This season, say “forget you” to junk and focus on gifts that will last

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Did you know smart phones are designed to be replaced every couple years or so? Think about it. They release new phone models every year with the hope that we as consumers will replace our old models with the new ones. This is a real thing and it’s called planned obsolescence. A policy of doing business where the design of the product has its obsolescence built in, meaning the product will be obsolete (not usable, neither in form nor function) before long. This principle pervades many companies in many industries, even fashion! Crazy, right?

Now we don’t want to bore you (or enrage you for that matter) with economic policies such as this. We simply want to open your eyes to the fact that this happens, and it happens a lot. At some point in your life you’ve come across a pair of cheaply made boots or purses that fell apart in a flash, no? Or maybe those same boots or purses even went out of style too quickly. That’s not by accident.

In an age where products in both fashion and technology are intentionally built to be replaced within a matter of years we at The Stockist have always aimed at securing the highest quality, long-lasting brands in our store. To stock brilliantly made products is an honor. In fact, that’s one of the tenets we were founded on.

Take Red Wing for example: they’re a proud and iconic brand that we carry in store. And they got that way by producing quality bootwear for over a hundred years. After you’ve worn your Red Wings every day for years on end, and after countless summer camping trips and myriad winter hiking excursions along the way you can rest easy knowing that even if your boots are starting to show a little wear and tear just send them off to Red Wing, Minnesota for careful restoration.

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Then we’ve got Baggu, a fast-growing bag and accessory brand – based out of San Francisco and Brooklyn – known for its simple, timeless aesthetic. And believe it or not it all began with one bag back in 2007: a classic, clean nylon tote styled after a plain ol’ grocery bag.

What do they have now? They’ve got everything from leather purses, clutches and backpacks to ripstop nylon and canvas versions of the very same. Simple designs and quality construction ensures Baggu bags stand the test of time both in fashion and durability.

We’re in the thick of the holidays. We know it’s easy to get caught in the mindset of buying a gift just to buy a gift. But think about it for a minute first. If we purchase well-made, environmentally friendly products then that puts these kinds of products in higher demand. Simply put when you’re gifting this season, take your time, and get to know the brand you’re courting. Or in other words opt for a bag o’quality, not a bag o’junk.

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Another brand you’ll want to know is Aesop, a company with a firm focus on skin, hair and body care. While products like these aren’t built to last, at least not in the same way as a pair of boots should, they still last. (C’mon, we’re talking balms and conditioners here; they have to run out someday.)

Still Aesop is a brand built on sustainability and the importance of self-care. More than that they listen to you. Many times over they’ve developed new products for skin, hair and body simply out of genuine response to their customer’s needs. In other words, they do their research people. What’s safe. What’s effective. What’s needed. These are all important objectives for them in the development of their complete body care line. If you throw an Aesop product in someone’s stocking they’ll know you really, really care about them.

Wow, does time have a tendency to creep up on us or what. It feels like we just barely laid out our 2016 summer collection but here we are talking about the holidays. Before we know it it’ll be spring. But that Baggu purse or those Red Wing boots you got your bae for the holidays will still be in tip-top shape. And your skin and hair and your dog’s fur (we sell Aesop wash for your animals, too) from those stocking stuffers you got will be marvelously lush for the oncoming warm.

There are plenty more brands in store that equal the caliber of the ones described above, too. Though it’s nearly impossible to sufficiently describe the greatness of all the wonderful brands we carry in one blog post. It’s honestly better to just come in and explore the shop yourself, to see the quality gifting possibilities right in front of your very eyes.

Oh and to put a little spring in your step this holiday season we’re putting on a festive party/pop-up trunk show this Saturday, December 17th. You’ll get 10% off throughout the store plus there will be delicious food to eat and tasty drinks to imbibe. So come mingle and celebrate. And remember that Helen, Brett and the rest of the team are always here to help you pick out a gift that will last.

