I (Tim Bland, SG CEO) get asked a lot about the name stolen goat, and where it comes from. So here’s some back story…
When I was younger I was cycling across the South of France, it was a glorious cycling experience that I will never forget, nice wine, sunny weather, smooth roads, nice wine, you get the picture.
One day I passed an angry looking French farmer who was sprinting up a dirt track whilst cursing in his native tongue.
My French isn’t particularly hot but luckily he spoke some English. I asked him if he needed assistance and he told me that his best Goat had been taken by a local butcher with whom he had had a recent dispute over some money.
The butcher told him to settle his bill by midday or the Goat would end up in the shop window in several bits. The farmer’s car was broken so he would have to run up the steep mountainous ascent to get there in time. Not likely.
What could I do? I took the farmer’s money and vowed to get his prize Goat back. I cycled like never before up the treacherous and extremely steep mountain path. This was in days before Strava but I’m pretty sure I would own that segment for many years to come.
It was tough but I just made it to the Butcher shop by midday. The man behind the counter spoke no English but he understood that I wanted to exchange my fistful of sweaty money for the bleating animal tied to his chair by a gnarly old piece of rope.
I doubt he cared if I knew the farmer or not. He just wanted his money.
The exchange was made and now I was navigating my way back down the same treacherous path only this time with a mad goat tied to the handlebars!
After falling over for the fourth time I wondered what the hell I was doing. I also wondered what was so special about this Goat as to cause the farmer so much concern.
So finally, after I got the goat back to the relieved farmer I asked him what qualities the goat possessed.
He took me to a building which seemed to be a coffee bean processing station. It has always been said that coffee was actually discovered by Goats in the Ethiopian Highlands. And this particular Goat was extremely talented at sorting out the finest coffee beans from the mediocre ones…
The French farmer would purchase a mass of varying quality coffee beans and use the goat to sort the good from the bad which allowed him to grade the coffee and sell it more effectively.
This goat was the centre of the farmer’s very unique and prosperous business. And so, the stolen goat, provided me with an excellent source of inspiration for my business venture.
OK, no that’s not what happened at all.
But it’s a great story! And more importantly it covers the essence of what we are trying to achieve with stolen goat – the spirit of adventure, something with some imagination and a little different – off the beaten track as it were. And yet something that is powerful, thought provoking and emotive.
There are too many “heritage” brands in the market, most of which have no actual heritage. That’s fine if you’re into the marketing but it’s not really my bag so to speak.
Stolen Goat is about freedom, freedom to live your life the way you want to. The company started as a route for myself out of the 9 to 5 corporate pressures that trap so many people this day and age. I hoped that one day I would be fortunate enough to have a team around me that could share in this adventure. A few years down the line that dream is now a reality and each day we try to find ways of finding more people to join the herd.
I have always admired brands like Fat Face. In the sense that they have become a high street staple so no-one really gives the name a second thought. Most people probably don’t know about how that business started with a couple of guys selling t-shirts at ski resorts. Taken out of context I doubt very much if middle aged men & women would want the words “Fat” and “Face” on their clothing, but with enough time and familiarity, well… no-one questions the name anymore.
Stolen Goat as a name gives us an identity, but it also creates agility. We started with cycle clothing because it’s our first passion, but it’s not our only passion. Being “steeped in cycling heritage” is pretty limiting if you want to expand into other outdoor sports that you’re into.
In essence, Stolen Goat is fun, adventurous, friendly and thought provoking. Much like our designs.
What’s the moral of the story above? Who knows? But we think it’s good to help people in need whenever possible. Everything we do is centred around our customers… we will always go out of our way to ensure you are happy with your purchase.
Happily, the story includes cycling, coffee and climbing hills – all things that we love with a passion! I’ve never seen a goat actually ride a bike but they sure are skilful at climbing steep mountains!
As we develop, we hope that our passion carries through to our product range and that we can continue with our aim of bringing premium quality, well designed garments to all cyclists and fans of the outdoors.
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