The year was 2014 and the month August, Nick was just beginning to dip his toe into the proverbial “hat life”. Fresh out of college, new to the northwest, and flat broke- he was making his way working for a friend who had started a hat company of his own, bartering his design skills for a place to live. As the need for more custom prints within the company grew, he started to realize that the quality and craftsmanship exhibited by their overseas manufacturer was, to say the least, turd-esque.
After expressing to the owner of the company that they should figure out how to better source their blanks or even potentially make their own, he was told that doing so would take far too long- they weren’t interested.
So he moved on the second he got the chance.
All the way to Utah, in fact, where he worked for various brands in the outdoor industry, hoping to high hell that the standards out there would be different. To his dismay, he was confronted with the same issues over and over again... Quality control blew chunks, communication was unnecessarily complicated, and you could straight up forget the use of any sort of material where environmental responsibility was considered.
He was fed up, and after a couple years of gaining more experience in the apparel industry, taking on a few multi-pitch trad routes, attending numerous music festivals, enlisting the desert as his second home and chipping a tooth while irresponsibly riding a dirtbike- Grandeur was born.
The goal would be to seamlessly weave together three pillars in which the company would stand by no matter what- function, material, and purpose. However, after searching high and low for a hat that was created with environmentally conscious materials and that would both look good and withstand the wear and tear of an adventurous lifestyle, he hit a wall. But he refused to believe it was a pipe dream, so he sat on it.
And took a vacation to Florida.
The year was 2017 and the month, October. Alexa, a musician/craftswoman of sorts found herself highly intoxicated with a friend who, in her drunken stupor, talked her into creating an account on an, erm, “dating” app called Tinder.
It was there that she and Nick started talking, and they decided to get to know each other in person while he was in town. Neither parties were expecting much- they were, after all, grabbing coffee in the early afternoon and lived on opposite sides of the country. But after discovering many a common interest on top of an already established mutual attraction the early coffee date turned into a late lunch date, which, turned into drinks back at Alexa’s place…
The next thing they knew it was 5 in the morning and Nick had to hop a flight back home.
Neither of them expected to see one another again, except an offer had been put on the table earlier that day that Alexa couldn’t quite shake-
According to Nick, she was welcome anytime to fly out to Utah to explore the state, and, see him of course. They kept up with each other over the phone, and within the month Alexa found herself with one round-trip ticket to Salt Lake City and a stomach full of nerves.
Now, Alexa was no stranger to adventure. Her rebellious spirit had led her far and wide as she indulged herself in the things she loved, making her living along the way in a more nomadic fashion by working multiple jobs to fund the pursuit of her passions- art, music, cultivating environmental and social awareness, and having damn good conversation wherever the wind blew her.
Now it seemed the wind was blowing her to Utah, right before winter was about to dump its glorious snowy load all over the mountains and though she had no idea what she was really getting herself into, she had a feeling it’d be a trip for the books- and boy was she was right.
Over that week, a poor parking job nearly flipped Nick’s SUV, an unanticipated freezing nights sleep in the desert was interrupted by a giant herd of buffalo, identities were faked in efforts to gain access to a fancy restaurant in which karma struck back by way of food poisoning, Alexa taught Nick how to make his first beanie (turns out she had experience in the clothing industry as well), and by the time she had to head back home- the two decided to keep up whatever they had started with each other long-distance.
The year that followed would be full of travel on Alexa’s part, visiting every four to six weeks for two weeks at a time to see each other as much as they could afford. As trust grew between them they furthered their relationship by choosing to do business together- making Grandeur a collaborative effort.
Nick would handle the marketing, design, and other business shenanigans he had experience with while Alexa would make her approach from the other end- curating content for the website and aiding in the search for a hat manufacturer who would create environmentally responsible products.
Turns out… When Nick was expanding his interest in hats back in 2014, she was busy running her own business, dubbed “The Conscious Bum”. She was creating small-batch cloth diapers and clothing made of sustainable materials for eco-conscious parents and their little groms from a studio she had made in her home. The endeavor was short-lived though, no matter how cute the babies were she just couldn’t see herself designing poop-catchers for the rest of her life.
It was no surprise she resonated well with the message Nick was looking to send through Grandeur and wanted in.
Together, it seemed like they could handle it all- but after they both spent months searching for a reliable source for hats and kept coming up empty, they weren’t sure what they could do besides sacrifice some of their standards when it came to the manufacturing process. Until one day, for shits and giggles, Alexa decided to sit down on her sewing machine and try her hand at making a trucker.
Shockingly enough, it didn’t suck. Maybe she could make professional looking beanies too?
The answer to that question was thankfully, yes. And fast forward to the present day, past a year chock full of travel, ups and downs, adventure, many conversations over the phone and Nick’s eventual move to Florida, and you’ll find them outfitting a tiny studio (and by studio we mean living room) with industrial sewing and knitting machines- expanding their education on sustainable fashion and perfecting the first-batch of beanies made in-house by Alexa herself.
Along with cultivating and creating badass headwear, we’re going to be releasing more content that focuses on the things we care about so deeply- running an ethical business, refining the way we make purchasing decisions, the ins and outs of sustainable fashion, the creation of our garments and how our machines work, and our personal experiences we collect while traveling and navigating life in general (insert motorcycles here). If you come away having learned something interesting and useful or even just having a hearty chuckle at our expense, it’s a win for us.
So here’s to making a new kind of hat, learning cool shit, and working our asses off to create a better future...through all of our sometimes strange, sometimes difficult, but always amazing adventures.