Buzz Off Insect Shield LLC, developers of the world's first-ever, EPA-registered insect repellent apparel has turned to Rick Hemmerling, co-founder and former president of ExOfficio, to launch a new strategic business initiative focusing on private label manufacturing, including development of new Buzz Off apparel and products for camping, home, garden and pet care.
Under Hemmerling's direction, the new Seattle-based group will pursue private label opportunities, develop a new overseas treatment facility, and support Buzz Off's philanthropic efforts. The team will also support existing Buzz Off partner brands (such as ExOfficio, L.L. Bean, Orvis, Rocky Outdoor Gear, Oxford Golf and Imperial Headware) through the development of a comprehensive Buzz Off marketing strategy.
In a call to SNEWS® on Jan. 9, Hemmerling told us that he was excited by the venture simply because of all the potential.
"Until now, it has primarily been companies such as ExOfficio waving the publicity banner about Buzz Off, but now we are taking the initiative to support our partner brands by waving the banner ourselves," said Hemmerling. "We will have a booth at Outdoor Retailer where we will work to support our existing partners, as well as explore opportunities and work to educate retailers about Buzz Off."
The Buzz Off technology stems from the founders' original goal of developing a convenient and effective method of protection from insects, including those that can carry diseases such as West Nile virus, malaria and Lyme disease. Thousands of garments have been donated by Buzz Off to international relief efforts.
It was Hemmerling, many industry folks might recall from past SNEWS® coverage, who led the push to incorporate Buzz Off in travel clothing. "Ever since my introduction to Buzz Off through ExOfficio, I have felt it was one of the most important developments in performance apparel in the last 25 years," he said.
Joining Hemmerling while the ink is still drying on business cards are Bob Carroll, who was for 14 years the CFO and head of operations for ExOfficio until being let go by the company in 2006; Nancy Horn, who was also let go by ExOfficio after working in product development for company for six years; and Mary Collins, who left ExOfficio at the first of the year after nine years with the company in sales. Carroll will be heading up finance, Horn heads up product development, and Collins heads up sales and marketing, we were told.
Buzz Off Insect Shield LLC is headquartered in Greensboro, N.C., and is currently partnered with numerous outdoor and sports brands including ExOfficio, L.L. Bean, Orvis, Rocky Outdoor Gear, Imperial Headwear, Oxford Golf, Ariat, Stearns and Gold Toe. For more information, visit www.buzzoff.com.
Hemmerling told SNEWS® that for the near term, he will be focusing on helping develop Buzz Off's private label business, as well as working hard to establish an overseas production facility so that the company can begin shipping finished products directly from Asia.
As for what new products Buzz Off might start appearing in, think seat cushions, patio umbrellas…anything with a fabric surface that would benefit humans by having a Buzz Off application.
"Your mind can go wild with this," Hemmerling told SNEWS®. Indeed, which makes him the perfect man for the job.