“If you can’t build something with your own hands, you don’t belong in business!” – Yvonne Chouinard- Founder of Patagonia
Scott Hunter, owner and founder of Vedavoo, graduated from the University of Wyoming in 2005. An avid rock climber, fly fisher, backpacker and all around outdoorsman, he wanted to have a business making bags, slings and packs for the outdoors. In 2007 he got the opportunity to go to Babson College, America’s premier college for entrepreneurs. After his graduation in 2009, Scott followed his passions to begin creating an American Made manufacturing company with products that would “last for a lifetime!”
The common advise he kept hearing was that this “just couldn’t be done” and he would have to pursue manufacturing in Asia (read China). After fourteen hard months of research, Scott realized that it would be too expensive and cash intensive for his start up costs.
Scott told me that he got an opportunity to meet Yvonne Chouinard of Patagonia at a trade show and speak with him. After explaining his idea for Vedavoo, Yvonne told Scott: “If you can’t build something with your own hands, you don’t belong in business!” Scott also got to meet Wayne Gregory, founder of Gregory Mountain Products who told him “You need to buy a sewing machine!”
So, after this initial fourteen months and having $700.00 left in the bank, Scott bought a used sailmaker off Craigslist and some American sources material. With twelve dollars left in his account for an emergency fund, Scott went down in his basement and begin to learn how to sew.
Scott, for the first time in fourteen months, felt more in control the moment he sat down at the machine than he ever had. With some firmly established concepts in mind and already having worked out the initial designs, Scott went to work. And, Vedavoo was born!
Scott, through trying a lot of other products just never found anything current that worked for him. His focus became the passion to create solutions through simplicity.
One of the great things about Vedavoo and their products is that they are one of the few companies that offer products for kids. Scott decided to do this because he wanted to instill a love for the outdoors in his own son, and give the best gift a father can, a life of example.
And the name Vedavoo? His son picked it! It is the name of a state park in Wyoming that was Scott’s solace when he was going to school there.
Vedavoo packs and bags are hand crafted and sources with American made materials. Each pack is hand cut and sewn. Scott also employs stay at home mothers and grandmothers who, after going through a training and quality program with Scott, are able to help provide for their family with flexibility of schedule and freedom. Vedavoo products are made with heirloom quality that can be expected to be passed down the generations.
The best parts of this interview are Scotts insights into being an entrepreneur and the learning process and experience it provides. Scott’s advise to young men and women looking to have their own business? Focus on the craft. There is such a huge opportunity for American made products and services right now! Scott says that you should “get to 80%”! Meaning, do it yourself and get legs under it before you begin pursuing outside options! Scott ultimately sees entrepreneurship as America’s salvation for our economy and future!