For 18 years, Tyler Jordan cut his leadership, product development, operations and outdoor market experience at Arc’Teryx, serving the last eight of those as CEO of the iconic outdoor brand.
Now, Tyler has his own company in 7Mesh Industries, a B.C.-based technical cycling apparel company catering to men and women riders who love all disciplines of the sport.
Tyler and his crew at 7Mesh found a niche, and he labels it the intersection of outdoor technical and bike. If anyone can throw that phrase around, it’s him. But the bike industry is very different from outdoors, and there are subsectors in cycling with fanatical-level passion for their sport, all concentrated in the single market of bike.
Being an entrepreneur in these markets, Tyler says, has incredible highs and lows, but as he and his team at 7Mesh enter their second full season, this young and energetic leader wouldn’t have it any other way.
Tyler drives 7 Mesh to always be straddling the line of innovation and performance. He never wavers from his goal of constantly looking for ways 7Mesh can be improved.
I’m very proud to have Tyler as my interview this week on The Intrepid Entrepreneur podcast. Not only does he tell the amazing story of his entrepreneurial journey, spanning from Arc’Teryx, through the 7Mesh start up, he also talks about taking on 7Mesh with a bit of a different stance on prioritizing his outdoor active lifestyle and his approach to entrepreneurial cross training. This show is a must-listen!
Tyler summed it up perfectly when he said “entrepreneurialism is a life in the fast lane and the deep end. If it’s in you, life is too short not to go after it.”
This episode offers some of the best start up advice available so get ready to learn, to be inspired, to take away specific action steps, and to take your ventures to the next level with Tyler Jordan on Intrepid Entrepreneur!
Giveaway: Enter to win a 7Mesh Resistance Jacket below
We’re giving away one of each, men’s and woman’s
Bravery in Business Quote
(click to tweet)
The Cliff Notes
- Create products that raise the bar from a quality standpoint, and you will always have customers
- When your user group is people like you, you understand how to speak to them in ways others can’t
- Don’t allow yourself to be trapped in the ways you did things before. Use new opportunities as a fresh start in processes and direction
- The more high-end your physical product is, the more people will want to touch, feel, try on, your product before they buy
- Give customers the choice of how they want to deal with you, and buy your product
- Embrace your community, to find out what you’re doing right, wrong, and how you can improve
- Avoid “me too” products. Bring something new, exciting, awesome, and needed to your industry
“Entrepreneurialism is life in the fast lane, and in the deep end. If it’s in you, life is too short not to go after it.” – Jordan Tyler
(click to tweet)
Habit for Success
Just because you have experience in a certain area, does not mean you should be doing it the way you’ve done it in the past. Continually be innovating and testing new systems and process.
The Intrepid Entrepreneur free March Master Class offers one full hour of training on Nailing your Brand Storytelling. It’s free! It’s awesome and you can sign up and save your seat by going here: http://intrepidentrepreneur.net/MarchWebinar
Kristin: Tyler Jordan, welcome to the Intrepid Entrepreneur Podcast.
Tyler: Oh, thanks very much for having me.
Kristin: It’s awesome to have you here. Are you calling in from Squamish today?
Tyler: Yes, I’m calling in from my home in Squamish because it’s a bit too noisy in the office to get anything productive done conversationally over the phone.
Kristin: Which I completely understand, but just so the audience knows, I think there are dogs and children that could be a factor on either side of this conversation.
Tyler: Absolutely that’s very true.
Kristin: So, I’m so excited to have you here today, you’re here primarily obviously to talk about 7Mesh Industries, and I also wanted to talk to you about your amazing entrepreneurial career in the outdoor active lifestyle markets. But let’s start by having you give us an overview on 7Mesh.
Tyler: Okay, 7Mesh is a company that myself and two partners founded a couple of years ago. And basically we spent a year developing our first product line and bringing it to market and really we just completed our first real year on the market.
Kristin: So 2015 was the first full year?
Tyler: That’s right, so we delivered our first products in Spring of 2015 and what we make is high performance cycling apparel. We make gear for various weather conditions, for men and women, for road bikers and mountain bikers and we’re trying bring forward what we believe are products that reflect a fresh perspective and a high level of quality and performance for people that are passionate about riding.
Kristin: And obviously you’re talking to your audience is me, your ideal customer I’m sure, so I’m really excited to talk with you about the vision that you bring and while I don’t want to make this “let’s talk about your background at Arc’Teryx” it’s important to touch on that and what I’m hoping to do is enable our audience to discover the bridges that you saw from the passions that you had with Arc’Teryx to the very real need in cycling that you are experiencing that Arc’Teryx can fill. So talk a little with my audience about your background at Arc’Teryx.
