Taylor Street Strike-A Rebranding Story
It was supposed to be a fairly simple logo rework. Nothing huge, necessarily. The past year has been hard and held a lot of transition for me personally, my family and Lion & Anvil (our former brand). Sometimes in the middle of the fires, something changes or becomes solid, but you don't realize it until later. That has been the past year and the logo rework helped clarify what had solidified. I knew something was different and changing the logo seemed like the logical step to showcase that. I wasn't ready for what was really there though. I was sitting with a couple of friends and talking through this re-work...then came the bomb.
"Why didn't you choose something to do with hawks for your brand?".
Before I could answer, an explanation for the question followed. "When I see a hawk, I think of you. Actually, because of you, I look for them now." I was silent. I didn't know. But that seed was planted and there was no going back.
Over the next few days...germination. After talking to the team and hashing it out in my own mind, I knew change was coming. But I was still resistant or hesitant. So I went back to the beginning, where it started for me.
I don't remember the year or the time of year, but it must have been about 16 years ago. I'm not sure where I was going that day, I just remember driving down Taylor Street and then the flash of white and rusty red. And the precision. The sudden death of a field mouse at the end of Taylor Street changed my life.
This wasn't the first time I had seen this hawk, but it was the first (and only) time I had seen it sink its talons into a field mouse from about 12 feet away and then fly off as matter-of-factly as can be. Even though I knew I was alone, I frantically looked around hoping I wasn't the lone witness to this aerial assault. We lived in the country and no one lived at the end of Taylor Street. I obviously knew that, but my mind was racing and I wanted badly to share the experience.
I was not aware of it when I drove off, but I just had an encounter with an animal that would change my life forever.
I had already become casually acquainted with this hawk and its mate as they occupied airspace above my land. I would observe their soaring ballet as I drove the tractor, the brush hog thrashing away behind me. I found I was partial to their red tail feathers.
But everything changed after the Taylor Street strike. When I saw those red tails, the mower stopped, silencing the diesel noise so that I could catch the sound of their shrill cries. I started to study and read about them a little. They no longer just flew higher. No, that's what the old me would think as I kept mowing. No, these two were now 'catching thermals'.
It's not that I'm an expert on Red-tailed Hawks, or raptors in general. But, if you're with me and I spot one, you'll know their effect on me. Put it this way, you could be telling me how your great-grandmama just past away and if I see a hawk fly by I'm pretty much going to enthusiastically interrupt you mid-sentence with something like, 'Dude, check it!'. It's nothing personal, though.
The encounters have been many over the years. And, save for a couple of 'birds of prey' demonstrations, they are always unplanned. And they're always appreciated. Actually, appreciated is a cheap way to describe them. Whether it's the serenity of a perched 'watcher' waiting for one false move, the sunlight shining through horizontal tail feathers in flight, or the outstretched talons prior to impact, all hawk sightings mean something to me. It's difficult to explain, but times where I had almost given up, in those moments where hope is just out of grasp, a red-tail would enter my line of sight. Seeing that bird would bring the grit I needed to keeping going.
Along the way many friends and family have joined me in this journey. I didn't realize it until that question was dropped on me a few months ago. These birds have impacted me, and my wonder and awe were contagious. And now it's our journey. A commonality among us. Sometimes I get fuzzy, hastily taken pictures. Sometimes a shaky video. Sometimes a story. I treasure every single one they send me.
That's our desire here at REDTAIL Hardgoods...to establish common ground. We're forged with grit and we need each other to bring out our stories, showcasing who we really are.