After a year of working with outside designers and factories, I was left with little more than $700 in the company account. To say that those were tough days would be a vast understatement.
About that same time, I had two amazing conversations – one with Wayne Gregory (Gregory Packs) and one with Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia). Both had similar guidance to share – “if you can’t build something with your own hands – you have no business being in business.”
I took the advice to heart – found a classic sail-making machine on Craigslist for $300 – spent another $300 on fabric and materials – paid my website up for the year – and with a $12 safety net, I went to my garage and taught myself to sew.
It’s been a journey – and the early days were tough – but they laid a strong foundation that continues to support our work today. Years later, we still build every piece of gear to order… hand cutting, prepping, and sewing every pack for the customer that bought it. Still tougher than the “traditional path” – but as Mr. Frost aptly put:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.