Tyler: Sure, so going way back. I can go way back when I talk about Arc’Teryx because I was there for quite a long time, it was essentially my first job after I graduated university as a biologist—
Kristin: Love it!
Tyler: and I didn’t know really know what I wanted to do with my life. So I took a year off and travelled and during that time I rode bikes and I climbed and did some cool things. And when I was absolutely completely out of money I moved to Vancouver, Canada, primarily because I wanted to be on the West Coast and I decided I would figure out what I would do next. And at that time I bumped into a very small climbing company to make climbing harnesses called Arc’Teryx. And what was effectively my first job became something of a career. I grew up with the company from being a climbing harness company to a backpack company to a small apparel company to a very large apparel company. I spent 18 years there and the last 7 or 8 as the CEO and it was a tremendous learning experience and a really wild ride. I got to work with an amazing number of fantastic people. I give a lot of credit to them for, in my view, really changing the way people looked at apparel in the outdoor industry and really upping the game in terms of the level of performance. During that time I was an avid climber and rode a lot of bikes and did fun other outdoor things and really became familiar with technical apparel at a really deep level. And as I looked at the different activities I did and I saw where Arc’Teryx had an impact and I saw what other companies were doing, I really feel like apparel went through a pretty big revolution in the last 20 years, but felt that in some ways cycling apparel didn’t keep up. There were some really good companies out there doing some really great products, but overall the standard wasn’t quite as far along as it should be and there needed to be a new way of looking at things, and I ultimately decided that I would go and start engaging with the team I put together a new business that would try and address that challenge. So we started 7Mesh with the view of trying to make the best possible products we could make for performance riders and we almost did that from kind of an outdoor, almost an outlying backcountry mindset of be fast and light, move quickly, stay dry, if you get wet, dry quickly, don’t carry any extra weight with you, strip it down to basics, and go, go, go, and 7Mesh was born.
Kristin: That’s awesome. So when you founded—or you weren’t exactly the founder of Arc’Teryx but you were a founding employee basically, is that the right way to term it?
Tyler: I was an early employee, I wasn’t a founding employee, I believe, I think I was the fourth office guy, so the two partners that ran the business and a designer and then myself. And when I came in my title was administrator, I just did a little bit of everything. I was just the guy that would just kind of try to plug all the gaps left behind by the others doing cool things. So it was a great learning experience and I got to really learn the business at a deep level, all facets of it and that’s where my experience and background really came from so I’m very grateful to those guys for giving me that opportunity.
Kristin: That’s great. So you mentioned that you were—well you mentioned so many things I’m fascinated with—first is that you graduated with a biology degree because I absolutely love that you’re not, like, this minted MBA with like a wall full of trophies from Wharton, you know? You are a climber who basically followed your passion, found the right tribe within Arc’Teryx, and honestly went for it. And I’m sure that you showed initiative and they gave you stuff because you showed up hungry. But can you talk a little bit about—were you a big wall climber? Obviously Squamish, I can see how that might be what you were, or were you more of an Alpinist? Because the way that you’re talking about your entry into the outdoors market as a climber, I could use a little more context around what type of climber you were because it explains the product that came after you were at arc’teryx
Tyler: Sure I would say that where I ended up as a climber was not necessarily where I started. The people who taught me how to climb came from a more traditional climbing background, three points of contact and thou shalt not fall.
The climbing industry in the late 80’s was moving away from that and really starting to get into support climbing and bolts and spirited debates about whehr or not these new forms of climbing was acceptable
So I kind of learned from a traditional mindset but then was quickly infatuated with the more gymnastic aspects of climbing. Training hard, climbing when you can, problem solving, that kind of thing
Ultimately I went from climbing longer routes to primarily being a boulderer and exploring new areas, getting into the wilderness, finding places that hadn’t been climbed before, putting up new problems, and pushing my own limits physically. Boulder problems tend to be generally shorter, more technical, very intense powerful problems compared to longer routes that require more greater stamina, endurance, and time.
I think that probably reflected adapting to my lifestyle as well where we were awfully busy when we were working and putting a lot of time into the business so being able to go out and climb hard for a couple of hours was a really great thing to be able to do.
Kristin: That’s awesome. So obviously you’ve been a cyclist the whole time, did you do that n college or did you discover it after college?
