There is a new little corner of the Internet that just launched, and it seems like it right up our ally here at Red Clay Soul. Joe from Redwood Quality Goods reached out a while back to let me know about his new venture…and what a great story: they focus on providing a curated shopping experience by selling high quality, American-made goods. I preach and preach about buying quality over quantity, as the lifetime value proposition is much higher.
Joe and his team are doing it right. They have quite a selection of apparel, denim, accessories, and home goods, and there is some stuff for the ladies. Redwood has done a great job of finding small batch brands who’s products are made in the USA.
Joe as nice enough to do a sit-down with us to give his side of the story:
What is the history of Redwood Quality Goods?
Redwood Quality Goods was founded in 2014 to provide a curated shopping experience to customers who truly care about the how and why of their products. We couldn’t find the quality and craftsmanship we were looking for so we decided to create it ourselves! We were also looking for a way to showcase some of these great small-batch, American brands we felt were being left behind, buried in the mass-market “fast-food” apparel culture that seems to be taking over.
What is your history?/What made you want to start RWQG?
I’ve always loved high quality denim, but I first started getting into raw denim about ten years ago. At that time, the Japanese brands really dominated the market for raw and selvedge denim. Again, for us, one of the big selling points was the quality and craftsmanship of the products. It was obvious to me that someone was really thinking about the whole product experience: the looms, the type of cotton, the indigo dying process, and types of machines used, and all the care that went into making the brand unique. But I found it ironic we were buying denim produced in Japan based on American vintage work wear.
In the last few years there has been a revival of American heritage brands, and smaller artisans have started producing their own take on vintage American fashion, but trying to find these small brands that produced limited runs was always a challenge. Often by the time I found something that I thought was super cool, it was already too late; they were sold out, or no longer making the style I was looking for. There was never a place where someone could visit and discover all of the unique products being produced by American manufacturers. Our goal with RWQG is to be that place; to provide our customers with a one-stop shopping experience they can count on to provide, well, to provide quality goods.
What does ‘Made in America’ mean to you, and why is it important?
My grandfather was a first generation immigrant who spent his whole life working on a dairy farm. When I was younger, I would hear all the stories about how he used to have to take the containers of milk to sell to different grocery stores — each one was a personal relationship that had to be cultivated. And he enjoyed it! It was a community in those days: the butchers, the bread-makers, the dairy guys- all of them. I also grew up working in our family-run business. It just reinforced what I had learned from my grandfather’s stories: in order to be successful as a local business, you are dependent upon the community and those around you. Today so many of the products available are mass-produced overseas and I think that the product loses a lot of its character and uniqueness. We don’t want to be part of a disposable economy. Again, I think it is very important for a business to be involved with the community, and that sense of community is certainly changing with globalization.
Who are your style inspirations?
I have eclectic inspiration I think, and I came to it on my own in many ways. It’s important to find the things that make you feel good, not just the things everyone else is wearing. That said, my father was always a very stylish guy but he’s more into the high-end beautifully made suits. He definitely taught me to appreciate fine fabrics and good tailoring — those things make a real difference!
What kind of guy is a RWQG customer?
First and foremost, our customer truly cares about the products they use on a daily basis. They are interested in the story behind the product. I also think that our customers are looking for items that are unique. It means a lot when the artisan making the product is pouring his hear and soul into a piece.
What is your favorite piece in the catalog?
Honestly it’s a toss up between the 18oz waxed canvas duffle bag and the leather briefcase — both from Red Clouds Collective. The duffle bag is a great piece that you can use everyday or for a weekend trip. The briefcase is definitely a conversation starter. It is stylish, refined, and something that no one else is going to have.
What’s coming from RQG?
The site has just recently launched and we are going to be adding new brands. We’ve been working really hard to find these smaller artisans and that’s what really differentiates us from everyone else. And in the same way, we want to help our vendors differentiate themselves too. We want to provide a forum for our creators to help educate the customer on what makes them special. We’ll be launching our own blog soon and we’ll be interviewing some of the people behind the brands to give a better understanding of the how and the why. I think it is important that people really can connect with the product and the brand.
And finally (you knew it was coming), what’s on your Spotify playlist?
I wish I could say that my music was all-American too; but I think music you have to go International! I do listen to a lot of Johnny Cash and Waylon but lately I’ve been listening to a fair amount of Milky Chance. And you can never go wrong with classic rock. Also, that Hozier is record is great!
Be sure to check out the Redwood Quality Goods website…let us know what you think below.