Can you tell us a little bit about your background/history that has led you to this point?
I grew up in the Midwest, right outside of St. Louis, and then, attended school and found my first job in Chicago. My first career was more financially-oriented – I worked for an investment fund. One of the last funds that I worked for took more of an active investment approach and ingrained itself within the operations of the companies themselves. During this time, I served as the acting CFO for a real estate development company. This company was not about cookie cutter homes, but rather let the neighborhood and property inspire the design. This led to finished products that were long-lasting and happy to look at when finished.
When I was younger, I had the desire to work with my hands and be more creative. I wanted to help develop things, to create and to be an influence on what and how things are made. So, when I got the chance to come and work for Diamond Brand in Asheville, I was excited.
A good friend of mine purchased Diamond Brand in 2000. At the time it was a specialty outdoor retailer and contract manufacturer. In 2005, the company experienced significant demand and growth from the War in Iraq since products were made in the U.S. My friend needed assistance with the financial side of the business, so I joined to help grow it from a mom and pop shop to a medium-sized enterprise with systems.
In 2015, my friend and I were trying to run both businesses under one roof, which we found to be quite the challenge. Therefore, we decided to split the business into two entities – Diamond Brand Outdoors and Diamond Brand Gear. I bought the manufacturing business (Diamond Brand Gear) and am now in the process of creating an identity for Diamond Brand Gear.
Since the company has such a rich history, we are tapping into that nostalgia by bringing back products and concepts from the 1960s and 70s while also drifting towards elements that are unusual, difficult and out of the norm. We like being in dialogue with the past while thinking about the future.
Read the full interview at: https://www.once.eco/blogs/interviews/interview-with-john-delaloye-diamond-brand-gear