Thursday, October 19, 2017

Featured Exhibitor: Namakan Fur


Winter is coming... but Namakan Fur has got us covered! Their team of winter-lovers has created the first ever detachable fur ruff. It fits on any jacket, and if you're from Minnesota where the weather is chilly from October to March, a fur ruff that can change with the seasons and styles is valuable! You'll want it from your fall denim jackets, to winter puffer coats, all the way to your spring trench coats. It will up the chic factor on any coat, and you'll be cozy no matter the weather forecast! 
Who are you and what do you do?

As born and bred Minnesotans, we know that with the right gear, there’s no such thing as too cold. However, we’re often faced with the choice of looking great and freezing, or staying warm in frumpy gear. Namakan Fur bridges the gap between winter style and comfort, from the head down. Our first product is our original fur ruff– a stunning, American-made faux fur ruff that attaches to any hood with a magnetic design, adding a luxe and personal touch to your winter coat. Plus, a fur ruff keeps you warmer by creating an extra buffer between you and the cold. Simple!

What’s the latest thing you’ve been working on?

We’ve since added two additional fur ruffs, fur blankets, beanies with interchangeable magnetic fur poms.

Will you be featuring any special holiday items? 

All our gear is winter themed, so while technically not focused on the holidays, it does have that vibe. Might I suggest our poms as adorable, unique stocking stuffers?

How do you usually prepare for the holiday season?

We publicly launched our company with a successful Kickstarter campaign last fall, so technically this is our first crack at the holiday season. We’re preparing by drinking a lot of coffee and doing the occasional push-up contest. But really, as we’ve discovered great shows like Mpls Gift and Art Expo, we’re hoping this year to see how expert holiday shoppers check off their lists!

What do your customers love most about your product(s)?

Most of our customers live in cold weather climates (at least half of the year, anyway), and love that our ruffs keep them warm while adding pop of color on their otherwise boring winter coat. People constantly comment on the quality of our faux fur-- it’s soft, plush and luxurious and not as though it came from a Muppet. Many people also love the sustainable aspect of our ruffs-- they boost the longevity of an existing coat, breathing new life into a parka with a matted ruff or adding a touch of glamor to a wool coat’s collar.

Have you always been passionate about art and design?

Yes-- and in diverse ways. Our founder and CEO, Maggie Davis, is a DIY genius. From renovating her own bathroom to building a butcher block table and reupholstering furniture, she simply loves to make things. Our product manager Liz Doyle went to school for fashion design and merchandising. She concurrently works as a stylist, pulling together impressive fashion shoots for national magazines. We know name dropping isn’t cool, but she’s even worked with Taylor Swift and the Williams sisters. Molly Mogren Katt wrote her published her first “magazine” at 10, lettered in yearbook (nerd alert!), and would write for 10 hours a day if her dog and baby would let her. We love art and design, but have unique skill sets.

What’s your favorite item that you sell?

We love our ruffs. They’re what launched our brand, which is focused on embracing winter. There’s nothing like them on the market. We’re currently pursuing a patent, which we’ve quickly learned isn’t cheap or easy, but is essential for taking our business to the next level.

Why did you start working in this particular craft?

Honestly, it just seemed fun. And we thought our idea was too cool to simply talk about and never act on. We’ve since realized starting a business isn’t for the faint of heart, but at our core, it’s still fantastic to work on something innovative with people you love.

What do you think sets your designs apart from others?

In today’s market, you simply cannot find a versatile fur ruff that can be added or removed to any hooded winter coat. Consumers must decide whether they want a parka or jacket with a fur ruff when they purchase a coat. At that point, there’s two stumbling blocks. Parkas with high quality ruffs often come with a hefty price tag-- it’s not uncommon to pay $800+. More affordable parkas often come with cheap, often non-detachable ruffs that get matted within one season. At that point, your coat is ruined. And if your coat doesn’t come with a ruff, there’s no way to add one short of sourcing your own fur and having Auntie Kathy sew it on for you. Namakan brings a versatile way to add a quality faux fur ruff to any coat. At $68 retail, it’s an inexpensive way to upgrade your coat. And since our ruffs attach with magnets-- not zippers or snaps-- you can attach them to sweaters, vests or anywhere you’d like a luxe fur accent.

How does the city you live in influence your work?

We love winter, and there isn’t a place in the world that embraces winter like Minneapolis. We love the buzz at the grocery store in the hours before an impending blizzard. We love ordering pizza and snuggling up by the fireplace because it’s just too cold to go outside. We love bundling up and taking the dog off-leash on a frozen lake. We love hearing only the squeak of our boots on the snow on an otherwise silent winter night. Our love for winter influences everything we do.

What are some inspirations for your work?

Voyageurs National Park, the Boundary Waters, the Minneapolis lakes, cabin life in northern Minnesota-- if you’re embracing the elements, we’re paying attention.

Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting story behind it?

We’re named after Namakan Lake in Voyageurs National Park. Not only is it a cool name (rhymes with mannequin), but it’s a place our founder and CEO visits annually with her family for an epic, multi-generational camping trip.
What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?

Don’t be afraid to just go for it. Who cares if you don’t know how to use Quickbooks or build a website or make a line sheet for a tradeshow. You’ll figure it out, and usually you can find someone else a little farther down the maker line who will help. This is an incredibly helpful and collaborative community and we love being a part of it.
Check out more of Namakan Fur's products online, and be sure to stop by their booth at the Minneapolis Gift & Art Expo, November 3-5, 2017 at the Minneapolis Convention Center!

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CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors
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