By Steve Wall
How did you start the company?
I started the company with Fix It Sticks after becoming frustrated with the most ubiquitous tool in cycling. I sketched what I wanted, got it made by a machinist up the street and then little by little, day by day learned more about how to launch a product on Kickstarter, which I eventually did. Fix It Sticks was near disaster many times, but you chip away at it and get better. Then I quit my day job working for FedEx and really focused on getting sales. That went on for 2 years, then last year I launched another cycling specific product, the BackBottle and this year I launched The Weatherneck which has much wider appeal outside of cycling.
What do your customers say about your products?
My customer reviews from Fix It Sticks were always outstanding. No BS, people love those tools cause they work. We made them right here in Appleton for a long time. Now we’ve expanded and even added a shooting/hunting version of Fix It Sticks for torqueing down scopes and general gunsmithing. That’s a new market for us but it is being very well received by the hunting and tactical markets.
What are your most popular products and who is your target audience?
My products each develop their own brand when they launch, so far we have 3. Fix It Sticks have sold all over the world and continue to grow. The Weatherneck is brand new, but generating a lot of interest outside cycling and I love that. I want to learn more about other sports. I took some bow lessons this fall and learned a ton. Every time I learn a new sport I get ideas, so the best use of my time is to learn new sports. It just so happens I love doing that anyway. But my passion will always be cycling.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I love riding my bikes and thinking about what things I am using that could be made better. This is common with entrepreneurs/inventors. People ask how I come up with new ideas and that is very easy to answer. I go do stuff and get annoyed with my gear. It happens almost daily. So new ideas are not in short supply. Just that some of those ideas are completely terrible, some are hacks and not products and some just don’t work. But once in awhile I can turn a frustration into an innovation and sell it to other people who are also annoyed with whatever bothered me in the first place.
What is your favorite hunting or fishing memory?
Favorite hunting storymy dad took me pheasant hunting in SD a few times and the drive out there was always the best. Just being one of the guys and hearing adult conversations for 16 hours was very informative. I was a decent shooter when the opportunity arose so that was fun. But the dogsI think watching our dog work the field and retrieve like she was born to do was the most intense memory. That was magic.
Fix it Sticks
Comments from Wisconsin Outdoor Pursuits:
This is a unique Company Spotlight that covers multiple companies from entrepreneur/inventor Brian Davis. Brian has a passion for cycling and has invented some unique products because of this passion. These products have a reach beyond just cycling though. The Fix It Sticks and the Weatherneck in particular can be very beneficial to any outdoorsman. Please check back for a full review of the Weatherneck!
This is a segment to showcase and share a little more information about some great companies! If you know of a company that would be a great fit for this segment please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope you enjoy learning more about these great companies!
By: Steve Wall
Quality, value and durability are aspects that I look at when making a decision on new hunting product purchases. Having a young family, I need to be smart about my purchases. A quite a few years ago I picked up a pair of Vortex Diamondback 10×42 Binoculars. These binoculars met my standards in quality, value and durability. I have put these binoculars through years of use hunting deer, turkeys, bear and elk.
This past fall, while scanning the woods with my binoculars, something didn’t seem quite right. I was not able to see anything through the right eyepiece. After looking them over, I noticed that there was a loose piece inside. Now, I was fully aware of the Vortex VIP Warranty, but never I never had to use it and didn’t know anyone personally who had. I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I went online and printed out the service form. After filling out the form, I packed up the binoculars and sent them off to Vortex. Within a few days I received an email stating that they had received my binoculars and gave an estimated turnaround time.
I was very surprised when within 2 weeks I received another email letting me know that I had a package coming from Vortex. I was surprised because I sent my binoculars in around the holidays and know that many people take vacation around this time which can increase turnaround time. I received the package the next day and couldn’t wait to see my repaired binoculars. A note was listed on the packing list that they were unable to repair my binoculars. Since the binoculars were not repairable I received brand new Diamondback 10×42 binoculars! I was blown away with the outstanding customer service! I can definitely say that Vortex stood by their VIP (Very Important Promise) Warranty!
Even before I had this great experience, I purchased a 3x9x40 Diamondback Riflescope from Vortex for my deer rifle. I am not sure that I will ever purchase any other brand of optics than Vortex! The great quality, value and durability of their products along with the VIP Warranty is tough to beat! I know that someday I will be able to pass these great optics down to my son!