Tyler: It’s actually kind of a funny story in that I went through a very brief, very focused, aerobic period of training. I was really interested in road cycling when I was a teenager but didn’t really have the opportunity to pursue it as a passion so it was just a recreational thing, just something i did once in awhile with a couple of friends. In university through an odd chain of circumstances I ended up buying a triathlete magazine one day just because saw the cover and thought it looked pretty interesting and the next thing you know I decided that I’d like to do a triathlon.I started off that year by doing a short triathlon after doing a year of training, a year of training which I could barely swim at the start of it so it was a pretty epic learning experience for me.
Two years later I achieved something that I’d said I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do, that I’d argued that you needed to be genetically gifted to be able to do, I completed an ironman in 1992.
Kristin: Very cool.
Tyler: It was cool but the most interesting thing was that was right before my year of traveling the world and having fun and I essentially dropped cycling for a period after that just because I was trying to train to climb at a high level, ride at a high level, swim at a high level, run at a high level and I just couldn’t keep it all up anymore. So I kind of got into this situation where I really had to choose so I focused on climbing for a few years and got reasonably ok at that and then after getting injured a number of times climbing and needing to do something else in my spare time I started riding and skiing more and that’s where I really embraced riding and pursuing it much more actively.
Kristin: And you’re still doing a split of road and mountain?
Tyler: I kind of waiver back and forth depending on the season and what I feel like but I road bike, mountain bike, cyclocross, I do a little bit of everything. I do lots of things really poorly.
Kristin: So I’m in the same boat. So I’ve discovered since verde is across all of these markets and I have interests across all these markets I’m the jack of all trades master of none as well with these outdoor sports. Although I have a feeling that you’re probably operating at a higher level but the point is the people in outdoor and the people around climbing are very different than bike people. It’s one of the reasons that I love having clients in these three different, four different spaces, snow sports, endurance, bike, and outdoor primarily and I feel like each one has a different tribe. Even within bike, the mountain bikers, the road bikers, and the cyclocross people are different but the bike culture…tell us about how that might have been part of what drew you into 7Mesh.
Tyler: It’s interesting…that’s’ a fascinating challenge and you could talk about it for hours. Those are different groups in some ways with different sets of values and ways of approaching our activities. But at the same time it’s not a single user group where every person in it is the same, there’s lots of tribes within tribes and sub-tribes. So when we went out to try to find what we would do differently, what we would do that was relevant, or what was worthwhile we had to talk a lot about who our customers were going to be? Who were we making these products for? Were we going to be a mountain bike company or a road bike company or a bike and outdoor company or what?
We ultimately decided to define our consumer group as people like us. We’re a part of our own tribe, we’re friends that came together, we’ve climbed a bunch, we’ve ridden a bunch, some of our guys are super hard skiers, lot’s of people run once in awhile or run passionately on the side. We really recognized that the user group that we understand are people that are passionate about these activities but tend, as a group, to do other things and have had a varied background or mixed it up a bit. Some of these people road ride or mountain bike on a very high, competitive level, but these are the people we understand.
If you are going to make products for people, you need to really understand that market. Rather than trying to go out and understand a market or pretend to be something that we’re not, we’re betting that we can make products that we think are relevant for the tribe that we already understand and that those products and that brand will be relevant globally.
So far we’re on that journey and we’re pretty happy with what’s happened so far.
Kristin: Looking at the dichotomy of when you were doing this for arc’teryx, let’s say you’re presenting a new category or a line extension ersus now when you could actually know your target audience so well that you know exactly where to find them online and you know exactly what their tribe’s dialect is and what the subtribes are because of the way consumers are interacting with brands and because of data…I think it’s a whole different world would you agree?
Tyler: I think it is a whole different world and I think the challenge for us is to not be trapped in the ways that we did things 10 or 15 or 20 years ago. This is a fresh opportunity for us to learn knew skills and do new things and we have to be very careful that we pull the right skills and experience from our background and apply them to this new world and don’t just try to carbon copy an do something similar. So there’s some real advantages to having a bunch of experience and there’s some real risk if you let that stop you from learning new tricks. Yes there are some fresh opportunities to use new tools and new data and new ways of reaching people, but those tools are also available to our competitors and other companies that are up and coming that might have grown up with those new skills and might be better at that than us SO every day we have to challenge ourselves to learn how to do these things better, but certainly we feel that there is an opportunity to reach people further than we otherwise could with our initial message. So we say that we’re not going to start as a regional or local brand, we’re going to reach out and start tapping into that global consumer that shares our same set of values and interests.
