Big news, folks: We’ve teamed up with La Matera for a discount for Red Clay Soul readers: how does 15% off now through Sunday sound? Head over to their website, pick out a few belts, hats, sunglass straps, etc, and use code RCS15. Hurry…
The trigger has been pulled. I’d like to welcome this Patagonia Better Sweater vest to the rotation. I expect this to get major use as an extra layer in the morning when my office is an icebox, for walking our new dog Frank (check Instagram), and an additional layer when needed. And the color is called “Stonewash”? Yeah, that’s happening.
Special thanks to the fine folks at Empire South for helping me with the sizing. The Medium fits just right (I’m a 40R for reference).
A very, very long time ago – in March of 2012 – we at Red Clay Soul had the pleasure of posting about a company that has changed the course of not only the universe, but also this blog. Austin’s Criquet has grown exponentially over the past four years, and shows absolutely no sign of slowing down.
It all started with their Player’s Shirt – an updated take on the 70’s iconic pocketed golf shirt with a four button placket and stiff collar. Criquet fixed the fabric, opting for an organic cotton (NO poly), offered in a color pallet that meets the needs of today’s man. I remember talked to TJ about these shirts shortly after we became Criquet guys – I think he summed it up best: “You don’t want one of Criquet’s shirts, you want ALL of Criquet’s shirts.”
Since then, they’ve released all sorts of goods to the buffet: the long-sleeved Player’s Shirt, sweaters, and gingham sport shirts. They have recently introduced their V.I.P. Pullover, which is a quarter-zip sweater with the flap pocket, and J.R. Shirt, which is a solid flannel. All have a place in every man’s wardrobe, and all are very Austin, Texas.
From a personal perspective, Hobson and Billy are such a pleasure to work with. They have such a great perspective on Criquet and their business; it’s like they are truly “living the dream”. They are a great reason to head over to Austin for a long weekend… Invitational or not. I’m proud to call them friends.
Since it’s been a while, we thought we would take a few to catch up. Here we go:
Gentlemen, thanks for sitting down with us. First off, how’s Austin this time of year?
Billy: Fall is my favorite time of year in general, but here in Austin, its perfect. Lots of football, festivals, afternoon beers outside and a chance to start wearing some of my long sleeve Criquet shirts again.
Hobson: Agreed. It’s a great day to be alive.
Back when we first started talking, you two were a couple of kids selling Players shirts. What comes to mind when you think back to the 2011-12 time?
Billy: When we launched, it was all about the Players Shirt. We lived and breathed it. It was the beginning of our quest to make the perfect shirt. The quest continues, as we are continually learning, tweaking, and improving in everything that we do. We take the same approach with all of the product that we have developed.
Hobson: Billy’s back house is the first thing that comes to mind for me. Before the Criquet Clubhouse, there was Billy’s Back House, and it was actually more like a shed. I’m not sure it even had heat. We would personally pack and ship every shirt we sent out from there.
How would you describe Criquet today vs. back then?
Hobson: I think we’ve held true to the brand we set out to create. There’s nothing artificial about our brand’s voice or style. Do we think it’s cool? Is it funny? These are questions we still ask. Luckily, we’ve been able to build out a great team with people far smarter than Billy or myself. That’s been key.
Billy: Back then, we were building a brand around our favorite shirt. Now we have built a team around the brand. Its been awesome to have such talented, smart fun people to work with and help us get to where we want to be.
What lessons, either business or personal, have you learned?
Billy: Don’t go into business with your best friend! In all seriousness, I think its all been a lesson of patience. We’ve had a vision for what Criquet can be, but there are so many steps, hurdles, ups and downs along the way. Fortunately for us (and our team), we have made this journey pretty darn fun.
Hobson: One lesson I learned is to not be afraid to ask for help. One of the best things we did in our second year was join an accelerator program in Austin. All of a sudden we had a ton of experienced Austin entrepreneurs on our team. It really helped us get to the next level.
What is the best thing about owning your own company?
Hobson: The private jet and the company box for UT home games. Just kidding. We don’t even have nose bleed tickets let alone a box or jet. What’s most fun is creating a work environment where people feel ownership and pride in their roles and genuinely enjoy their time at work.
Billy: Its really cool that the company is an extension of ourselves as people. Hob and I are very much a part of Criquet story… in a way that only comes with being co-founders. It’s pretty cool to be recognized as one of the Criquet guys, whether its here in Austin or on the road… makes my day really. So if you see me in airport… Make my Day!
Where do you see the company in the future?
Hobson: I see us taking down the PGA tour with the Criquet-sponsored Invitational Golf Tournament. For those not invited before (you’ve been there RCS, so you know the deal), The Invitational is the greatest Golf Party on Earth. It’s a mustache-fueled, Caddyshack-honored and Ron Burgundy-infused event that goes down every year at the local muni in Austin. Winners of best mustache take home the top prize, which is a golf cart.
Billy: We have been very strategic and disciplined with our growth up until this point and I believe that this has served us well. Now that we have the team in place to take it to the next level, we have them all working tirelessly developing the product that we believe will take us to the promised land…. a Country Club appropriate line of acid washed Jorts. Its all in the details, really.
Details. Yes. Tip ‘o the hat, boys.
Happy Fall, folks. It’s wet, it’s rainy, and it’s getting colder (well, in Atlanta). All sorts of Fall stuff is hitting the Interwebs…lots of good stuff, and lots of swings and misses. Oh well…Fall comes every year. One company that never disappoints is Oak Street Bootmakers.
I can speak from experience and say that these are some of the best loafers I’ve ever owned. Camp mocs, too. They have released two new models in great colors for their Fall 2015 release. The Lakeshore boot is a new, more streamlined dress boot. Their plain toe blucher got double soled for Fall, for a more substantial look. Both of these models are available in black and cognac.
My pick? Well, I love anything cognac, and since I work in a business casual environment, I would have to go with the plain toe blucher. The double sole is great for this time of year. Cognac is such a good, and underplayed shoe color. I love the way it looks with jeans and with medium grey trousers.
Here are some shots of the collection:
Orvis really takes their marketing seriously. Not only are their videos a GREAT break from a monotonous work week, but great incentive to get out and stretch your legs in Mother Nature. Orvis is more than a clothing brand. They promote a lifestyle. They recently released their Digital Hunt Book; a unique online shopping experience. Not only does it feature some great products, but the photography and stories are top notch. And it’s interactive… it’s clickable. Have a look:
From a “catalog” perspective, this has to be one of the coolest things I’ve seen. We’re really happy to announce that we’re hosting an incredible giveaway with the great folks at Orvis for some of the items that are featured in the Digital Hunt Book. One lucky reader is getting a Shooting Sweater, a pair of Ultimate Field Pants, the iconic Shotshell Belt, and a mesh-back hat. What’s good about this stiff? Go out shooting, then go out with your buddies…it’s all transitional.
Leave a comment to this post with your hometown to enter. For additional entries:
Entries must be in by midnight on Sunday, November 8th. I’ll announce the winner on Monday, the 9th around lunchtime.
Special thanks to Orvis for providing the goods for the giveaway.
As mentioned a while back, we bought a house. We are making great progress; lots more to come…
I’m pretty pumped about this chest of drawers I found at Scott’s Antique Market. 1850’s from northern England…in excellent shape. And there’s a secret drawer. Very 007. It was definitely an investment piece, but I’ll use this forever:
Much more to come…we’re getting this place put together – slowly but surely. Mrs. RCS and I are having a great time; she is very talented. Back to the “to-do” list…