“Our goal was to create gear that would last a lifetime or two. We really wanted to create something that people could pass on to their kids. We stand being our products 100%.” – Heather
Whatcom County spoils us in it’s abundant access to nature. There exists a dynamic blend of city life and the eagerness to get outside and enjoy the mountains, rivers, lakes and sea.
So in effect, Pacific Northwest people love their gear. It enables us to enjoy the outdoors more – by being prepared for it. And usually, simplicity is key. That’s where PNW Bushcraft comes in.
PNW Bushcraft creates hand-made leather and canvas goods for the outdoors people. Their first product in 2014 was the “Foraging Pouch”, a simple wax treated canvas bag that while not in use rolls up to a small square that attaches to your belt. When in use, it folds out to an extra pocket to store foraged mushrooms, berries, rocks, or anything else you might find on your journey through the woods.
“My husband really wanted quality gear and…it’s really expensive! So he was like: I’ll just start making it myself.” – Heather
This is how the whole idea started. After Todd (Heather’s husband) shared some of his really cool gear on social media people started asking for it. It spread from a local Bellingham social circle to PNW Bushcraft creating products for people worldwide.
All of PNW Bushcraft’s products start from a need. Someone asks if they can create something custom they go for it. When it’s finished, more people ask for the same product.
Todd does most of the leather work, while Heather does the canvas work. Even Heather’s Mother is part of the venture, working on the sewing and pattern work.
What was the toughest thing when starting up your business?
Finding customers and finding an easy way to communicate with our target market.
And how about the toughest thing now?
Adding different product colors, adding different dye colors and just expanding our product line. Since our items are so specific, we’re always trying to come up with new products. We have so many repeat customers, but our product line is only so big. Todd is always brainstorming what to make next.
What is your big why? Why did you create this business?
We love the outdoors, and want to get people outside. This starts a bigger project for us where we want to teach outdoor classes and workshops in a friendly and supportive environment. Our products certainly help to support that mission.
So what’s your vision for PNW Bushcraft 5 years from now?
Five years from now we want to be teaching classes, hosting campouts, and have most of our business surrounded around getting people outside. Our products continue to sell, but I don’t think that’s going to be our main focus.
“We want to promote more of the lifestyle, not just the product.” – Heather
What is the toughest part about owning a business in 2017?
I think the hardest part is that it just never stops. It’s just the amount of work it takes to keep a business going. Wearing all the hats – exactly! I’m playing the role of mother, chef, shipping department, product photographer etc. I love it though!
PNW Bushcraft continues to create products while hosting outdoor meetups on their property. At these meetups Todd and Heather gain valuable feedback about their current products, talk about new product ideas and meet awesome new people who are also passionate about the outdoors.
If you would like to purchase a product, you can find them on Etsy.