Kristin: How have you been able to portray your specific approach with 7Mesh? Are you going with influencers or ambassadors? Are you going with a hybrid distribution model? Can you talk a little about how you want to find and engage your fans and tribe?
Tyler: I can tell you what we started off doing and I can tell you where we are today and they’re slightly different as we’ve learned and taken our own steps on this journey. We started, and still predominantly approach our business with a wholesale business model which means that we concentrate our limited resources on building better products. That means we’re spending our money on the design side, the development side, the time side, the energy side. As a consequence, with finite resources, that means we have less ability to travel the world, tell our story, market, sponsor teams or events, we’re more limited in that regard. The ramification of that is that we wanted to reach people through the really great specialty bike retail partners that we could get on board globally. The idea for us was to make great products and partner with great stores on the specialty side that had their own following, had their own consumers that they could reach and talk to, they would listen to them and trust them to say “hey these are some great new products from these guys at 7Mesh, you should check them out” That’s primarily our business model and we’ve been following that, and I’d say that harkens back to our past and what we did at our previous job experience.
If you look at what else we did, we also launched consumer direct at the outset. So though we weren’t focused on it, we did open our own website and start selling directly. That’s not the primary focus of our business model and that’s not our goal to go in that direction, but what that does it it let’s us try to access those early adopters and those tribe members globally hat might not be able to find a product in a retail store near them for several seasons or years from when we launch. The last thing we want is to have someone who’s really fascinated or excited by what we’re doing and wants to give it a try but not be able to access our product.
So we do sell direct but it’s a very small portion of our business and it’s more focused on building relationships with people that are passionate, that enjoy apparel, that enjoy cycling, that like our brand, that want to give us feedback, that want to contribute to what the next iteration of a product is gonna look like or what direction we’re gonna go next, and those relationships are equally important in terms of giving clues on what we should do to make the business succeed.
Kristin: I love that so you’re almost using that as…well for somebody like me based in durango, we don’t have a 7Mesh retailer yet so I love that you’re covering that bridge for me with consumer direct, but you’re also building buzz and enabling me to understand exactly what it is you’re offering with this product. Cause it’s a technical product. If you look at backpacks or skis or actual hard goods like bikes and kayaks, you can research that oline by reading magazine articles or looking at sell direct sites etc but you really want to be able to go and touch and feel that product.
Tyler: Absolutely I think that’s a big part of it for us is that ultimately we believe if you’re going to make really nice expensive soft-good products. You know an expensive apparel. That’s high performance people really do want to try it on see how it fits touch and feel the difference and so on the e-commerce side of course what you do is give people the ability to return products no questions asked.
But fundamentally what we want to do is we want to give the customer the choice of how they want to deal with us and buy products and when I look at reaching that consumer that early adopter they can’t get a product of a brick and mortar location I look at that person as seeding a brick and mortar location for us so I want to I want to be able to get that person a product that they can wear in the local bike shop and say “Hey check this out have you guys heard of this brand? You should you should give these guys a shot I’m loving this jacket or I’m loving this jersey or i’m loving these shorts”
You’re not going to sell people something they don’t need or want or can’t benefit from so if you’re passionate and believe you’ve done something worthwhile and that people are really going to be excited with the product then you’ve got to do everything you can to try to get them out there and connect with those people that can benefit from it.
Kristin: So I wanted to ask this question because again I really do believe that I’m your target consumer or at least one of them may be a female version of it. I really love riding my road bike and racing and I love mountain biking It’s why I moved to Durango.
But traditionally I feel like I have to have two different wardrobes for that. But then there’s also a part of me that totally gets and understands the technical apparel piece from my background in outdoor and in snow sports etc. and I feel like the white space could be maybe there is a single collection that could work for both is that a pipe dream that I have or do you guys think that there is a sweet spot there?
Tyler: Well it’s interesting because we debated this a lot again during the formative days of the company and we ultimately decided the from our own personal experience.
Given that we’ve done everything from freeriding it downhill through to cross-country mountain bike racing through to cyclocross and road racing and as well as touring etc.
What we decided is that what we wear on the bike is much more of a concern for the conditions and place that we’re riding it in than the type of bike that we’re on top of.
What we found is on a cross-country mountain bike race on a sunny day everybody looks like a road biker traditional road biker with a lycra Jersey and lycra shiney shirt.
