Sick and tired of backpacks that make you choose between style and functionality
Grab a Be Outfitter Tahquitz Pack and rock a pack that will help you get where you need to go and make you the star of the show!
To find out more behind how Be Outfitter got its start and what’s in store for the future, Josh interviews Be Outfitter founder, Rory Rogan
More about the episode...
Josh sits down with Be Outfitter co-founder Rory Rogan. Often times you hear of entrepreneurs taking a major industry switch to take a chance on a business opportunity that they just can’t pass up. For Rory Rogan, his switch was a little more extreme. Rory went from being a merchant marine to launching an incredibly successful kickstarter campaign and crafting a lifestyle brand to promote outdoor exploration and celebration. Join us as Rory, shares how his incredible passed experience as a Merchant Marine, not only opened up an opportunity to create such amazing products but, fueled the fire to build Be Outfitters.
Have an opinion? We want to hear it! Join the conversation and leave a comment, check out show notes, and get all the links mentioned in this episode below
- Check out Be Outfitter’s website!
- More about Be
- Check out some of Be’s products and their newly added Tahquitz Pack!
- Follow Be on Facebook and Instagram
- How Great Leaders Inspire Action - A Ted Talk by Simon Sinke
What is Be Outfitter all about?
“Be Oufitter is an outdoor lifestyle gear and apparel company...We grew up surfing and climbing and by no means are professional athletes at what we do...we needed gear that works the way we live…
What’s so unique about your newly released Tahquitz Pack?
“We kind of bisected the worlds of lifestyle and the aesthetics that you get from amazing lifestyle brands. On the other end of the spectrum we wanted a piece of technical equipment where we’d be able to slide down the side of a rock face here in southern california and not have it rip…”
Where did the name come from?
“Down here in southern california is Tahquitz, which is depending on who you’re talking to is the birthplace of modern climbing…”
What is the background of you and your brother jeff?
“We grew up in delaware, I’m the middle of three boys and Jeff is my younger brother. We grew up about 5 or 10 minutes from the beach and would do anything in the water that we could...we were always outside and as we grew that appreciation grew...I went to the United States Merchant Marine Academy and Jeff went to the University of Delaware and after we graduated we decided to move out to San Diego…”
How did you go from going to school as a merchant marine to starting Be Outfitters?
“...I went to college to learn how to navigate commercial vessels and Navy vessels around the world. While I was there I spent a lot of time out to sea travelling around the world...When I was at school I needed a bag so, I made a bag by hand. A couple other events since then lead up to where we are now with Be Outfitter?
What are some of the favorite places you’ve traveled to?
“Jeff and I did ome product testing working out some prototypes in New Zealand. We took a safari truck around New Zealand for a month…”
What was the process for developing Be Outfitter’s products?
“It was certainly a learning process because I have no background in textile or design. Jeff and I knew what we liked and what we thought was missing in the current travel and outdoor market…we went through the list of all the pros and cons of what we liked about these products...We got paired with an amazing product design team that helped us through the process...”
How did you get aligned with your product team?
“A guy we knew introduced us...luckily they were keen and eager to give us a helping hand and the helping hand turned into a much larger relationship…”
How did you run such a successful kickstarter? Any tricks or tips?
“I think it was our branding. There’s a lot of packs out there on kickstarter but, what really put us above the noise was what we’re trying to do as a company...We really wanted to capture the essence of what it means to go outside and be apart of something bigger…”
What tactics did you use to launch it with such success?
“They say that about 92% of campaign that aren’t funded in the first 24 hours usually fail and I was given the advice to reach out to anyone and everyone I could to support us. I quite literally texted and messaged everyone in my phone to the point where Apple thought I was trying to hack the iPhone system…”
Did you and your brother have any mentors that helped you build Be?
“We’ve been so incredibly lucky to be surrounded by so many amazing people. We actually have three other partners in Be as well as ourselves. They’re incredible, they have full time gigs else where but, they completely allowed us to be where we currently are…”
What is the dynamic of your team?
“We’re at the stage where we don’t necessarily need 5 employees and Jeff and I are able to handle the day to day operations on our own…”
How do you keep sustainability in mind when developing your products?
“That was one of the key pillars to why we selected the manufacturer that we did...We are supplying our materials from people that are trying to keep things as sustainable as possible. It’s a thin line, you can be on one side of the spectrum or the other…”
How do you figure out which supplier really is a good fit?
“We were lucky that our product design team helped walk us through the manufacturer selecting process. We knew first, that the fabric that we wanted to create was a Korean fabric...We initially had a list of 5 candidates then narrowed it down to 3...We went to visit the factory that we’re now working with and the experience was incredible…”
What has been some of the hardest parts about building Be?
“Being a young entrepreneur and not knowing some of the finer details, when it comes to margins for instance… Finding all that took some time and just like everything else it all comes down to money…it’s not the most fun thing but it’s part of the process. If you don’t do it and go through it then you don’t gain the experience...”
What is your greatest fear and how do you manage it?
“I think a big thing I want to do with Be is sell a lot of products and I want to create products that people love. But, I think my biggest fear is not making an impact with Be in the people's lives who are our customers. If we are not doing that in my mind, we aren’t being the business that I originally set out to be…”
What legacy are you trying to create with Be Outfitter?
“The first thing that comes to my mind is somebody who is going through some rough stuff in their life and they see our product, and maybe our bag is the first backpack they take backpacking. There are some profound things that can happen in the outdoors and I think hopefully that our products can be a catalyst for some of those things…”
What are some of the biggest mistakes that you’ve made?
There’s been times where we’ve spent money that we didn’t need to...we worked with some PR companies when we first started, back in 2013. It certainly was a pretty expensive endeavor…”
What advice would you give someone that wanted to start a business in the outdoor space?
“You gotta really really want it. So bad that it almost consumes you in the best sense of the word. If you aren’t fully committed then it’s not going to happen. Not only in a monetary sense but, also from a time sense. Be willing to take those punches and get back up, because it’s really easy to say ‘ok this isn’t really working out’...”
Where do you see Be Outfitter headed into the future?
We’re working on another kickstarter project that will launch sometime closer to November. It’s definitely a product that’s never been seen before. From there, we’d love to grow our team, start doing things both locally and internationally where we’re able to take this whole idea of creating an experience and taking it to another level…”
What’s the best part about running Be?
“Learning more about myself, I think...just being able to work on something I love everyday…”
What were your roles when you were working on the ship?
“Everything from manager pipeline systems and fire systems to all the safety systems as well. I worked a midnight to noon shift for four years where I worked 21 days on 21 days off…”
What made you decided to be a merchant marine?
“I just didn’t want to wear a suit and tie everyday. My father was a merchant mariner and was a captain on an oil tanker for the majority of my childhood…”
How many places have you been to in those four years?
“Unfortunately sailing’s changed a little bit since my father was there. It’s a little bit more streamlined...I didn’t really get that storybook sailing that used to happen but, it was a job and it paid well and it certainly gave me the ability to do what I’m doing now…”