Today we’d like to introduce you to Korena Hallam and Summer Hurd.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Green Buffalow was founded in 2015. We are a small, female-owned and operated business, breaking into the male-dominated industry of wildland firefighter (wlff) uniforms. There have been little updates to the design elements of wlff uniforms in over 30 years. Both Korena and Summer have a Bachelor of Science in Apparel Merchandising and Design. Summer is our technical apparel designer and Korena focuses on business development. Korena’s husband has been a wlff for over 20 years and therefore has much knowledge of the industry. We chose this path knowing of struggles that many (not all) wlff’s have with their uniforms. Designing/creating these uniforms allows us the opportunity to give back to a group of individuals we have great admiration for.
When we embarked on this journey, we didn’t realize what all it would entail. In the beginning, we quickly had to shift gears from focusing on designing to learning NFPA 1977 (National Fire Protection Association) rules and regulations. NFPA 1977 is the Standard on Protective Clothing and Equipment for Wildland Firefighting. Within this standard, there are specific guidelines on size requirements for these uniforms. Thankfully, early on, we were able to establish a network of trusted advisors to help us navigate the NFPA 1977 procedures.
Throughout this process, we have focused on sizing that would allow us the ability to develop a better fitting uniform. There have been multiple things that have helped in creating our designs with a more technical athletic fit, but two key components are knowledge of the physical demands of wildland firefighters and researching a variety of outdoor arenas. We have also conducted focus groups, wear trials, created surveys and attended the Colorado Wildland Fire & Incident Management Academy to meet face-to-face with firefighters to discuss issues they have (if any) with their current uniforms. Although there are more men in this industry, we decided to offer women something designed for them first, since there is a greater need. Women are wearing uniforms made for men. We’ve had multiple phases of prototyping and from the most current feedback, believe we have something that most of the individuals are very pleased with. Our goal is to have uniform offerings for female wlff’s for the 2020 fire season.
Has it been a smooth road?
This has not been a smooth road by any means. The biggest obstacle has been the NFPA 1977 Standards and trying to make changes to the size requirements. All of the individuals that sit on this committee are very knowledgeable in many different areas and most want to see some sort of change, but are hesitant at the same time. We had proposed several different options, trying to appease all members. At the end of the day, it’s hard to make everyone happy. Our advice to any young women starting their journey would be to stay true to yourself, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and take time to celebrate the “wins,” even if it is a small victory. .
We’d love to hear more about Green Buffalow.
We are excited for the launch of our women’s uniforms, but are also looking forward to have men’s offerings in the near future. We have plans to expand into other industries/markets as well.
Who have you been inspired by?
The women in the field are most inspiring to us. At times, they are performing very physically and mentally demanding tasks, but finish the job without complaint because they love their jobs. This is a good reminder to us to push through when we feel things are extremely daunting.
- Website: www.greenbuffalow.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @greenbuffalowltd
- Facebook: @greenbuffalowltd
Capture Me Photography, by Chandra