And if somebody is touring through the Alps or the Rockies on a road bike and during a thunderstorm they look a lot like someone going to go mountain biking on a rainy day.
So we developed our product line around that kind of motif and what we ultimately ended up with.
Is some products that we think cross over very well, some that are very road focused and some that are very mountain focus so while that’s a little bit more difficult to communicate to people and it’s not cut and dry.
We think it’s actually a very honest presentation where depending on the style of riding you do and the type of person you are you know we have different products that are more applicable for different types of conditions and you can decide what’s best for you.
Kristin: I like that you know the other thing I really like is you’re going in your second year in 2016 and you’re launching a women’s specific collection, can you talk a little bit about the impetus behind that and good for you for not waiting five years thanks.
Tyler: Well I’ll take the credit and actually ask for a little bit more and then I’ll tell you what we’ve done right and wrong. And for the little bit more we did launch with a women’s collection as well
Kristin: Oh ok that’s even better.
Tyler: When we started we were somewhat idealistic and we ideally wanted to make an equal number of men’s and women’s products to service those markets equally.
What we ended up doing was we started developing the same number of styles and we ended up launching fewer women’s styles than men’s but what we wanted to do to show our commitment from the very top.
After conceding to the reality that we just can’t sell as much women’s product as men’s in the early days.
As dealers and as distributors are less likely to take a big risk on you at the outset and want to take your least risky products which tend to be men’s which are a greater volume than women’s.
What we did is we said you know we won’t compromise the top end and instead of launching any middle of the road product for women we’re only going to launch our most technical advance, premium performance oriented styles for women and so the very first pattern that we finished was actually our flagship jacket the revelation and it was the women’s version that we we finished first.
Which is something we take a little bit of pride in that we would if we went down that road all the way with our very most premium flagship piece.
No we went for the top and that was partly because it was right thing to do it was partly to try and send a message and engage and this is where I think we haven’t done quite as good a job but the the intent is to say “hey our company is mostly men we don’t know women’s product as well as men’s or we can’t pretend to know what it’s like to be a woman rider as well as we can you know male riders obviously so let’s show our intent to make the best products in the world for women riders, and then let’s embrace the community and say tell us what you want tell us what you need to tell us what we’re doing right and wrong. Help us build better products for you” and that’s where we are today is trying to expand our collection a fair amount and yes yes we do have quite a women’s collection expanding quite a bit for the spring again we added to it in the fall and are adding in the spring and we’re quite proud of the pieces that we make and think that they are tremendous products so the idea there is to really kind of embrace that community and learn from them and that’s something that can be a challenge for us because it’s not going to come as naturally to a predominantly guy group of people.
Kristin: Well you know I love that you’re so honest about it and I know that in your you know background company at arc’teryx you guys did a great job obviously being a pack brand you have to know how to you know delineate and provide a product that works for both core users if you will both male and female.
So I have no concern at all that you guys are going to figure it out but my favorite part is that you have opened the dialogue and that you went for it the way that you did and I think there’s a lot of props that you deserve because of that and I also just you know want to point out the fact that you’ve mentioned that you’re really obviously you know product of this king. That’s who you are it’s who you’ve always been and you’ve really prioritized innovation in the product. I’m sure there’s fit and everything else that goes into making like a truly technical cycling product.
But doing that I think you’ve had to maybe put ambassadors and like you said sponsorship etc on the back seat like how can you actually convey the nuances of your product without using points of entry like that or are you starting to do that this year.
Tyler: Well we do a little bit of it we have a small ambassador team and we have a kind of a behind the scenes team of quite a decent stable of local athletes that are testing our product for us and give us immediate feedback and this is very much true in the outdoor world as well as in the cycling world the best way to rapidly iterate product when you’re building your own prototypes is to have a high performance team of very local riders that can test product quickly and get it back to you as opposed to big name sponsored athletes that may not be as sensitive to the nuances of the product some people are better than others and that are traveling a lot and are harder to stay in touch with.
So we have a kind of a public ambassador program and then behind the scenes we have quite a large group of men and women locally to test our product for us and give it immediate feedback.
I think that the challenge for us on the marketing side is that we just do not have the resources or the reach of the existing bigger brands and on the apparel side you end up having challenges building marketing partnerships because so many sponsored athletes already have a sponsor that conflicts in some way.
If you want to partner with a bike company like Surveil or Rocky Mountain or a Santa Cruz or what have you then you face the challenge of of who are the riders sponsored by and what are their individual conflicts etc.
