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Paul Bunyan, Chickens and Universal Truths
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Paul Bunyan, Chickens and Universal Truths

Culture to culture, generation to generation: appreciation for a good story is a universal truth. 

The best stories go so far as to become folktales—evolving over time until shopping malls the world over are playing host each December to rotund adult men donning red velvet and synthetic beards. 

Up here in the Midwest, a favorite of ours is that of Paul Bunyan and his trusty sidekick—Babe the Blue Ox. Just the mention of his name conjures up fondly traumatic memories of the creaky 30-foot animatronic lumberjack that looms over the log flume at Mall of America’s Nickelodeon Universe (also known as Camp Snoopy to those of us who know better).

For those not familiar with the western hemisphere’s titan of timber, below is a summary that’s half as comprehensive as what you’ll find on ChatGPT (my job security is decreasing by the second). 

In the early 1900s, the legend of a giant lumberjack and his proportionately massive (and strikingly blue) pet ox spread across North America in conjunction with the westward expansion of the continent’s logging industry. The definition of a tall tale, Paul Bunyan (presumably named for the Quebec expression of surprise, “bon yenne!”) is rumored to have been such a gargantuan newborn that it required five giant storks to deliver him to earth. As Paul grew (and grew… and grew…), he and Babe embarked on countless adventures—many of which, to geomorphologists’ chagrin, are credited with the creation of numerous American landmarks. Among them, the Mississippi River (a leak in their water tank), Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes (Paul’s footprints), the Grand Canyon (a lazy drag of his ax through the Southwest) and—my personal favorite attribution—the Finger Lakes. In an incredibly relatable instance of all strength and no finesse, it’s said that they were created when the bumbling brute tripped and fell over upstate New York. 

More recently, Paul and Babe can be found traversing over all sorts of Waggle apparel—a result of our collaboration with the incredibly talented Adam Turman, a Minnesota artist famous for his creatively fun illustrations of the lovable duo. It’s a partnership that, from a strictly golf perspective, doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. Then again, when you weigh the popularity of many of our designs, logic isn’t likely to drill you off the tee box either.

Consider, for example, the infamous Cocky Rooster. Of all the reasons I’ve heard for buying from this collection (both innuendo and innocent), very few have centered around golf. And, in a way, that’s exactly what we hoped for. It’s why we continue to build our brand for personality more than profession. You don’t have to be teeing off at sunrise to rock a shirt with poultry all over it. You don’t have to be teeing off ever, for that matter. You’ve just got to like chickens, or whatever they connote to you.

So how’s this for logic… If a love of storytelling is a universal truth, and Waggle creates apparel that puts those stories right on your sleeve, then it’s also a universal truth that all of humanity likes Waggle…

The math is mathing, right?

Outlandishly sweeping generalizations aside, our team does design with the goal that every person who stumbles across our brand will find something that resonates with a piece of their own unique story. Maybe it’ll be today, maybe it’ll be tomorrow, maybe it’ll be two years from now. The cheapest marketing campaign in the world is “something for everyone” but, hard as I’ve tried to reject it, this is the first experience I’ve had working for a company where it actually kind of applies. Be it lumberjacks or livestock, hunting or Happy Gilmore—at some point, odds are good that we will create something that carries meaning to you.

The fun part for us is figuring out where we go next.

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