark, URL, and all intellectual property such as product designs. In addition, the company acquired the physical assets of Nau’s design offices for an undisclosed sum. In early May, Nau announced it was winding down operations because it could not raise more money after burning through $34 million in cash in its first year. The high-profile start-up used the funds to launch a sustainable clothing line and sell it directly to consumers through its own website and stores.

When Horny Toad CEO Gordon Seabury saw Nau’s 2009 apparel line and learned that the company’s store had been picked clean within 24 hours of the May 2 closing announcement, he felt compelled to act.


“Between product in the pipeline and consumer response, I really thought that there was something there,” Seabury says in an interview with SGB. “Our goal is to take the product philosophy and brand story [Nau] was built on and bring it to life in a more fiscally sustainable model. The only thing we are changing is the scale and the focus on a single retail channel versus wholesale.”


Key Nau executives-including Mark Galbraith, head of product design; Ian Yolles, head of marketing; and Hal Arneson, creative director-will continue in their positions.


“We’re still committed to being a catalyst for positive change and bringing distinctive product to our customers,” says Galbraith. “We plan to re-open with a new Fall/Holiday 2008 collection that continues to reflect the design philosophy Nau’s customers have come to know and love: a balance of beauty, performance and sustainability.”


Nau will re-emerge with a smaller core team focused on product and brand development, and the merchandise will continue to be sold through its website, nau.com. Nau will also begin partnering with other select, like-minded retailers rather than continue to offer product through its own retail outlets.


Seabury is already working with outdoor and snowsports specialty retailers to grant exclusive dealerships for Nau’s Fall 2008 line. In Portland, OR, Nau will be introduced at the Lizard Lounge, Horny Toad’s experimental retail concept, in Fall ’08.


According to Seabury, Horny Toad is committed to maintaining and evolving Nau’s Partners for Change program, and will continue to give a percentage of every sale to organizations working for positive change and, as always, will involve customers directly in that process.


“We’re so pleased to have a second chance to make the Nau concept work,” says Arneson. “It seemed like such a shame to lose a brand that had harnessed so much enthusiasm and passion and talent, and had resonated with so many in such a short amount of time. Now, we have a new lease on life. We’re confident that with the help of our new colleagues at Horny Toad-many of whom we’ve worked with in the past and known for years-we can achieve our potential and grow this business into an enduring, innovative enterprise.”

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Horny Toad Acquires Nau Assets

Horny Toad Activewear, Inc. has acquired the Nau brand.  Six weeks ago, on May 2, 2008, Nau, Inc. announced it was closing shop due to an inability to secure additional financing. That event triggered an overwhelming response from Nau’s customers who recognized the value associated with Nau’s product, brand and pioneering work in the arena of sustainability, according to Horny Toad.


Their response, and a deep belief in what Nau represents, inspired a small group of now former Nau employees to see if they could pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and take another shot at this thing.  Horny Toad stepped forward and purchased the bulk of the remaining assets. 


“We’re still committed to being a catalyst for positive change and bringing distinctive product to our customers,” said Mark Galbraith, who now works for the new company as Nau’s head of Product Design. “We plan to re-open with a new Fall/Holiday 2008 collection that continues to reflect the design philosophy Nau’s customers have come to know and love – a balance of Beauty, Performance and Sustainability.”


As in the past, Nau will source materials and produce garments in the most environmentally-sensitive manner available and continue to work with manufacturing partners to push the envelope in all areas of social and environmental responsibility.

“We’re thrilled to find a partner who both recognizes and values the unique nature of what we’ve created and is committed to supporting the growth of our business over the long term,” said Ian Yolles, who was hired by Horny Toad as Nau’s head of marketing.


According to Gordon Seabury, CEO of Horny Toad, “We saw in Nau an innovative brand representing the perfect blend of outdoor, urban fashion sensibility with an unwavering commitment to sustainability. It is all about their innovative product, authentic brand and most importantly the talented group behind those attributes.  Our long-term vision is to create a family of complimentary brands that can learn from one another while embodying a do-the-right-thing philosophy.”


Horny Toad has also pioneered an experimental retail concept in Portland, OR. The Lizard Lounge is one part retail venue and one part urban social hub that carries a variety of lifestyle apparel brands. 

Nau will re-emerge with a smaller core team focused on product and brand development. Its products will continue to be sold through its website, nau.com, but rather than continuing to sell through its own retail outlets, Nau will begin partnering with other select, like-minded retailers. In Portland, the plan will be to introduce Nau at the Lizard Lounge in Fall ’08.


Horny Toad is committed to maintaining and evolving Nau's Partners for Change program to continue giving a percentage of every sale to organizations working for positive change, and as always, involving customers directly in that giving process.


In the mean time the old Nau, Nau Inc. will continue to sell the remainder of its Spring/Summer line at reduced prices into the month of July at nau.com. During this period, Nau version 1.0 will not offer any returns or exchanges.


“We’re so pleased to have a second chance to make the Nau concept work,” said Hal Arneson, whom Horny Toad hired as Nau’s Creative Director. “It seemed like such a shame to lose a brand that had harnessed so much enthusiasm and passion and talent and had resonated with so many in such a short amount of time. Now, we have a new lease on life. We’re confident with the help of our new colleagues at Horny Toad, many of whom we’ve worked with in the past and known for years, we can achieve our potential and grow this business into an enduring, innovative enterprise. Stay tuned!”

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