So our ability to reach is largely centered around those early adopters and those consumers and those local teams and local riders and that’s where we’re exploring ways to say how do we get high performance gear on key influencers in appropriate areas that will be excited to not just you know have a product but to try to give you feedback embrace it and spread the word to the community that maybe there’s something interesting there that people should have a look at.
The possibilities there are are myriad but it’s hard to establish those connections and choose which way to go and that’s something that we’re working on actively virtually every day.
Kristin: Again giving customers the choice being like a core tenant to what you guys are doing at 7Mesh I think really frames that whole approach very nicely.
Obviously you want to pull in people that are interested in your product and that are already your consumers and then activate them in their communities it sounds like which I think is a really cool strategy.
Tyler: Absolutely and we’ve had mixed success where we’ve done very well you know we’ve exceeded our expectations in some areas and faced challenges in other areas and that’s something that you know it’s not something you just map out in advance and then proceed, it’s something where you’re really opportunistic when you’re choosing opportunities that come up that are best for you and you’re learning from them and then moving forward and so I think we’re we’re doing a good job of interfacing with the people that we are and we’re looking to expand that reach in the coming seasons and years for sure.
Kristin: So I have to ask you have been an entrepreneurial in the outdoor active lifestyle markets for upwards of two decades. Even though I know you started when you were 10 so you’re still really young but tell us can you talk about maybe like one spectacular FUBAR that you had along the way in being an entrepreneur in these markets.
Tyler: is this in my 7Mesh experience, something that I’ve screwed up along the way?
Kristin: whatever kind of pops to mind first. Just because I think we’ve all had them. It’s like it’s like a raft guide. You’re either going to flip a raft or you already have several times like it’s something you have to do you know in order to actually be an entrepreneur.
Tyler: I’ve got a good example of something that I consider kind of unfinished business where I didn’t get it right. There is kind of a life lesson in it but the actual event that happened is kind of less important than kind of the learning that came out of it.
When I was at arc’teryx and I was CEO there, ultimately you know the CEO takes responsibility for everything and has control of the ship and so I accept that everything that happened when I was there on my watch to some extent or another reflects on my performance.
That said you’re working really hard and moving really fast with a lot of moving parts and it’s very difficult at least for me and my personality style my management style to control every aspect of what you’re doing. When I mention my personality style and my management style I’m very much a guy that pulls a team together. People that are much smarter than me at what they do and specialise in their area and so I’m more of a guide of a group of people on a spiritual journey and trying to hold the you know keep everybody moving roughly in the same direction while learning from each other at the same time and counting on good things to happen.
To that end you know our execution was not always you know our ultimate performance and execution wasn’t always what I wanted to accomplish.
We launched some programs at arc’teryx that were side projects to what we did as our main business.
What you learn is that your ability to execute at a high level goes down really quickly as you get spread really thin because there’s not enough time in the day to communicate and control all the variables and when I look back at my arc’teryx experience I think as successful as that company was and as focused as it was I think we could have been even more successful if we were more focused and made sure that we put off new projects on time lines that we could execute on that a higher level.
Because ultimately what happens is you end up doing things with people saying well why did you do it that way and you say well I kind of don’t know because I kind of didn’t mean it to go that way but that’s kind of where we ended up and that is in my opinion a little too weak a statement for a leader to make and so I accept that what I needed to do was make sure that if we had a strong vision for something that we control the output such that we were close to the target at the end of the day.
Kristin: I think that’s a fantastic learning that you’re just sharing there and I think you know just the nature of outdoor enthusiasts and entrepreneurs who want to join this industry we have that propensity to kind of like be all over the place and look at the bright shiny object and get super excited about because we’re so passionate about what we love and that’s why we want to be in these businesses so that that take away of focus is fantastic so thank you that’s perfect.
And I also like to give you an opportunity to talk about maybe what was the most exciting maybe it was overcoming the risk in seeing a runway that you didn’t think was going to be there as soon as it was like can you also talk a little bit about maybe you have recent success surprise that you had as an entrepreneur where you’re pleasantly surprised by something.
