Clothing brand promotes laid-back ethos

With a message fine-tuned to help its customers remain in the moment, Wilton’s Slothin’ clothing brand is not the kind of business one would expect to have been born in town. Nevertheless, what began its existence around the Ross family dining room table has grown into a fledgling start-up brand.

“We promote a message of taking life as it comes,” said founding partner Alec Ross, a 2008 graduate of Wilton High School.

“In Wilton, there is a really fast pace of life, but Slothin’ is meant to encourage people not to race through it. We shouldn’t be missing life as we live our days,” he said.

The Slothin’ brand may now be found on everything from stickers to sweatshirts — all of which are sold at the online store, Slothin.com.

The company’s logo, a happily smiling sloth, was hand-designed by Wiltonian Barney Hughes, and is what Mr. Ross called a perfect symbol of the brand.

“We needed to merge a caricature and an actual portrait of a sloth — to give a personality to the symbol, to bring the concept to life,” he said.

The brand rests on one tenet, that “there is a sloth that lives within each of us,” so long as one takes the time to find it.

The founding partner said it’s his team’s hope that Slothin’ can help people across the country find this inner sloth.

“We’re not promoting laziness, we’re promoting a state of mind,” he said last week. “We only encourage people to slow it down and take life as it comes.”

Their message has not fallen on deaf ears in Wilton, as the brand has spread from its original fan base at Wilton High to the elementary and middle schools and to other Fairfield County towns.

After a three-year hiatus, the Slothin’ team is back together and straining to see its idea succeed. It will soon be implementing new sales strategies and marketing techniques to help the brand expand across college campuses nationwide.

“Our biggest obstacle is creating our own demand,” Mr. Ross said. “Spreading to more high schools and colleges is key right now. Our interns help us keep the brand fresh to younger generations, so as more students go to new colleges it can expand.

Internships

Slothin’ has helped expand the business awareness of Wilton High School students through internships since its beginning, and this year won’t be any different.

For the three high school interns joining the team for their last month of school — Dylan Hines, Cole Smith and Jack Byrne — working with the Slothin’ team is a great way to learn the ins and outs of business, rather than inputting data at a doctor’s office.

“My brother got me interested in Slothin’ when I was in seventh grade,” Dylan said. “Now, in the most stressful year of my life so far, it’s nice to look forward to Slothin’. It reminds me to take a step back every once in a while.”

Compared to other internship possibilities at the high school, Mr. Hines said, he believes his time at Slothin’ will be far more educational.

“There aren’t a lot of other internships that are this dynamic,” he said. “We’re going to help a local business grow and learn about starting a business rather than just plugging data into a computer.”

Another intern, Cole Smith, said it is going to be fulfilling working for a company he feels is truly “grassroots,” and personal.

“It’s an interesting experience, being our age and being exposed to the start-up world,” he said. “It’s an environment where we can all learn together. I can already tell it’s a very organic situation with a lot of ideas still floating around,” he said.