Day 211: Snoloha

Snoloha’s Home & Continued Inspiration
A Quiet Northern Michigan Beach Town

Photo courtesy of Rod Call

Building a brand with international appeal around a completely unique concept, along with original artwork in an already crowded market from a small northern Michigan tourist town is…well, not easy.  If it were, everybody would be doing it…so they say.

Throw on top of that the idea of ‘ESCAPISM’ as an important element to the brand, while living in a state that has taken its share of bumps and bruises economically…and well, it doesn’t get any easier.  When one thinks of ‘escapism’ they may not immediately think of Michigan. People need escapism –that temporary break from the realities of everyday life.  It enables you to put things into perspective.  Clear your head.  Make sense of it all.

I’m proud of the fact that the continued inspiration for Snoloha comes from living here in Michigan, and it continues to touch people across the country and the globe.  With a licensee and distribution in Europe and customers in all corners of the U.S., it’s an extremely rewarding feeling to know that it can be done, all from a quiet beach town in Michigan’s northwest lower peninsula.

When I first came up with the concept for Snoloha, it was while driving by the 45th Parallel (“Halfway Between the Equator & the North Pole”) and having one of those ‘moments of clarity.’  I quickly scribbled “somewhere between the islands and the arctic”on a Rolling Stone magazine and the idea began to take shape.

Photo courtesy of Rob Call

I would have never imagined, though, how powerful the connection to this brand would be.  It truly has evolved into an escape for people when they think “Snoloha.”  They can close their eyes and imagine their favorite ‘somewhere’, or what the perfect Snoloha scene would be.

In fact, the best way to describe how folks connect with this brand is through their own words:

“I can imagine a beach with a tiki bar, a couple old salts sitting there and telling stories and lies about the old Navy. Off in the distance are snow-covered mountains, just a quick ski lift ride away. A couple jeeps in the parking lot have snowboards tied right next to surfboards. You get it all in one spot and you ask the bartender why there aren’t more people who have found this place. But the bartender just smiles and gives you a wink and says they have, they’re just in there own town of Snolohaville, maybe its just across the road… and he puts another margarita in front of you, already sweating with the heat but still remaining ice-cold. And you take a sip and think, maybe I’ll check that other town out…tomorrow.”

Traverse City, Michigan is known for many things and has received all kinds of national attention lately.  But for me, as an entrepreneur building a brand with a strong emotional connection that extends much deeper than the actual product being sold, Traverse City is a source of inspiration and my own escapism.

Running a business is stressful.  It is a wild roller-coaster ride.  So when it comes time for my own escapism from the very brand that I’ve created (ironic, I know), I can walk down to the beach, take the boat for a sail, hop on the SUP and paddle along West Bay, throw on the snowshoes and get lost in the woods, strap on the board and enjoy a day on the slopes or just take the dogs for a hike.  THAT is why Traverse City, and the state of Michigan, is the ideal location for Snoloha to call home, and to practice what the brand preaches.  Enjoying life somewhere between the islands and the arctic. ~Rob Call, Snohola Creator

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