A growing startup celebrates the new Pacific Northwest experience.
-Written by Corinne Whiting
THERE'S AN EMERGING apparel-meets-lifestyle media collective that speaks to all things Pacific Northwest. The website logo says it all-a friendly-looking lumberjack's head perched above two crossed axes and, below that, a heart anchored by a central pine tree.
The LumberUnion team, having conducted much research on the environmental and human impact of the apparel industry, intentionally aims for fashion with a cause. For every product the brand sells, American Forest plants a tree. The tally so far this year-more than 900 trees.
Founder Anthony Bergin launched the company in 2015, "to bring to life the Pacific Northwest in a brand that matched the outside lifestyle with the modern-ness of city life," explained Seattle-based marketing director Dare Egan. In this growing town of professionals and techies, Egan noted that worker bees also have thriving lives outside the office, whether that translates to hiking expeditions in the mountains or urban adventures within city limits. The brand intends to seamlessly mesh those two worlds-while giving back at the same time.
"We see a lot of NGOs and institutions around the world doing some great work. We understand how important it is for the southern hemisphere to be reforested," Bergin said. "But, over the last ten years with climate change happening so dramatically up here at home, we knew there was only one partnership for us. AmericanForests.org is the only entity reforesting America. It is the most expensive tree program on the planet, but there's a reason for that. Over 120 years, no one knows home like AmericanForest.org."
Lumber Union's lineup features fashion inspired by the spirit of the PNW (motto: "Different Tribes, Same Vibes"). So far, some of the hot sellers have included hoodies, headwear like beanies and flat-bill caps, Seattle-produced candles including those with a dreamy "campfire" aroma, and scarves that are warm yet lightweight, thanks to a "cash-wool" blend. Although the brand recently hosted a couple pop-ups at the downtown Thompson Hotel, a brick-and-mortar shop is set to open in early 2019.
Egan said the company is transitioning to reconfigure and elevate the brand-in 2019, customers will see a revamped website, color palette and plenty of new products. Lumber Union is also expanding into entertainment by producing more digital content and live events that celebrate the unique Pacific Northwest experience. Within the last year, developments have ranged from securing a new partnership with Amazon to bringing on industry powerhouses from the fashion world, including new CEO Barry Miguel, who previously ran 7 For All Mankind.
The company has big media goals, including seeking partnerships with streaming and broadcasters and promoting content through the company's social media, website and local publications. The company creates a variety of content, including music videos, an animated series called "Lost Lake" and a TV show called "7 AM on a Saturday" which follows two chefs as they shop and prepare a meal to bring along on an outdoor adventure.
All of the content focuses on the Pacific Northwest point of view. And with so many transplants relocating to Seattle, the brand seeks to help them understand that unique Point of View. "They're almost helping us tell our story even more" Egan said. "We can be an outlet for people to get a sense of this place before moving here."
Like most startups, everyone on Egan's team wears multiple hats. Sometimes this means shifting roles around until each employee finds the best skillset match-projects they feel excited to tackle every morning. "We know where we're headed," Egan said, "and we know we're going to make an awesome thing."