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Dobies are still dobies

 

DobieheadWhen we started Nzo, our big idea was that if we made stuff that we liked, then some other people would like it too.

That was our business plan, written on a napkin in the Fat Dog Cafe, and within a couple of months we had moved to Rotorua and opened a shop.

They were exciting times: we got new products on to the shelves on a weekly basis, we made up stuff and tested it on ourselves and our customers, who were happy to tell us what they did or didn’t like.

An early idea that we tried was a short made of a combination of stretch knit and woven fabric for a durable loose fit unit that would be as comfy as lycra without the look of lycra.

We tried various ways to finish the waist, but the most comfortable was also the simplest: a drawstring with elastic. We made two dozen pairs and hung them up in the shop.

The response was great. We couldn’t keep the things in stock.

We put a piece of paper on the counter asking for suggestions of what we might call these shorts, and got some interesting possibilities, the strangest of which was from young Jake: Dobies.

15 years down the track Dobies are still our most popular shorts. We have redesigned them twice, and made fabric upgrades three times, but the key things that make them Dobies are still there.

These days there is a global industry supplying mountain biking apparel, and a huge machine promoting it. As with any mass marketing, standardisation occurs, with many brands making similar things, and the variations between products becoming smaller and smaller. Dobies are on their own evolutionary limb.

Whenever we send some off to for review we worry that they will be too far off the current norm. We needn’t have worried.