All Things Jeep Blog & Musings

The Secret of how All Things Jeep’s Go Topless Day began

Posted by Jean Wnuk on Mon, Aug 01, 2016 @ 12:14 PM

A customer recently asked us how All Things Jeep’s Go Topless Day got started. That’s a dirty little secret I never really wanted to give away but feeling nostalgic as 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of this event, I thought I’d share the story. It’s a perfect example of small business bootstrap marketing! If any of you are small business owners, you will nod your head in appreciation.

Back in the early part of 2008, All Things Jeep was still a fledgling company. We were about to turn 5 years old. We had gained enough traction to just recently move into a real warehouse, in a larger office park, and outside vendors were showing up at our door regularly. The guy who wanted to sell us retirement services for our employees, the company who wanted to sell us an alarm system for the warehouse, and the local newspaper that wanted us to advertise were just a few of the people ringing our door bell.

Turns out the woman wanting to sell ad space in the local paper also did some writing for it. And she happen to be working on the Springtime section of the paper, “Happenings around Boston this Spring” which was going to be published the following week. It was April 2008. Did All Things Jeep have a springtime “Happening” for the paper? It did not. A small e-commerce company selling hats and t-shirts to Jeep enthusiasts doesn’t have “happenings”. But if it meant getting a write-up in the local paper for 1000s to see, well then, heck, we were going to have a happening!

The 2nd week of April 2008 we came up with the idea that Jeep owners in New England have the spring ritual of taking the top off their Jeeps and let’s celebrate it as the national holiday it should be! Let’s pick a day and call for a celebration and let’s see if we can get free publicity for the company. Thus, Go Topless Day was born. Once the “Happening” was submitted to the paper, we had no choice but to make it happen, just in case the paper published the event! We called a local farm stand with a big parking lot and asked if we could hold an event there. We got our designer to create a logo for Go Topless Day, and we started talking it up to the local Jeep community.
Go_Topless_Day_Tshirt-2008.jpg
The paper never published our event (I suppose the name had something to do with it), but by then, we had the t-shirts (above) and were marching forward with the event. And to incent people to show up, we said that we were going to cut the top off a Cherokee so it could go topless too!

Thus the opportunity for free publicity became local Go Topless Day. But you know Jeep enthusiasts! But they time the day arrived, it had become the First Annual International Go Topless Day for Jeeps! Our local event occurred in Lancaster, MA and about 80 Jeeps and owners showed up. Through word of mouth, we had Jeep clubs all over the world also participate. We had a photo contest and gave away cool prizes. We had some kick-ass entries! Here’s a 2008 Go Topless Day write-up a blogger did.

Here's one of our all time favorite entries into our Go Topless Day Photo Contest.

jeepers-go-topless-day-2008.jpg


The event that was invented to get our name in a local paper has become a phenomena in the Jeep community and next spring, we celebrate the 10th Annual International Go Topless Day! We are thinking about ideas on how to celebrate a Ten Years of Topless Day! If you have suggestions, post them in the comments section. And remember, when opportunity knocks, go topless!

Tags: AllThingsJeep.com, go topless day 2009, "go topless day", gotoplessday

Ah crap, I thought I wouldn't cry about Jeeps again.

Posted by Jean Wnuk on Thu, Jun 23, 2016 @ 03:56 PM

When I sold All Things Jeep back in 2010 after my husband and co-founder of the business passed away, it never occurred to me that I’d be back sitting in a chair in the ATJ office working in the business again. Ok, to tell you the truth, it did occur to me that it might happen. But when the new owner moved the core portion of the business out to the west coast, I dropped that thought and pondered my next career move outside of the Jeep world.

Since then, I’ve worked a bit, raised teens, and sold most of our Jeeps and become more “practical” in my car choice. (Insert frown face here.)  I’m embarrassed to say that one day I sold my 2007 4 door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and purchased a used Honda CRV (that didn’t have a “death wobble”) for my kids to drive. (My coolness factor plummeted at least 50% that day.) And during this time I've also stayed in touch with the folks at ATJ.

A few months ago I started hearing the rumblings of some potential news that the ATJ warehouse might be moving back to the east coast. Turns out the rumors are true. It’s exciting to grow a small business from scratch and watch it blossom into a thriving business. It’s like a baby. In fact, All Things Jeep WAS our other baby. It started out helpless and needing all of our energy. We grew it out of diapers, through the toddler years (we launched Go Topless Day ™ then,) and into its adolescent years. Through the passion and dedication of the ATJ team, the new (and current) owner, and the enthusiasm of our amazing customers, I think of All Things Jeep as a full fledged successful “grown-up” business now. It’s been heartwarming to see. I know that my husband, Norman, would be so incredibly proud of what we created and how the customers and employees alike have kept it going. The business is exactly what he wanted it to be, and I wish he was here to see it. (Actually, if he was, he’d still be running it so he’d be here every day.)

