The Colonel Speaks Out on Product Vision and Quality
I see a real resurgence in the country today for products made in America. Our focus is to design and create products that speak to the time-honored traditions that have made this country great such as handmade craftsmanship, authentic rich leathers and quality workmanship.
There’s a nostalgic feel about the products we make . . . most of them could have been made 100 years ago and many are made using turn-of-the-20th-century methodology and machinery. Our products are true Americana; forged as our forefathers intended by people who care and take pride in making a beautiful product.
Recently an interviewer for an on-line magazine asked me about our seeming focus on customer service and high quality products and asked if I felt that focus was largely missing in today’s hectic society. You know, I guess I just didn’t realize there was another way to do business . . . I didn’t realize that good customer service and quality products are optional. In my way of thinking if you don’t provide excellent service and high quality products for your customers, there is no good reason to be in business.
There are only two things that determine what things are worth – the time it takes to build them and the materials from which they’re made. So, if you want to make it cheaper, all you have to do is put less time and cheaper materials into it and quality suffers. We don’t cut corners to make it for less . . . that’s not what our customers expect from us. They are looking for something of value that is genuine and long-lasting. Many years down the road when someone comes across a product that says “Col. Littleton – Made in Lynnville, Tennessee USA” my goal is that it retain the character and beauty it had the day it was made, and my hope is that people will know that a lot of heart and soul went into it.
It’s not really all that complicated. You just have to make and deliver an excellent product and take care of your customers. It seems that everyone today is talking about thinking “outside the box.” At Col. Littleton we feel there’s a lot of good stuff “inside the box,” and that the old, established rules are still viable in the world we live in today.
How Long Will it Last?
If we’re talking about your favorite pair of jeans… maybe three or four years, depending on how many barbed-wire fences you cross. A good pickup truck… perhaps seven or eight years, unless the driver is under age twenty five. Then you can probably subtract a couple of years. Cheap boots… maybe not even until the cows come home.When I was a boy, I thought an all-day sucker should last all day. Mine never did. Sunday sermons and English peas, on the other hand, seemed to last an eternity.
At fifteen, I thought the blonde in my history class would be mine forever. However, after a couple of weeks I was history in her book.
I guess I’ve always been partial to things with staying power. A good hat, for instance, seems to hold its own. A well-made leather saddle will outlast both your horse and your ability to get on it.
Good upbringing seems to stick with you, and true friendships last a lifetime.
When I went into business, I wanted to make things that would last and become more meaningful as time goes by… things that would be around long enough to be handed down to your children and grandchildren and be cherished as family heirlooms. That’s important to me.
So, how long will something last? If we’re talking about a streak of good luck, sunny weather or a bull market on Wall Street… don’t bet the family farm on what the experts say.
But, I reckon if we’re talking about a good friendship or a Colonel Littleton product, you can pretty well expect them to last for a long, long time.