Long before it was a mainstream thing to do, Swobo of California made bike kit from Merino wool. Tim Parr founded the company in 1992, saw it go belly up and sold it to Santa Cruz in 2001. Parr left to travel and the brand slid from view. Now Parr is resurrecting Swobo. It will be available online from July 7th. Just don't try www.swobo.com...

Swobo returns

"Some asshole in China owns Swobo.com," writes Mike Geraci of Base Camp Communications, PR consultant for the resurrected Swobo.

Swobo continues with Merino wool products. Parr has formed a relationship with the creators of MAPP Merino, "which manages the entire supply chain in order to develop advanced Merino technologies," said Parr.

“By using MAPP, we’re able to guarantee source, process, and functionality of a very complex fabric. There’s really no other partner like them in the world right now.

“We’re creating more than commerce here, we’re looking again to stir the pot on several different fronts in order to make a difference. If we were just making ‘stuff’ then we wouldn’t have started. Anybody can source products and put them on a shelf. We think that there’s things going on in business and in our industry that are fundamentally wrong."

Geraci writes that "Parr built Swobo into a counter-cultural movement with a tribal following that extended well beyond jerseys and into a way of doing business that was more a way of life than just a way of moving merchandise. Swobo was exclusive to those who knew and open to all who found it."

Swobo went out of business in 2000 and was sold to Santa Cruz in 2001. After travelling, Parr founded a brand strategy and design firm, Parr Goldman & Byrne. This company has worked with L.L. Bean, Patagonia, Timbuk2, Von Zipper eyewear, and Kona.

It was formed after Parr had been contracted to re-brand Patagonia’s Water Girl surf togs line. This proved an overnight success and Parr later worked on the brand strategy for the whole company.

"Then one day, Tim bumps into Rob Roskopp (owner of Santa Cruz Bicycles). Rob and Tim spend 5 minutes on small talk, then the other 10 minutes on bringing Swobo back. Why? Because Swobo never really left," said Geraci.

"The brand, still strong within the true believers, needed to come back."

An open letter on the Swobo website says:

"5 years ago we sent a letter to the industry and friends explaining that we had to close our doors, and close our doors we did. As painful as that decision was, it was the right thing to do at the time.

"Since that time, we’ve been on barefoot walkabout, communing with small forest creatures, helping old ladies cross the street, planting indigenous seeds, talking story with the elders, making one plus one equal three (business tough guy talk), all the while having had nothing to do with Yoga. As far as we’re concerned… downward dog on your own time and dime.

"But time moves on, and things happen, and new happenings are now a good thing. To make a long story short….. we’re now back (insert fist pump here).

"Is it the same? Hell if we know…are you the same? Let’s just say that sand passes through an hourglass over here, just as it has over in your neck of the woods. But as much as things change, so much is worth keeping the same. We’ll just leave it at that."


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