The motorcade of President Barack Obama leaves Lola's, a Southern seafood restaurant in Oak Bluffs, Mass., on Martha's Vineyard, and cruises to the usually crowded downtown street early Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, after a first family late night social event with friends. Something happened to Obama during his summer vacation on Martha's Vineyard: He turned into a night owl. But this summer, his final one as president, Obama has spent almost every night of his escape to this breezy Massachusetts island painting its towns red - so to speak.
When brothers Shep and Ian Murray cut their ties with Corporate America to start a little company on Martha's Vineyard in 1998, their motivation was clear: "We're making neck ties so we don't have to wear them." Little did they know that the business they founded, Vineyard Vines, would become a darling of the fashion industry and a household brand name around the country. Today, the company best known for its smiling pink whale logo offers much more than their signature neckwear. That "little" privately-held business has grown tremendously since its launch and currently has more than 90 physical retail locations and a highly successful eCommerce business. I met the team at Vineyard Vines while doing research about data-driven marketing technologies for my book, Marketing, Interrupted, and was able to learn firsthand about the company's beginnings, and what has made them so successful today.
As Southern California cedes to the Central Coast at the Gaviota Tunnel, most travelers stick to the 101. Next time take the exit to Highway 1, a mile or so past the tunnel, and cruise 20 miles through oak-dappled hills and past scattered ranches to Lompoc. Lompoc isn't a faux-Scandinavian burg, nor is it a cow town gone Hollywood. It's a small, hard-working community painted with brightly colored murals, surrounded by fields and minutes from the beach and some of the most acclaimed vineyards in the world, with true all-year weather. The clean air is free.