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Story Archives: Hatton's SwampyCamo line fills niche
|Hatton's SwampyCamo line fills niche|
The Fashion Industry has places like Paris, Milan and New York on its radar.
But, Winnsboro and a family with long Franklin Parish roots is creaping, with the stealth of a hunter, on the camo clothing scene, an important niche in fashion design for reasons that have noting to do with design.
"It's been a long journey," says Chad Hatton of the five years since his idea became a reality.
His idea, born in the swampland hunting areas of Franklin and Tensas parishes, was to convert a palmetto background onto a line of hunter clothing. He was convinced the line--complete with trousers, shirts, masks, gloves and headgear--would prove to be a better mousetrap. so to speak. The idea is beginning to catch on with Sportsmans Shack in Winnsboro one of the first retail outlets offering the togs.
Since hunters are more interested in results than details of clothing design, the jury may be out for a while. But the SwampyCamo line has been getting warm reviews in the early going.
"There were times when I though I couldn't take it any more," said Hatton of the long legal and manufacturing process. "But, then I would look at the design and think this is just too good to give up."
A comparison of the SwampyCamo clothing with other camouflaged outfits shows a lighter shade of olive green than the traditional camo. Others have various backgrounds such as oak forest or more water-orientation, such as water for fowl hunting..
"It took ten tries," Hatton said of the race to find the right combination of colors and digital photographs to make up the design.
"There are 16 colors in this pattern because of the blend," he added. One of the colors is red, as on red berries associated with the Sable Minor Plant (palmetto).
Hatton contends it is the blend of colors which sets his line apart from the others.
Hatton, who hunted with both his father and grandfather while growing up near Liddieville, took a camera into the swamps in Franklin and Tensas parishes in a quest, not for game, but for the "right photograph". It was a combination of several right photographs which made up the final design.
"Some of the other camos on the market just didn't blend into the swamps," Hatton said.
As Hatton, with his family's support, moved closer to making his clothing line a reality, market research indicated there is a big swamp market.
"Our research shows there are major palmetto growing areas stretching from southern Oklahoma down through Texas and then east along the Gulf Coast to Florida and Georgia and up to Virginia." he said.
Then, to illustrate both the effectiveness and versatility of the camo, he tells of a friend in Tennessee who dressed in a outfit and had his wife videotape him in the Tennessee woods where he hunts deer. The hunter could not be seen unless he moved, according to the friend.
Other marketing attempts--led by Micah Touchet and David Rockhold, both of Winnsboro--have produced photographs which demonstrate the product's camouflage effectiveness.
Hatton was fortunate to find marketing help so close to home. Rockhold operates a distributorship service to convenience stores and has helped with trademarking and sales plans. Touchet operates NewBirth Creative Design Agency from his Boeuf River Church Road office and provides creative and media servicses for SwampyCamo, including logo, website and advertisements.
"The Trademark was the hardest part," Hatton reflects. "The first attempt failed because a woman in England had trademarked the name we wanted and it took six months for the trademark office to tell us we couldn't have it.
"In all, it took three years for us go get a tradmark," which accounts for most of the time between 2003 when Hatton says he first had the idea and late this fall when he was able to deliver a product to a seller.
While trying to get his clothing line off the ground and into the background of swampy hunting areas, Hatton has been to two trade shows--on in Las Vegas--where interest has been generated. Also, several big box stores such as Bass Pro have indicated they are interested.
Locally owned sporting goods retailers in the region, such as the local Sportsmans Shack, have also indicated an interest in carrying the line in the near future.
Right now, Hatton and his marketing team, which includes his family, is in a typical business start-up situation. They need to sell enough to buy some more so more can be sold. Welcome to the fashion industry, Mr. Hatton.