This episode is with Forsake Founder Jake Anderson. Forsake is one of the newer footwear brands in the Outdoor World. Launching in 2013 Jake and his team have put together a great collection of Mens and Women’s active footwear. Jake tells us how two guys with zero footwear experience saw a market opportunity, wrote a business plan and turned into a growing brand. His story about their first sales presentation is pretty funny, many of us have been there.
First Exposure to the Outdoors
I grew up in upstate New York not too far from the Adirondacks and I think my first exposure to the outdoors wasn't a particularly positive one. It was one of those drag the kids along the families going camping for a weekend. It rained the whole time and us kids complained, that was when I was pretty young. When I was probably in like 7th or 8th grade I got really hooked on skiing and that has continued ever since. That was the first really inspiring part of the outdoors for me. We also started a tradition among some high school buddies in high school where we would do a backpacking trip in the Adirondacks just about every summer. The trips always revolved around some sort of a certain goal, whether it was finding a mountain or doing a certain route. That type of goal-oriented activity in the outdoors was always more appealing to me than just more general let's go camping for the weekend.
Things we talked about
Eastern Mountain Sports
So in the Outdoor industry there's no really clear path, you really have to find your way in and I think if you're willing the easiest way is to just start with customer service. Start at the bottom, learn the customer, learn the operations, figure out how these organizations work and chart your path from there. If that's not appealing to you or is not a place you want to start. There are some degree programs focused on product design and engineering. There are a number of programs around the country at schools that offer one year Master's degrees in product development. Places like The University of Utah and the University of Oregon. I think those are are the closest you'll find to a more formal practice in the industry, specially if product is the way you want to go. So that would be my suggestion.
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
Best Gear Purchase under $100