Meadow Lacy is an Oregon native who grew up spending his free time in the outdoors. His work at Sunday Afternoons allows him to share his passion for the outdoors with customers globally while providing them with useful products for their outdoor adventures.
THE LACY STORY —
My name is Meadow Lacy, and I am the EVP of Sales at Sunday Afternoons. As one of the sons of Sunday Afternoons’ founders, I have been unofficially working in the headwear industry since childhood. Growing up in and around the craft of hat-making—from fabric sourcing through product sell-through—I have intimate knowledge of everything there is to know about making and selling hats. After graduating in 2006 from the University of Oregon and taking some time to travel around the world, I officially came to work at Sunday Afternoons. My personality and interest naturally drew me towards Sales and Marketing. As the company continued to grow, I also continued to grow within those respective areas of focus. After over ten years at Sunday Afternoons, I now lead our Sales team. I am passionate about the Sunday Afternoons brand, the products we make, and our mission of Enhancing Everyday Adventure. Thanks to our amazing customers and industry partners, we had an amazing 2018 and are looking forward to continuing to grow the Sunday Afternoons brand.
You wake up in the morning — what’s the driving passion?
Our driving passion is to enhance everyday adventure. No matter who you are or what your interests are, if you love spending time outside, we want to make your day better with one of our hats.
What was the genesis for Sunday Afternoons?
Sunday Afternoons is a second-generation family company that started nearly by accident. Our founders, Robbin and Angeline Lacy, were avid windsurfers back in the early 90s. While taking turns out on the water they needed a place for their kids — myself being one of them — to sit on the shore. Angeline decided to make her own outdoor picnic blanket with a waterproof back, cushy filling, and a water-resistant top. Friends and family took notice and wanted their own blankets—and the business was born. In order to make use of blanket scraps, Angeline eventually designed a sun hat to sell alongside the picnic blankets. It was a huge successful for their small business, and they decided to shift their focus to hats. Over 25 years later, hats are still the focus of Sunday Afternoons. We now have over 140 unique styles in our line.
What distinguishes Sunday Afternoons from others in the category?
Quality, innovation, performance, and protection from the elements, specifically within headwear. Every hat we bring into our line has a purpose, whether it’s to shade you from the sun, protect you from the cold, or keep you dry. We continually innovate within the headwear category and hold numerous patents designed to enhance everyday adventures.
What’s the approximate gender split among your customers?
60% female and 40% male.
Having been in business for a bit of time — what’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?
Always do the right thing and never take short cuts to reach a goal. Invest in your brand and the people who make it happen.
How do you measure customer feedback?
Through product reviews, calls and emails to our customer service department, interactions within our social media channels, feedback from our industry partners and conversations with our independent and national retailers throughout the world.
Many companies use celebrities or sports figures to highlight their products. What’s the stance Sunday Afternoons takes on this subject?
While we certainly believe in the power of celebrity and sports figures to positively impact products and brands, it is not an avenue we’ve invested in at this point. We’ve been successful focusing our energy on making the best hats possible and creating lasting partnerships with independent, national, and international retailers. In our experience, when new consumers use one of our hats, they enjoy our products so much that they recommend us to friends and family.
Do you see any discernible differences in buying patterns between Baby Boomers and Millennials?
Absolutely. In our experience, Baby Boomers tend to be more practical and less fashion-driven. They are more likely to purchase products in advance of a trip or event to enhance their experience. By contrast, Millennials are much more fashion-driven. If they do not like the aesthetic of the product, it doesn’t matter what the performance features are. If the product passes the aesthetic test, it also needs to be multi-use so they can use the same hat for golfing and hiking.
Headwear has become increasingly popular for a range of sports but none more so than golf. How is Sunday Afternoons positioning itself in this area?
Sunday Afternoons is a brand for outdoor lovers. What that means is that we make products for people who love spending time outside, regardless of their interest. Whether it is walking the dog, hiking a trail, traveling to exotic destinations, or playing a round of golf—we have a variety of hats to serve any activity. Specific to golfing, Sunday Afternoons offers a broad range of performance-oriented and casual hats to enhance golfers’ experiences: caps, wide brim hats, straw hats, and visors. We give golfers excellent UPF 50+ sun protection, cooling technologies for hot days, patented features like our Sunglass Lock™ and StretchBack Sizing™, and designs which cut the glare—all in aesthetically pleasing styles suitable for any course. Our goal is to let our products speak for themselves.
The biggest challenges — short and long term for Sunday Afternoons — is what?
We have grown considerably over the last few years, and as a result are needing to put better systems and processes in place to support the business. This is exciting, of course, but also quite challenging at times. One long-term challenge is the ongoing consolidation of the market. For 25 years we have built partnerships with all types and sizes of businesses. The current environment finds independent retailers struggling to stay relevant, which certainly has an impact on us.
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