Well, the title of this blog post is “Ah crap, I thought I wouldn’t cry about Jeeps again” and here’s why I said that. Recently, I was asked if I’d be interested in coming back to ATJ part time to help out with a few things. I said “yes”. And I thought about what it would be like to walk back into an office just miles away from my home, where Norman and I started the business 13 years ago. I knew it was going to be sentimental. It was like a child that had grown up and gone off on their own, coming home. But, I’ve been a bit removed from ATJ over the last few years, and I didn’t think it would feel as personal as it once would have. I thought I wouldn’t cry or anything, coming back “home”. But I was wrong. I walked into All Things Jeep again, and my eyes welled up with tears. There are lots of new faces here. And LOTS of new products. And lots of space. But as I walk through the warehouse, I see some of the same products we launched with 13 years ago (the Jeep cookie cutters, the Built In Run It Break It Fix It Repeat T-shirts, the Life is Good Native Jeep Hat). My heart got all warm and gooey. Yes, this is a sentimental post. However, our customers were my friends and my family. The Jeep community is close-knit and connected. All Things Jeep has always been more than just a company, it’s been a way for Jeep fans to stay connected with their community, to keep the Jeep passion alive. So I cried some sentimental tears. And now I’ll get to work! 

 

 

 

(The first day I walked into the warehouse. Items were just being loaded onto the shelves. Want to see photos of what it looks like now?) 

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Tags: ATJ, AllThingsJeep.com, Jeep Warehouse, Crying about Jeeps

A Run In with an All Things Jeep Founder

Posted by Lindsey Borreson on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 @ 05:19 PM

norm&jean resized 600

You may not know this, but our east coast office is still located in the small Massachusetts town where All Things Jeep was founded. One of the wonderful things about a little New England town, in addition to post-card worthy rural scenery and the sense of community, is that you run into people you know when you least expect it. Just this morning, I ran into Jean Wnuk, co-founder of ATJ, getting gas and coffee at the local refueling spot. I was lucky enough to work with Jean and her husband, Norman, as an intern when ATJ was still run out of a historic mill building.

After our brief hello, I started thinking about the time I spent with Norman and Jean and the fledgling online Jeep gift store that I watched them pour their hearts into. Many of you knew Jean and Norm, either through the Jeep community or from being customers of All Things Jeep. You knew their love for these crazy vehicles, their passion for their customers, and their dedication to making ATJ a success. Many of you also knew the sorrow that we felt when Norman passed away unexpectedly in November of 2009.

Seeing Jean this morning brought me back to the roots of our company and made me think once again how lucky we are to have been founded by partners in love and life with such a strong vision for their business - to be the #1 source for unique Jeep gift items.

Next time you start your Jeep, think of Norman, a man who lived and breathed the Jeep life. It's a Jeep thing...yeah, he understood.

Lindsey @ ATJ

About All Things Jeep

Tags: All Things Jeep, AllThingsJeep.com, "go topless day"

Go Topless in Foxboro, MA

Posted by Angelo Lanham on Thu, May 03, 2012 @ 06:55 PM
GTD12 MA EVENT POSTER 

Local Jeep owners and off-road enthusiasts will join All Things Jeep and Ocean State Jeepsters for the Foxboro, MA, celebration of the fifth annual Go Topless Day.  It will be held at WC Motorsports, just across the street from Gillette Stadium. The event, hosted by Michael and Stephen Nashawaty of Taunton, MA, will be sure to send hundreds of Jeeps crawling up Route 1!

The event will feature a Rock Garden, RTI Ramp, a “Jeep Playground,” activities for the kids, food vendors, Jeep vendors and Raffles.

More details may be found at http://www.allthingsjeep.com/ go-topless-day.html. If you're not lucky enough to live in Massachusetts, be sure to check the site – chances are, your local Jeep club is coming around and hosting an event of its own.

For more info, contact us at [email protected]

Go Topless Day is a worldwide phenomenon during which off-roaders shed their Jeeps' tops in celebration of the sport of off-roading.  The first Go Topless Day was held in the spring of 2008, a small gathering of enthusiasts in Lancaster, MA. The idea came to Jean and Norman Wnuk, founders of AllThingsJeep.com, as they thawed out during the close of a brutal New England Winter. They realized that Jeep and Off-Road communities needed a special day to rejoice the beginning of the Topless Season.

Since then, participation has grown to over 150 clubs, as Go Topless Day annually unites topless Jeepers everywhere to celebrate of the off-road lifestyle and form parades, organize cleanup events, picnics and, our favorite, pose for pictures.

