Diane Wren and Mike Pfotenhauer are co-majority owners and co-founders of Osprey Packs, a 40-year-old, independently owned pack brand in the outdoor, bike, snow, travel and urban markets.
Diane Wren has co-lead Osprey Packs with her husband Mike Pfotenhauer for the past thirty years. Mike founded Osprey in 1974 and Diane was on the scene about a decade after that. She saw the possibility for expansion and together, she and Mike led the company to grow while remaining focused on their original WHY for Osprey Packs: product innovation.
This is no easy feat….
Osprey Packs is one of the active outdoor lifestyle markets leading brands and companies and yes, it’s still an independently owned business. It’s grown into a global powerhouse of a brand.
That alone makes Diane brave. … It was great to learn in this conversation about how Diane fell in love with the outdoors (Girl Scouts!) and that she grew up out-numbered by brothers. Why am I not surprised?
But you know what really tripped the brave meter for me in this conversation?
The fact that she and Mike are so focused on Osprey’s WHY that they intuitively have known and remain dedicated to, the best way forward for the brand. That involved some big decisions that would affect their family and personal lives too. …
Diane and Mike moved their very young son from Santa Cruz, Calif., to the Four Corners Region back in 1990. In 1992, they had a daughter shortly after getting Osprey established in its new home. When the manufacturing demands changed around Osprey, it became clear what the next move would be and it was MUCH bigger.
After some convincing from Mike, Diane and the family moved to Vietnam, so that Osprey could establish itself within that community, in the early 2000’s.
This was a major move. …. Major! But it turned out to be one of the best things they could have done for their company and their family. ….
When Diane described herself as Osprey’s First Lady in Vietnam? Well, that was another perfect example of how Mike and Diane do business.
She was really the Ambassador of Osprey Packs in the international business community that they were hoping to become part of.
The role Diane played was crucial within the international business community culture and her success in this role was a cornerstone that had to be in place for the company and their family to be accepted.
It was another example of how Mike and Diane prioritize doing things the right way. From the way their product is designed to how their employees and global stakeholders are family, there is most definitely an “Osprey Way.”
Humble? Yes…. Courageous, brave and focused? HECK YES!
Diane is right there at the heart of it all at Osprey Packs….
Mike and Diane have never waivered when it came to putting their passion at the forefront of their growth at Osprey…. I congratulate them — I am sure it hasn’t always been the easy path but it was most certainly the right one!
Bravery in Business Quote:
We always followed our intuition and kept focus on it. Plus, we knew what we didn’t want to do, which helped guide us too!
Habit for Success?
Choose who you do business with wisely. Another? Always stay true to the reason why you got into the business in the first place. For us, it was a shared love of the outdoors.
Moving from Santa Cruz, Calif., to Dolores, Colo., and the Four Corners Region and then also, moving from Dolores to Vietnam. Both moves were made to ensure the WHY of Osprey –innovation in packs – was prioritized. Also, both moves were made to enable Mike and Diane to become part of the communities that make their products – this is key.
Coolest Expansion Idea:
Osprey Packs continues to grow on a global level. All expansion has centered on staying true to innovating in packs. Mike and Diane had many opportunities to go into new product categories, but they knew staying true to their pack niche was key. This enabled Osprey to grow without watering down its reputation for product innovation.