Think Different


‘Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers.’

I loved the Apple ‘Think Different’ campaign.  It spoke at so many levels about societies need for those willing to see and do things in a different way.  It undoubtedly helped to save Apple in its darkest hour and I’d love to share it with you if you’ve never seen it.  Please take a minute to watch the TV advert that was at the campaign’s heart here……

‘The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.’

We need these independent thinkers in every sphere of society and business and the outdoor community is, of course, a part of that.  Infact, the outdoor community has a rich history of relishing and celebrating those that innovate and shake the status quo. It was born of those with a rebellious nature and continues to celebrate individuality.

‘They’re not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo.’

We wanted to offer our own little celebration of the outdoor community innovators that are willing to ‘Think Differently’ and so, in the first of an occasional series, we say Chapeau to Nick Brown…

Nick Brown


On July 1st, German trade publication Outdoor.markt held its tenth Trophy Awards during the ISPO trade show in Munich.  This has become a sought after award within the outdoor trade and this year the panel of industry judges awarded the prestigious ‘Personality of the Year Award’ to Nick Brown.

‘You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.’

You might not have heard of Nick but, as he is the owner and founder of Nikwax and Paramo, you will almost certainly have heard of his companies.  It was actually 42 years ago when, as a student, Nick started producing a wax that soon became the standard treatment for leather footwear.  He hasn’t looked back.  From those early days Nikwax has grown into the outdoor industries leading manufacturer of proofing products and Paramo clothing has a dedicated and continually growing following.  It is an amazing success story, but only a small part of the reason Nick was awarded this accolade.

‘About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them, because they change things.’

Nick has always been an industry shaper and his own company development has been decades ahead of the industry. He has led by example on many occasions (for example, Paramo was the first brand to sign the Greenpeace Detox commitment way back in the 90’s) and he challenged other brands to consider sustainability in their business models long before CSR (corporate social responsibility) became a key part of outdoor industry brand strategy.

‘They push the human race forward.’

In the award speech Nick was described as a maverick of the industry for being “non-conformist, a trend setter, free spirit and a brave hero.”  What a legacy that he has always been completely committed to environmental protection with his product range solvent free (Nikwax products are water-based – he has never used ozone destroying PFCs in any of his treatments and never will.

‘And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.’

Not only that, he is also a driving force in other environmentally engaged organisations. He is one of the founding members of European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) and an ambassador of the World Land Trust. He is also well on the way to being able to use all post consumer waste for the manufacture of all Nikwax containers.

‘Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do.’

In his acceptance speech, Nick said he felt honoured to be receiving the award, “in particular as I am known in the industry as a true troublemaker for challenging each and every brand to become green and transparent in their actions.”  Great products, an industry leader and an amazing ethos.  Well done for thinking differently Nick.

HerePosted by Paul