Lisa Gerber is a digital storyteller with more than 40 years of experience bringing ideas to life, and the host of the Gear Show – a podcast geared towards telling the unique stories of outdoor professionals, entrepreneurs, CEOs and athletes and how they do life and business on their own terms. She recently talked with our co-founder and President, Bill Gamber about the Big Agnes start, our product innovation and the daily company culture found around our office in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
If you’re happier and more comfortable when you’re outside, you’ll play more and stay out longer. That’s why Big Agnes, aka, The Mother of Comfort, a Steamboat Springs-based company exists – to make you more comfortable in the outdoors. Bill Gamber, one of the founders, joins us today to speak about how a great product, good timing, and a little bit of luck helped him create what Big Agnes is known for today.
In 2000, Bill Gamber and his business partner borrowed the name of a local peak in the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness to start Big Agnes. The company launched with a simple, but revolutionary idea: “never roll off your pad again” with a unique, integrated sleeping bag and pad system. This would be the first in a long line of product “firsts” he would introduce to the outdoors. His innovations over the years have been adopted throughout the industry, earning Big Agnes a trophy case of awards, including 15 of the prestigious Backpacker Magazine Editors’ Choice awards. Little did he know at the time, Bill would be influential in building Colorado’s outdoor economy and shaping the state’s recreational future.
In this episode of the Gear Show, we talked about starting a company, getting distribution, and making decisions – like why Big Agnes doesn’t make car-top tents. We also got the inside scoop on Border to Backyard and how Big Agnes invited (and paid) their employees to hike 740 miles of the Continental Divide Trail from New Mexico to Wyoming. I was hell-bent on finding a formula for building a brand and company culture but in the end here’s my takeaway: The team at Big Agnes let their actions do the talking, and I think that’s what sets them apart as a great outdoor brand.
To listen to more episodes of the Gear Show hosted by Lisa Gerber, click here.