Tyler: Yeah. I mean maybe surprise isn’t quite the right word but I would say that after after quitting my previous job and rethinking things taking a bit of time off and getting my thoughts together getting involved with some good people and pulling a team together to launch a new brand I think a pivotal moment for us was when we first launched our collection to the trade at the eurobike and interbike trade shows in the fall of 2014 and that’s where you know you put a couple years of thought into something you put you know 12 months of really hard work into pulling something off in a very short timeline and that’s your moment of validation or not and I would say you know being able to launch in those trade shows and getting a favorable response and people were really excited was really rewarding and I’d say the greatest part of that for us and the part that surprised us the most was how interested and welcoming the other apparel brands were in the cycling industry so we were we were visited and spoken to by managers and designers and senior people from many of the other big new apparel brands that came by and they were really complimentary and I think not threatened because we were doing something that was a little bit different than what was and is mostly available today and they came and said “really interesting, great job, love to see what you’re doing. Clear that you’re trying to do things differently and bringing something new to the industry” and really generally very complimentary and to me that was the biggest positive surprise and exciting moment for us was a moment of validation and relief and excitement and joy after a long period of working really hard for something you believed in but you really didn’t have any evidence that you were right until that point.
Kristin: That’s awesome I love that and honestly like that speaks so perfectly about the bicycle industry internationally I think I think everybody in that trade understands that innovation drives that train and that’s probably why they opened the door for you saying congratulations and welcome to the you know here’s your seat at the table. That’s great.
Tyler: I think people really appreciated that we weren’t just trying to do a me too product and that we were not afraid to push the envelope a little bit and do our own thing and again it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re trumpeting that our products are better than anybody else’s it’s that our products were worthy and they’re great products and different than what you can get elsewhere and I think people appreciate it we were kind of bringing real value to the industry.
Kristin: That’s awesome and then I also wanted to talk like obviously this is your own deal you’ve got a team on this one it’s your your vision that you’re moving forward with here but it also sounds like you kind of set your career life or your lifestyle up a little bit differently by maybe adding in some cross training around some boards you’re serving on etc Can you talk a little bit about how you’ve maybe learned from your past role at arc’teryx in kind of how just head down you were and focused on that world and how it’s actually helped you to maybe spread your wings a little bit. With 7Mesh in terms of like getting involved in some other projects that are actually helping keep and sustain your vision at 7Mesh.
Tyler: Yeah I think I think that’s actually been something that’s been a really exciting kind of personal learning experience for me.
Anybody that knew me or knows me from my days at arc’teryx knows that I’m incredibly passionate about the brand.
Really don’t really understand this concept of work life balance because to me it all rolls together into one and me at arc’teryx and for a long time kind of for my entire career and that’s just that was how I learned how to do business and how I learned how to live my life.
But the potential downside of that is that I almost bordered on being myopic at times I wasn’t really working on networking or growing my reach or looking outward a lot we were so focused on what we were doing it was great and we had so many opportunities in front of us we were really head down concentrating on taking arc’teryx where we thought it needed to go and post my time at arc’teryx what I really thought was going to happen I was like wow I need to take a break. I mean I’m going to take some time off before I decide for sure you know I have some ideas obviously but I was like I’m going to take time off make sure I’m sure of what I want to do next. But what happens and what I didn’t realize and you know when I’ve been in that position for so long is it when I quit my job the phone started ringing a little bit and I had the great fortune to be invited to meet some cool people and see some other cool businesses in this space.
But coming at it from you know an almost religious fervor point of view from arc’teryx it was hard for me to really get excited about seeing some of these other businesses and tell me when did it and what I discovered is that there are some other businesses out there with really cool stories and really cool people and really cool brands and they’re on their own mission to change the world and do what they think is best and they’re absolutely committed to building better products and building better brands and changing the way the outdoor world works.
That was hugely rewarding for me and I started learning really fast from some of these companies and you’d asked me before a boa technology. And I went to boa technology not knowing much more about them than having used their products.
And you know thinking well why am I going to visit a company that makes reel systems to replace laces on these various products not shipping and what is it about this that’s compelling and when I got there and such a fantastic people and amazing corporate culture where everybody’s youthful and athletic excited aggressive trying to build a great brand great business working with some of the best brands in the world world I mean it it’s it was it was absolutely contagious the enthusiasm there.
And so every meeting I go to at another company every board meeting or every visit I come away with two sets of notes sets of notes about the meeting and sets of notes of take away things that I learned to take back to share with my team at 7Mesh about how we can approach problems differently and solve problems differently.
It’s been a really really valuable learning experience for me in the last few years.
Kristin: Tou’re an athlete so I’m just going to go ahead and call that cross-training for entrepreneurs.
Tyler: There you go either way. It opened my eyes to just how much you can learn approach wise from from other people when you really pay attention to what they’re doing. There’s there’s some excellent things happening out there.
