Join us for PubTalk on May 21 to hear Chris Van Dyke, founder and former CEO of the first eco-friendly clothing company, Portland-based Nau. You’ll hear the story of how Van Dyke, a marketing and merchandising expert with Nike and Patagonia (and, yes, the son of entertainer Dick Van Dyke), launched a new retail concept merging business with social and environmental change.
Van Dyke will share his struggle to find late-round funding in 2008’s treacherous capital markets, offer insights from Nau’s innovative model of store “webfronts” and how-to’s on creating distinctive branding, and reveal pitfalls in implementing Nau’s customer-directed corporate giving program.
An attorney by training, Van Dyke began his career as Assistant Attorney General for the state of Oregon and later became Marion County District Attorney. He joined Nike in 1984, serving as its East Coast Corporate Legal Counsel, later served as the company’s Asia Pacific Director of Marketing and Brand Development before joining Patagonia as VP of Marketing and Product Development. In 2005, Van Dyke and a talented team of former Nike and Patagonia professionals launched Nau. After temporarily shutting its doors in mid 2008, Nau was purchased by successful specialty retailer Horny Toad.
Early Stage company is Dan Olson, Sanja Thai, a Ready-to-Drink (RTD) beverage company in it’s second generation. The beverage line currently consists of four flavors and is aimed at bridging the shelving space between the growing premium coffee and tea markets. With its unique flavors, packaging, branding and promotions, Sanja Thai has identified an untapped and unique niche within a growth industry. The FDA processing requirements for their new flavors (as they are made with milk) require greater minimums, presenting new financial barriers to entry. This challenge, however, also opens the door to accelerated growth and a shorter time to profitability and/or aquisition. Dan is asking for a minimum of $125K.