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To find out more behind how Bradley Mountain got its start and what’s in store for the future, Josh interviews Bradley Mountain founder, Tyler Axtell
More about the episode...
Josh sits down with Bradley Mountain founder Tyler Axtell. Tyler created his first bag early, while attending college; in his spare time he would make bags and work with his hands as a way to unwind. Now, Bradley Mountain is a lifestyle brand that exists to inspire the creators, makers, and innovators of the world. Their bags and leathers goods are made by hand from their home base in sunny San Diego, California. Follow along as Tyler lays out his journey in this week's episode of The ReddyYeti Podcast
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- Check out Bradley Mountains website
- Bradley Mountain bags of all shape and sizes
- High quality, small goods
- Gifts under $100
- The perfect goods to spruce up your home
- Bradley Mountain apothecary
- Bradley Mountain accessories
- More about Bradley Mountain
- Follow Bradley Mountain on Facebook and Instagram
What is Bradley Mountain all about?
“The biggest things that stand out about us is we design and create our products in house here in San Diego. We build them around the kind of lifestyle we live… The brand exists now to activate people into their dream adventures and into starting businesses of their own…”
How did you get into hand making bags and lifestyle products?
“I started out with no experience like everyone does… I kind of had this dream of a bag that I just thought would be fun to make. Something that wouldn't be too baggy, have too many excess features; Something that was stripped down and be something that I wanted, and I had no plans to put it on the market…”
What did you go to school for and did you pursue starting a company from day one?
“I went to school for sociology and I was studying with the goal of being an overseas aid worker or, helping in some way. I just wanted to help people and impact culture…as that unfolded into my education I fell in love with making. I would go home after lectures and would just unwind and make stuff...”
How did you get from your original prototype to a solid product ready for the market?
“The truth is I’ve just spent countless hours in my garage...Just figuring out little pieces at a time; sketching ideas, buying more leather, and working multiple jobs. Really just grinding…In terms of the skill and the design, that came with testing out each product myself and then asking the next question...”
Did you bring on people that already had experience in making bags to form your team?
“There’s not that many people I’ve met that know how to do this stuff. There’s a community of people out there to tap into but, I didn’t really know too much...I slowly started bringing people in…”
Who would you say is the ideal person that would be looking for a product from Bradley Mountain?
“The mid 20’s, late 20’s person that really wants to start investing in their future; things they’re going to have for the next 20, 30 years and they’re willing to be a little creative and different…”
What aspect of the productions makes your bags such a sturdy, rugged, product?
“There’s so many people out there who’ve never had a bag that is made out of wax canvas and leather, they’ve never even touched one, and when they do they can’t believe the texture and the detail and the durability of it...People are used to buying things that looks good but, they’re not used to owning something that breakings in and wares in and actually gets better as you use it…”
What would you say is something that not a lot of people know about you or Bradley Mountain?
“What makes us stand out is we really care about other people's journey, and as we grow as a brand we want to start mobilizing that peice of us… The dream would be to send people on trips and get people together and go on excursions that create an environment for people to share stories and really push each other…We really want to sit down with people and be there...”
Have you had any mentors that helped you build Bradley Mountain?
“I’d say I’ve had that role split between a few people...Just having someone there to bounce ideas off of who has struggled with the same things and is farther along than me has been huge…”
What is Bradley Mountain’s commitment to sustainable manufacturing?
“For us and the journey for me is that I love making stuff and I love working hands on with people, seeing every step and making sure everything is exactly how we want it...Getting to make everything here, in the US, gives me that opportunity everyday… My commitment for Bradley Mountain is to be a place that manufactures and to build a community here that, as we grow, can be supportive of each other's ideas…”
What would you say is the culture that exists within Bradley Mountain?
“I’d say the culture we have here is quality, efficiency, fun, and encouragement...We’re always lifting each other up, we’re always taking a minute to catch up, we’re always in here invested in each other's lives...There’s a ton of pride all around in what we do…”
What is an average day like for you at Bradley Mountain?
“All up until last year I was working between 40-60 hours a week making bags… As I’ve built a team and they’ve just taken it on and are doing so well, I’m able to working on marketing new products, working with awesome boutique shops, and making that transition from a maker into a leader…”
What would you say has been one of the hardest part of building Bradley Mountain to where it is now?
“I think knowing our value. I have a humble view of myself and I think one of the hardest parts is learning that I offer value, that my brain dynamic offers value and it’s taken me a few years to really believe that…”
What are some of the books you’ve been reading to help you along?
“The Four Hour Work Week is an amazing book… The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, is the one I’m reading now and, Phil Knight’s book Shoe Dog…”
What has the journey of growth been like for Bradley Mountain?
“...The journey for us has kind of been this steady upward growth for the past five years...I’ve had to be creative with growing our social media reach and just our awareness of people who know about us…The beginning was very slow, it was just me just making bags...”
What would you say is one of your biggest fears with Bradley Mountain?
“One of my biggest fears is missing a chance to inspire someone, missing a chancing to provide a quality experience…I think that everywhere we go and everything we do can affect people which is why I’m really meticulous about quality in the shop...”
What have been some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made since you started Bradley Mountain?
“There’s been times in my career where I’ve probably compromised more than I should have, just once or twice. Those things really eat me up because I feel like I’ve missed an opportunity to tell our story right…”
What advice would you give someone that wanted to start a business?
“If you feel like you have something valuable, if you feel like you’re starting with something, you have to really believe in that and mold it and test it...If you have something that you want to take to market, find the pride in it yourself…”
What is the best part about running Bradley Mountain?
- “The best part for me is to be able to work on a lot of mini projects. I don’t feel limited...I get to sketch something out and then created it and the distance between the sketch and the final product gets shorter and shorter…”