The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - 25

Field Notes
N E W

N O R M A L S

Stephen Sullivan (right) and his
son Pryor on top of "25 Short"
in Grand Teton National Park

The (Virtual)
Office

It's possible to pivot your entire product development process in the midst of the pandemic.
The solution would make Dunder Mifflin proud.
By Stephen Sullivan

CO U R T E SY S T E P H E N S U L L I VA N

THE ENTIRE STIO TEAM HAS LONG

been fond of utilizing GIFs from
the famous television show The Office when illustrating a funny point
related to our work environment.
Much to my chagrin, as I got a
huge kick out of these witty weekly
posts, the onset of COVID-19 and
our new normal has changed that
routine, one of many things that
have changed related to the office
these last four months.
We are fortunate. Stio is predominantly a direct-to-consumer
e-commerce business. Despite
the fact we went fully remote
March 13-closing our offices
and retail stores-our distribution center was able to remain
open, and, with consumers
migrating to online shopping, we
have continued to grow our business on a steep curve. Having a
cloud-based project management
system and already having integrated several remote employees,
we were well prepared for remote
work. Honestly, we barely missed
a beat-except there was one
major challenge.
Product development is our
brand's heartbeat and a very
high-touch endeavor. In the
absence of being able to work in
the deeply collaborative manner
to which we were accustomed, we
had to pivot-and fast-to keep

our product engine churning.
Importantly, we needed this pivot
to be accomplished in a responsible manner and within federal,
state, local, and CDC guidelines.
After two blindingly short and
chaotic weeks, our chief product
officer Kelly Hill and our product
team, working alongside our HR
manager Madison Gilmore, formulated a plan of action to make
that very thing happen.
One of the first challenges was
the constant flow of inbound packages from our factory partners:
proto-samples, trims, fabrics, lab
dips, you name it. This inbound
flow could not be cut off and
had to be accommodated. We
quickly devised a plan to use our
Stio marketing van to serve as an
inbound and outbound shipping
transfer station. We instructed all
the freight carriers to drop off all
packages in the van, and, then, utilizing a scheduling app, we allowed
our gloved and masked team to
pick up and ship from this van.
We then had to figure out how to
effectively communicate protosample comments to our factory
partners and called in our in-house
producer, Danny Holland, to the
rescue. Danny arranged all the appropriate equipment, lighting and
high-res cameras, and, ultimately,
created a new "fit studio" in our

AS TIME HAS PASSED, BUT WITH OUR COMPANY
-MANDATED TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS STILL IN PLACE,
THIS FIT STUDIO HAS BECOME OUR NEW NORM AND
HAS PROVEN TO BE ONE OF THE MOST EFFECTIVE
TOOLS IN OUR NEW REMOTE-WORK WORLD.

main office. Shortly after the local
Jackson and State of Wyoming
restrictions were moderately lifted,
and under very strict cleanliness
protocols, we began to allow one
product development staffer at a
time to work in the office, utilizing
this new fit studio to complete
work on active prototypes.
As time has passed, but with
our company-mandated travel
restrictions still in place, this fit
studio has become our new norm
and has proven to be one of the
most effective tools in our new
remote-work world. We've discovered this pivot has actually proven
more effective and collaborative
than we'd ever imagined.
We solved our next conundrum
of on-model fittings by first holding all fittings outdoors. Given
the typically dramatic swings of
springtime weather here in the

mountains, these fittings ironically often happened in the very
weather for which the products
were intended. We gradually
moved this process back indoors
and into our new fit studio, with
patient, long-standing fit models
on the team.
As we slowly and methodically continue to open our offices
to more staff members, all with
appropriate physical distancing
and cleanliness guidelines firmly
in place, these forced COVIDchallenges, among many others,
have helped us to establish a
new normal, a normal that, in
many instances, has resulted in
the improvement of our process,
company, and culture. Bring on
the Michael Scott GIFs!
Stephen "Sully" Sullivan is the
founder and CEO of Stio.

OUTDOOR RETAILER SUMMER 2020 / THE WEEKLY 25


http:// https://www.stio.com/

The Weekly - June 30, 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Weekly - June 30, 2020

Contents
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - Cover1
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - Cover2
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - Contents
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - 4
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - 5
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - 6
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - 7
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - 8
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - 9
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - 10
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - 11
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - 12
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - 13
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - 14
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - 15
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - 16
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - 17
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - 18
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - 19
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - 20
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - 21
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - 22
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - 23
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - 24
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - 25
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - Cover3
The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - Cover4
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