Tags: AllThingsJeep.com, "go topless day"

All Things' Jeep Go Topless Day 2012!

Posted by Sierra (the dog) on Fri, Mar 16, 2012 @ 02:16 PM

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All Things Jeep announces the 5th Annual Worldwide GO TOPLESS DAY on May 19th, 2012 and Thousands of Jeep Owners Worldwide Expected to be Topless

San Jose, CA – March 16, 2012 –On May 19th, 2012, AllThingsJeep.com is sponsoring their 5th Annual Worldwide Go Topless Day and invites Jeep owners everywhere to participate. Go Topless Day is about celebrating the spirit of fun, freedom, and adventure that people love about Jeep and off-roading. What started as an idea for a local event in 2008 quickly grew to a worldwide phenomenon through the help of the Internet. Over 100 Jeep Clubs and several thousand more individuals on five continents participated in the event last year and this year’s Go Topless Day is expected to double that amount. For more details, visit http://www.allthingsjeep.com/go-topless-day.html.

Go Topless Day is when Jeep owners everywhere take the tops off their Jeep, and join in parades, picnics, park clean-ups and community service with fellow Jeep lovers. Last year’s Go Topless Day was the largest coordinated event among Jeep owners to ever exist. A complete photo album can be found at http://www.allthingsjeep.com/go-topless-day.html. Sign up to participate either individually or as part of a group and AllThingsJeep.com will send you materials to launch your event.

About All Things Jeep All Things Jeep runs www.allthingsjeep.com and is one of the largest providers of gifts, apparel and memorabilia to the Jeep® and off-road market. All Things Jeep delights Jeep® owners with items that enhance their adventurous lifestyles. Visit www.allthingsjeep.com for the perfect gift for Jeep® lovers including Jeep memorabilia, clothing, decals, tire covers, watches, jewelry, seat covers and more.

Tags: Go Topless Day Photos, go topless day tees, "go topless day" "Jeep meet and gre, AllThingsJeep.com, "go topless day", "go topless day" "jeep photos", "drop your top" "jeep t-shirts"

What happens when your hero is gone?

Posted by Jean Wnuk on Wed, Dec 02, 2009 @ 08:50 AM

Norman Wnuk, founder and CEO of www.AllThingsJeep.com passed away last week, from a massive, unexpected, heart attack. He was 44. He was my husband. He was the founder of our business we ran together for 7 years. He was passionate about his love of Jeeps, his love of AMC Pacers (yes, I know, hard to explain that one), his love of creating & building things, his love of learning, his love of our business, and his love of his friends and family.

I don't want this blog article to be an obituary, but I feel the need to post my thoughts and put them out there in the world. So read on if you'd like, and shut down this window if you desire.

The reason I fell in love with Norman was because he was so passionate about learning and about doing well at the things that interested him. He comes from a family of business owners and after years of working for big companies, he knew the right thing for him, professionally & emotionally, was to build his own business. I came along for the ride. And it's been a ride. We used to argue with a friend of ours who also has an internet business. Our friend didn't really have any interest in the product he sold, he just enjoyed the business aspect of things. Norman, on the other hand, has been an avid off-roader & Jeeper for 20 years. He wanted to start a business that his heart was in, something he loved and was passionate about. The business person in him saw the opportunity on-line in e-commerce, and thus All Things Jeep was born.

Like most small businesses, we have struggled over the years. Will this work? Or will it fail? We have made our share of mistakes. But we've learned from them. We've worked harder than I ever thought possible, compromising many things in our lives and giving up a lot to grow and nurture our business. We are so attached to it. It is a part of us and our customers are a part of us. It is incredibly rewarding when we hear from our customers and we've made them happy.

Norman inspired me to set a goal and work to reach it, in spite of obstacles. He taught me to reach my limit, and then go beyond it. He made me realize that a commitment to something means doing whatever it takes. And we've always agreed that our customers are the most important part of our business.

My heart is pretty much breaking as I write this, but I wanted to share with our customers and anyone else who comes across this blog, that his live, which was way too short, ended when he was feeling good about reaching his goal of creating and running a successful small business. That was a giant dream of his. And he achieved it. And it IS because of our awesome customers. He died extremely satisfied with what he had achieved. (Of course, his Pacer restoration is not complete, but I know one of the 17 other AMC Pacer fans in the world will come forward and volunteer to finish the restoration!) Norman's life wasn't a flame that went out, but I think it was a spark that will keep many other flames alive. That's what he would want. And that's what he will get. Here he is in the CJ8, ready to overcome every obstacle that gets in his way.

Norman Wnuk & his '83 Jeep Scrambler 

Norman, looking like the typical, young business owner.

Tags: AllThingsJeep.com, Norman Wnuk