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Red Wing boot history followed by a proud announcement you ladies will want to hear

Red Wing Women in Factory

When we think of iconic brands Red Wing definitely tops the list. That’s not boasting, either. We suspect the fine men and women of Red Wing feel the same way. They know the work they produce is iconic. How could it not be? We’re not saying they’re braggarts by any means. We’re just saying they make quality footwear. They should be proud of where they work and the boots they fashion. They’ve been doing it for over a hundred years after all. If that’s not tried and true, we don’t know what is.

Yep, Red Wing’s story is old. The company itself dates back to 1905. Charles H. Beckman, a local shoe merchant, created the Red Wing Shoe Company along with 14 other investors. A few years later they opened up their first plant. It was in an old brick building in a small southern Minnesota town called, you guessed it, Red Wing.

The first boots were handmade with little machinery used. The cutting room floor was riddled with thick bits of leather all hand cut. (We can’t even begin to imagine the hand cramps those first shoe craftspeople endured.) To this day you can bet that each pair of Red Wing boots is handcrafted and no two are alike.

Fitting room with Mrs Jack Harris, Louise Falke, Anna Blaud, Mary Ogren, 1908

Many different styles of boots have permeated the company’s history, too. Throughout the years many boots were created for a specific occupation. It all started with Oil King Boots in the 1920s (they were made for oil field workers). Then – in no specific order – came the Iron Rangers (for iron miners), the Harvesters (for wood harvesters), the Engineers (for railroad engineers) and the Blacksmiths (for blacksmiths, duh). All these boots had distinct designs for the conditions a worker would encounter in different occupations. Quite ingenious we say. Today these same boots are worn for the fashion they intrinsically exude as much as they’re worn for their practicality. It’s their Heritage collection.

In addition to all the sweat that’s built this brand over the years. There have been a lot of the same bloodlines, too. Some families have passed down the boot-making trade to their offspring and their offspring’s offspring resulting in as many as four generations that have worked for Red Wing Shoe Company. Just watch this brief tour of their factory to get a glimpse of the tradition that’s present in every boot, then come right on back.

You can tell that a lot of care goes into making each pair, can’t you? Buying Red Wings is truly an investment. A single pair of these handcrafted-in-the-USA boots will last you for years, even if you wear them every day. Give ‘em a good brush and throw some pine pitch and mink oil on them every now and then and you’re golden. Or your boots are golden rather. After you start seeing some wear and tear, simply send them on in to Red Wing for some careful restoration. You could wear the same pair for a lifetime if you really wanted. And as the years pass the boots only gain more character – all this coming from first-hand experience, of course.

Woman on rope swing at Red Wing company picnic, Adams Pasture, Trenton WI, 1919

All you ladies will be happy to know that these same quality boots that men have primarily had the privilege of wearing for years are now available for you, too. That’s right. Red Wing Heritage has specifically brought female footwear to the foreground. You no longer have to buy smaller sized men’s Red Wings; you now have a collection all your own. (The boots are even designed to be lighter and more flexible so it takes less time to break them in – all the while being more comfortable.)

It only makes sense, too. Women have had as much to do with Red Wing as men have since the very beginning. They’ve been on the production lines. They’ve toiled. They’ve sweat and bled. They’re filled with the very same grit that men are. There has been no behind-the-scenes for the fine women at Red Wing. They deserve to have Heritage boots crafted perfectly and precisely for them just as men have.

Red Wing Shoe Company Ladies boots

To be sure these styles – for the most part – are the same styles present in the men’s line but some of them are actually reminiscent of the boots that Red Wing made for women almost a century ago. (See the above pictures for reference.) So you’ll definitely see a more feminine stylistic approach crafted into these boots.

And now for the news…

Without further ado we’re thrilled to announce that we proudly carry the new Red Wing Heritage lines for women both in-store and online. Take a gander at our collection, nay, your collection. Then feel free to come on in whenever you please (store hours of course) and try a pair on. We bet you’ll fall in love immediately. You’ll soon understand why your boyfriend, husband, brother, father, uncle, and every other man in your life has fallen in love time and again with their Red Wings.

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