We won’t bury the lede for once: today, we’re launching an official site where you can buy and sell used Pistol Lake gear from each other in return for cash or store credit to our shop. You’ll also find some gear directly from us that is discontinued, slightly off-spec, or something that was used for an hour in a photoshoot at a solid discount… basically, this is an online version of the LA pop-up warehouse sales we used to run pre-COVID. (Remember those days? Me neither.)
Ultimately, we did this for a number of reasons, but a brand we admire recently asked the question: “are we willing to recognize that our consumer behavior and buying habits are at the root of many problems we face today?”
Trying to do better – and even just firing up that conversation – is the main reason we started Pistol Lake in 2012. Not only to make the most versatile and comfortable clothing ever, but to challenge the way that we consume things. Too often, consumer companies are driven by market forces to make cheap items with a focus only on the top and bottom lines. Of course, everyone in between gets squeezed during the process.
While that trend has changed over the last few years, consumers are now told that they can have their cake and eat it too. That ‘new product’ might be better for the environment, but it can also be packaged by underpaid labor, flown around the world by jet, and then driven to their front door.
Before your sanctimony meter goes to 11, the Pistol Lake brand doesn't always live up to the lofty values mentioned above. Since the pandemic started, for example, we were forced to use a shipping warehouse in Delaware, as you’ve surely noticed on your packages and return slips – which is far from our usual standard of close manufacturing and warehousing to cut down on emissions (we're working on a solution here for early 2022).
As individuals, the six of us are just as guilty as other consumers as well. We don't always live up to our aspirations to consume less. We fall in love with new consumer products from cool brands that are making the latest and greatest such-and-such. And really, who doesn’t sometimes?
But in pouring our blood, sweat, and tears into this business, we have learned this: consumer dollars are our votes on how companies act. When we buy things, some of those companies will treat their employees and contractors better than others. Some will make decisions that affect the environment in more negative ways than others.
Our goal is always to put money in the hands of those who will be good stewards of their employees and the environment (in addition to taking care of their bottom lines, naturally).
So, back to today. We're excited to announce another tangible step towards lessening OUR impact. Pistol Lake is opening up a resale site called Reloaded, where you can easily sell your used gear. Too often, clothing we don't wear anymore ends up in landfills, even if it makes a first stop at a Goodwill or shelter.
We put a lot of effort into diverting water bottles from ending up in landfills – now we’re trying to put an equal effort into keeping our gear outta there too.
I’ll now get down off my high-horse and invite you to check out our latest project. Let us know what you think, but we hope it helps us take a bit less, and do a little more.