In this episode of the SLN Podcast, guest host Dave Larson speaks with his good friend and former Nike colleague Tony Ambroza.  Tony is now the Chief Brand Officer at Carhartt, previously having worked for Under Armour.  The guys discuss Carhartt’s ethos for hard work and the importance of storytelling. They also reference many of the shared experiences they had a Nike.  Tony was candid about how Carhartt had to scrap most of their plans for 2020 but emphasized how its values have guided the team during the pandemic and accompanying social unrest. Internally, Carhartt operates with leadership truths, and we’re grateful to Tony for sharing these truths with our listeners.

Podcast Highlights

14:11 – Working with Mark Valade: “He was just so genuine and so down to earth and incredibly humble but truly passionate about the brand and what the brand was all about.”

21:36 – Carhartt expanding to lifestyle: “We’ve extended Carhartt into the artists and trades and crafts, and even in the breweries and brewmasters. We have an ongoing collaboration with Guinness because we saw a very passionate connection to Carhartt by all these brewmasters too.”

22:10 – Carhartt vs Carhartt WIP: “The Carhartt consumer will make the guitar and the Carhartt WIP consumers will play the guitar, but both of them have a respect for that for music. And both of them have respect for their skill and their craft. And that’s what we get to share. And that’s where we see the crossover.”

23:20 – Carhartt building a truck with Chevy: “We wanted to build a truck with them. It’s the Carhartt edition, a Chevy 2500 HD. And it is truly a truck that you’ll see on job sites that you will see, out in the field. It’s an incredible partnership.”

24:33 – Working with Hurley and Surfers: “We just started to see these overlaps in our values and our approaches and our beliefs. We really liked that between the two of us.”

35:26 – Carhartt for women: “Women continue to enter these enter the jobs and occupations that that Carhartt is outfitted for. That business is growing for us at an incredible pace, but we have so much more opportunity out there. There are so many incredible women that reach out to us and ask for us to do more.”

44:16 – Storytelling for long-term return: “We like to think of ourselves at Carhartt that we’re storytellers and we’re service providers. That’s how we think of the work we do within the department, because you’re, you’re either telling a story that is meant to inspire and meant to connect somebody to your world and hopefully get them thinking about your brand and wanting to wear what your brand has to offer.”

48:13 – Essential workers inspire Carhartt: “Essential workers are the folks that Carhartt looks up to and really through our mission worked hard to serve and protect. For 131 years and they’ve had to continue to work, they’ve had to continue to find a way.”