If you have followed the blog for a while, you should already know my love for Buffalo Jackson Trading Co. I recently got a chance to interview Xan Hood, founder and CEO of Buffalo Jackson. The answers that followed were nothing short of inspiring. I hope you enjoy!
JPD: First, I just would like to get to know a little about you. What is your role at Buffalo Jackson?
Xan: As the founder, I’ve honestly done just about everything. The glorious and mostly the not so glorious. And it’s been one of the greatest opportunities to learn about clothing. When you start from nothing, and with limited resources, you get in and learn the business at all angles and from the view on the floor and you taste the dust and dirt. You dream of what things will one day become, but you are holding the pressing issues of the day, which is often things like … is there toilet paper in the bathroom?
I still work on the 80% of the not fun stuff, so I can do the 20% that I love.
JPD: Who is your favorite superhero?
Xan: I’d probably say that Jesus bobble head doll. Something about his vulnerability of being the Lord of all Creation, and his willingness to be stuck on the dash of a car, with all that power that could strike at any moment. He says he is coming again, but for now, he bobbles. That seems heroic to me.
JPD: What’s playing on your iPod?
Xan: Last time I saw my iPod, my 4 year old daughter had it and was talking to it and telling it to bring her a chicken sandwich. So it is definitely being played, but in a more practical way I guess.
For music, I tend to like soul and a little bravado.
JPD: Favorite clothing brand, other than yours?
Xan: I’m not sure if my brand is even my favorite. Not yet at least. We should always be admirers and learners. And curious. There are far too many brands that love themselves, but really are just copies of other copies.
That has the mirror in the mirror eternity effect. You get in there, and you don’t get out. And certainly it becomes the death of you, because you are trapped inside it. And all you see if yourself.
So for brands that avoid that fashion vanity thing. That go to the heart and story and soul… The iconic Ralph Lauren. And a little known guy named Stephen Kenn. Every story those men tell have something at the end I want to buy.
JPD: What are your hobbies?
Xan: I love to build things. And I dream a lot. I enjoy being with my kids and watching them get caught up in their play. And I love to fly fish. But lately, seems I am dreaming about fly fishing which I need to change. That is certainly not a hobby.
JPD: Who is your favorite sports team? (NCAA or Professional)
Xan: I am a Tennessee Volunteer fan, my alma mater, and also Bronco fan. When you walk by Peyton Manning as a freshman in college, it sets you on a certain path.
JPD: Now I have a few questions about Buffalo Jackson. What inspired you to start the Buffalo Jackson?
Xan: I came from a more gentlemanly life of privilege in the South, and moved West after college. I went from learning about business loans and stocks with my dad in high school to Colorado where I took a job painting houses and fly fishing with older men. I wanted to create a brand that brought those two important worlds together and what we call… the rugged gentleman. Blue collar and white collar. Outdoor and Class.
Back many years ago, you bought a gun where you bought a bow tie. I think we need more of that. The two sides merging.
JPD: Who is the Buffalo Jackson customer?
Xan: They are simply a man. They long for how things were in the past, and strive to live with character and authenticity. A life about working and sweating, living and laughing, and earning your way.
JPD: What is Buffalo Jackson’s philosophy?
Xan: I think it’s about honesty, authenticity, hard work, and not taking short cuts. Trying to own your life and your history. Knowing where you came from, honoring traditions, learning from those who have gone before you. Those sorts of things.
But at the end of the day, its probably not what you say, it’s what you do with what you think. If I followed my philosophy teacher in college, I’d probably be eating tree bark.
JPD: What’s your favorite item from Buffalo Jackson?
Xan: I’ve always loved the interplay of waxed canvas and leather. The texture of cotton, leather, wax and oil combo. It speaks to elements of a man’s soul that you can’t get by picking up a vibrating plastic toothbrush.
So probably our Elkton collection of duffle bags, and a few more projects in that area we are working on in that.
JPD: What items can we expect from Buffalo Jackson soon?
Xan: New things? Hmm… I like to find inspiration by looking at things of the past. Old antique stores that sometimes have a hidden leather bag or flannel in the corner. Taking an element of the past and refreshing it.
In fact, its probably time to get back out there and find some new things. Thanks for the reminder! Got any good places to explore? Let’s go.
JPD: Can we expect more brick and mortar stores?
Xan: Stores for a brand are in my opinion like medals on a military uniform. They are to speak to the years of service and sacrifice. They should be earned and come in the right time.
You certainly can go out and buy the fake ones on ebay, or collect them, and look the part if you have the cash. But it tends to be a costume. Feels a bit pretend. And they rarely support their weight in time.
I think our brand still needs to grow and serve in a few more battles to gain the substance and to have that honor of being pinned.
But would we love to be promoted? You bet. We are in the battle.
But another store right now would be us in a costume.
Thanks so much to Xan Hood for taking the time to answer the questions! I really hope that y’all enjoy the passion and eloquence he has for life and his company as much as I do. If you loved what he had to say in this interview, you may want to check out his book, which dives more into his life and his experiences as a young man. I hope that this inspired you to take a look at the Buffalo Jackson line and pick up an item or two to support this great company with excellent roots.