If you are in the market for new optics, I highly suggest that you check out www.vortexoptics.com
By Steve Wall
Change the way that you hunt from the ground!! The Hilljacked chair from Green Industries LLC will help you do just that. After doing a Company Spotlight on Green Industries, LLC last year, I purchased a Hilljacked chair for myself! (Read that Company Spotlight here!) I had the opportunity to hunt with the Hilljacked chair this past spring during the turkey season as well as this past fall during the gun deer season. The Hilljacked chair is by far the most comfortable and versatile hunting chair I have ever used.
On one of my turkey hunts this past spring I was hunting with my dad in the bluff country of Southwest Wisconsin. I was using my Hilljacked chair and my dad was sitting next to me on the ground calling. After sitting for quite some time, I could tell that my dad was getting restless. I let him sit in the Hilljacked chair for a little while and I sat on the ground. After sitting on the ground for a little while, I realized just how thankful I was to have the Hilljacked chair!
I was also able to use the Hilljacked chair on the opening weekend of the gun deer season here in Wisconsin. The night before opening day we got pounded with almost 10 inches of snow. We were hunting from the ground and I was again thankful that I brought my Hilljacked chair. I was able to adjust the chair to the fairly steep hillside so that I could sit level. I didn’t have to worry about getting wet and cold from sitting in the snow and I didn’t have to worry about sliding down the hillside. I was able to sit comfortably all day without having to move because I had the Hilljacked chair.
Whether you hunt flat ground or steep hillsides, the Hilljacked chair will adapt to your needs. The angle of the chair can be adjusted easily by removing a pin, adjusting the angle of the frame and replacing the pin. The chair has an adjustable strap for transporting the chair to and from your hunting area. I do not have an additional pad or back for my chair but these options are available!
The Hilljacked chair isn’t just for hunting either. It can be also be used for fishing along steep banks for a level place to sit! Green Industries, LLC also just announced the addition of the Hilljacked 2.0 Run-N-Gun. This looks like a little smaller and more mobile version of the original Hilljacked chair. If you are looking to change the way you hunt from the ground, look no further than the Hilljacked chair from Green Industries, LLC!!!
Get your Hilljacked chair at www.hilljacked.com
By: Steve Wall
You may remember SOS Gear from the first Company Spotlight I did (You can check out that Company Spotlight here!) Since then I have bought a few different products and I wanted to give you my thoughts on each of them. So far I have purchased a bow wrist sling, rifle sling and a belt. I have also won a binocular/ camera lanyard through an online giveaway.
The first item that I purchased from SOS Gear was the bow wrist sling. There are many different style options available to accommodate your preference on look and feel. I decided to go with the “Dragon Claw” style. My first impression when I opened the box!? Wow!! The quality of the craftsmanship was exceptional. I have no worries about the wrist sling ever coming loose unless I want it to! Which leads me into my next point. It is a great feeling to know that I have a product that could also help in the case of an emergency!
The second SOS Gear item that I used was the binocular / camera lanyard. This was an item I won through a social media giveaway. I replaced my Nikon strap on my DSLR camera with the SOS Gear lanyard and absolutely love it. I get numerous comments about how great it looks when I am out in public with it. The lanyard is comfortable to wear around the neck and the length is perfect!
Having been impressed with the quality of my other SOS Gear products and being in the market for a new rifle sling, I decided to order one from SOS Gear. I was not disappointed! The rifle sling comes with the swivels attached. The rifle sling can be ordered to the length that you desire! One of the greatest benefits I noticed was that the sling doesn’t slide down your shoulder like many other slings do. I was able to comfortably carry my rifle this past season without any worries of it sliding around on my shoulder!
The last product I ordered from SOS Gear is a product that I use on a daily basis! A belt! I have been wearing the belt daily now for a few months and absolutely love it! The quality is exceptional as with every other product that I have ordered from SOS Gear! Granted it has only been a few months, but the belt looks brand new even with daily use! The only suggestion I would give you with ordering a belt is to measure a current one to make sure you order the proper length. I ordered mine without double checking the length of my previous belt. The belt is still long enough but doesn’t quite have the tail length I was thinking. Please note that this is no fault of SOS Gear, this is my own laziness of not double checking the size. I guess I could stand to lose a few pounds anyway!! If you are in the market for a new belt, I would highly suggest checking out a paracord belt from SOS Gear. A great looking belt with superior durability and exceptional functionality!
If you are looking for great quality paracord products from a company with a superior customer service, look no further than SOS Gear. You will not be disappointed! Something I have not touched on yet but is another great reason to order from SOS Gear, color options! SOS Gear has a wide range of colors to choose from and always seems to be adding more! This allows you to customize your order to match colors of other products on your weapon!
Check out all of the great SOS Gear products at SOSGEARMT.COM