Meet Tracy Slocum, founder, and CEO of Pretty Rugged, who created the world’s first blanket with luxe faux fur on one side and waterproof, windproof, washable RuggedTex® fabric on the other.
Slocum drew inspiration from her great-great-grandfather, Captain Joshua Slocum, who wrapped himself in fur to withstand inclement weather when he was the first person to sail around the world alone in the late 1800s.
The Pretty Rugged Blanket, created in 2017, is the definition of liveable luxury. It’s modern with easy-care materials that are designed to provide years of luxury, performance, and style. With its many uses, including taking the chill out of sitting on metal bleachers while watching football games, it’s great for picnics, tailgating, après-ski, curling up on the couch and so much more.
It was my pleasure to check in with Tracy, founder, and CEO of Pretty Rugged, to chat about her inspiration behind the brand and how she continues to push the boundaries of innovation.
What is the meaning behind Pretty Rugged’s name?
Tracy Slocum (TS): I wasn’t set out looking to start a brand, I was truly looking for a product that fixed a problem my family had. When we would go out on boat rides and the air was chilly, we’d get cold and sometimes wet. We needed a blanket that would keep us comfortable, keep us dry, and was beautiful. It didn’t exist. So, I made one.
I would bring it to my son’s baseball games, concerts, nights on the dock, and boat rides – soon my friends and family were asking for their own. I can remember the night this idea became a company when I was talking with my friends about what I’d even call the company. I said: “The blankets are pretty, but they’re also rugged enough for life.” I paused for a moment and thought: “That’s it, that’s the name – Pretty Rugged.” And the name was born out of exactly what the product is. We’re “pretty” but we’re “rugged”.
Your great-great grandfather was the first person to sail around the world in the late 1800;s – how does he continue to inspire you and the brand?
TS: His entrepreneurial spirit has lived in me from a young age. I’ve always been one to forge my path and his “go-for-it” attitude is in my DNA. I was 43 when I started Pretty Rugged, with two sons, and Joshua Slocum started his journey around the world alone (and he couldn’t swim!!!) when he was 51. His story is an inspiration to millions, even to this day, because it shows that age is just a number. You can do whatever you want when you want. I also feel that as a woman, it shows that you can have a family and follow your dreams. I truly feel I’m living the American Dream.
What makes Pretty Rugged’s blanket technology unique?
TS: Pretty Rugged is the only company that marries faux fur with a windproof, waterproof backing to protect you from the elements. We’ve expanded from our RuggedTex™ nylon backing and introduced our indoor blanket with waterproof SatinTex™ (proprietary to Pretty Rugged) backing. So, you can sit on the couch and not worry about life’s little mishaps. Our faux fur is also unlike anything you’ve ever felt. It is the softest, most high-density faux fur. We’re frequently told it’s the highest quality faux fur ever felt. I call this redesigned luxury. We’ve made a product, a faux fur blanket, and we’ve elevated it so that it fits in with your life.
Can you talk about the Pretty Rugged Americana Ribbon Embellishment featured on each blanket and what it stands for?
TS: Pretty Rugged is the embodiment of the American Dream. I knew I had to incorporate red, white and blue. Every time I see our red, white and blue ribbon I beam with pride – it’s a symbol of my success and a tribute to every pretty rugged person out there living their version of the American Dream.
What are Pretty Rugged’s values as a company?
TS: Innovation, Courage and Passion.
What additional products does Pretty Rugged offer and what makes them special?
TS: We’ve expanded beyond our Original Blanket. We now have it in two sizes and have introduced our Satin-backed indoor blankets in two sizes. Customers kept asking us for “wearable blankets”, so we expanded into women’s outerwear and select accessories.
We’re very discerning when creating a new product. Can we make it beautifully? Is it windproof, waterproof and washable? Does it have more than one use, is it reversible? Is it something me and my team would wear? We test and wear everything before we bring it out. It takes us a couple years to introduce new products, we want it to be perfect for our customers.
Can you describe Pretty Rugged’s target customer?
TS: Our target customers span generations. We truly have something for everyone. If you’re looking for comfort wherever life takes you, we have something for you.
Can we anticipate any new product launches?
TS: You can always anticipate new products from us! We’re in constant product development mode to bring our customers the best products. This year we focused on new colors of our best sellers, as requested by customers. Stayed tuned for 2024!
To shop Pretty Rugged, please visit: PrettyRuggedShop.com