Kristin: Awesome. So right when this episode comes out your march or sorry your spring line is going to be debuting in March and your website will have a refresh. Can you talk a little bit about a couple highlight pieces that you’re just super stoked about.
Tyler: Yeah I’d say that when we launched our first collection we focused pretty heavily on outerwear because it’s something that we had a bit of a background in outerwear some we’re confident we could make some good products there and also we thought that the cycling industry in general was a little weak on the outerwear side of things and so we could really establish something different.
And that was pretty effective for us and carried us.
That was kind of the the the hallmark items of our collection anyway, our collection was bigger but that was just the main talking point through 2015 and 2016 what you see is kind of a much more well-rounded expansion on the line for a bunch of different products for a bunch of different conditions so you know if you’re if you want to back down from rain and cold weather protection and really look at what are the average products that people wear on a sunny day or a mixed day or a cool day for men and women that sort of expanded our line so we have new shorts for men new shorts for women, new jersey’s coming out, new vest systems and hybrid products and so rather than point out a specific product I just point out that what it does is it really fleshes out the collection to show people the scope of our intent as a cycling company so there’s there’s still elements of weather protection and about products that enable you to go out for longer and harder in conditions that you might not have gone out in before.
But there’s also many high quality fresher takes on products that people might be a little more familiar with or comfortable with from the previous riding experience and so I think that that expansion of the collection really is going to do the job of showcasing what our ultimate intent is with 7Mesh.
Kristin: And that’s a lot to get done in just going into your second full year of business so congratulations I mean that’s it’s got to feel good to bring that like collection feel if you will and have a rounded out assortment for your end consumer.
Tyler: Yeah I’d say that our our our product eyes are bigger than our tummy and that we have to create and live that the rest of the business to keep up and catch up.
But certainly we’re not we’re not short of ideas of what kinds of products we think we can make that are new and fresh and better.
And we have to kind of contain our enthusiasm a little bit to make sure we pay attention the rest of business because it’s still quite early days for us and we’re you know we’re still in quite a volatile state for a while until we can really establish a good connection with consumers globally with what we’re doing.
Kristin: That’s awesome. So where can my audience learn more about 7Mesh.
Tyler: Well our website is probably the best way to see the product line we have some blog pages there that explain our approach to product and how we go about developing products and about how we think and how we go about things and that’s www.7meshinc.com and then on our Facebook page and instagram you can follow along and see what we’re working on next and what’s coming down the pipeline and we do share sneak previews on there and stuff and share a little bit about the process of building a business which we think for us is as exciting and interesting as building the product.
Kristin: definitely I think it supports the whole premise of the design philosophy when you discuss that and I want everybody listening to know it’s the number 7 in 7Mesh 7 is not spelled out so it’s 7MeshInc.com and we’ll have all of this in the podcast notes page and also Tyler and I are scheming about a product giveaway which will also know where to do or how to sign up for on the podcast notes page as well so I just want to say on behalf of my audience Tyler thank you so much we’re so excited to watch this next chapter of your professional entrepreneurial career in the outdoors markets unfold and we’re just lucky to have people like you in here innovating starting new products bringing teams together and basically just kicking the you know what out of it. So thank you so much.
Tyler: Thank you very much and I also thank your listeners, to all the entrepreneurs out there It’s been an incredibly rewarding journey so far. I think that it’s it’s definitely a life in the fast lane and in the deep end everything feels very real and intense.
The highs are very high and the lows are very low and there’s a an excitement and stress level at the same time that permeates every waking moment of the day. So it’s it’s definitely a wild ride an exciting journey and if you’ve got your dreams I think it’s too short not to kind of go after it and see if you can’t make it happen.
Kristin: Amen. That’s why we need each other too you know because we all understand that crazy wild ride here.
Tyler: Absolutely and we are we’re super grateful to all the people that support us along the way and I say that’s one of the great learning experiences of founding your own business is that you realize just how many friends you have and people that you can trust and people that want to help you know just because they see you want to go somewhere.
Kristin: And that’s especially true in these markets thank you so much for pointing that out.
All right Taylor we’re going to be watching and I cannot wait to see this new line and give it a spin out in Moab in fruit and Durango inCrested Butte and I could go on and on and on.
Tyler: Well thanks very much for your time today.http://intrepidentrepreneur.net/wp-admin/post.php?post=7851&action=edit
Kristin: Best of luck we’ll talk to you soon.