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Grab the hiking gear you always wished you had from CNOC
To find out more behind how CNOC Outdoors got its start and what’s in store for the future, Josh interviews CNOC Outdoors founder, Gilad Nachmani
More about the episode…
Josh sits down with CNOC Outdoors founder Gilad Nachmani. CNOC Outdoors is an outdoor brand with the mission of creating the perfect gear that will keeping the consumer front of mind. After breaking five sets of hiking poles in two years, Gilad quickly rose to solve this issue. From there it was easier for him to identity other hiking products that could use a facelift, like CNOC’s recently released Vecto water container. With his lightweight yet durable trekking poles launching CNOC and the Vecto Water container taking things to the next level we are ecstatic to be getting a front row seat for what comes next!
Have an opinion? We want to hear it! Join the conversation and leave a comment, check out show notes, and get all the links mentioned in this episode below
- Check out CNOC Outdoors website
- Pick up a Vertex carbon trekking pole or Vecto water container of your own
- Follow CNOC Outdoors Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
- FAQs about CNOC and their products
- Find out more about PCT Days
- Check out Darwin onthetrail
- What is CNOC Outdoors all about?
- “We do innovative solutions for backpackers…The problem with a lot of backpack gear is that some of it is easy to make like soft goods…then you get to the very complicated things that requires a factory to make every single part. Those are very hard for a company to make but, I felt those are the areas that are lacking the most innovation…”
- What issue you did you address when you created Vertex Carbon and EVA Trekking Poles?
- “The biggest problem, at least for me was, the price. I went through a period where I broke four or five sets of pole within two years…the second is how small they break down to…You just need your hands a lot of time…I wanted something small…”
- Did you always love the outdoors?
- “I’m guessing I’m not the average story of the outdoor industry. I grew up in Israel, born and raised…I think I went camping officially when I was an adult. But, I grew up outside. Israel in the 80’s and 90’s was like the US in the 60’s and 70’s, very free roaming. We used to just cross the fields to go see friends, literally walking barefoot through the orchards…I never had serious gear like that but, I’ve been outdoors all the time…”
- What made you decide to come to the states?
- “We were living in London, we had two kids…London is crowded and expensive and, we were looking for space. My wife’s family is originally from Portland…we were looking at places and it looked like a good place…”
- What pain points does your water bladder solve?
- “The Vecto is a two opening bladder, it’s a two liter bladder, that is collapsible, super light, has a very wide opening at the top…You can scoop water easily from any kind of standing water, stream, or just the tap… On the other side it has a 28 millimeter screw neck so you can fit most of the filters on the market on to it…The idea was having something that’s easy to fill but, still works with any filter…”
- How long did it take you to go from prototyping to launching a kickstarter?
- “I’m guessing it was almost a year of just playing with things. I jumped into market way too early, I always do…the process from idea to actually having something in your hand is really short, but once you take it to manufacturing things changes…I had working prototypes within about 8 months and it took another 6 months to start producing…”
- What has the growth of CNOC been like since you got started?
- “The poles were ok…nothing dramatic or nothing that Black Diamond should be concerned about but, when the Vecto got released in September…I got a few of the prototypes out to a few testers and word got out to everyone, pretty much. Since then growth has been a constant explosion…”
- What would you credit the growth to?
- “Probably more than anything that I’ve met Darwin from Darwin on the trail. He has quite a big youtube channel for backpacking and, I met him at PCT Days…It’s a celebration of the Pacific Crest Trail because it’s right on the pacific crest trail…He saw the Vecto which I had two more prototypes for testing. And, he said he’s planning on doing the PCT this year and if he could have one of them to test them…”
- What is your commitment to sustainability?
- “I pay more, that’s the bottom line. For instance, with the Vecto I wanted a very simple, fully recyclable packaging using no nylon. The factory just couldn’t understand why I don’t put the bags in another bag and I told them there’s absolutely no need. So, they charge me $0.20 more for not putting a bag on…”
- What does a normal day look like for you?
- “I usually wake up a 6am with the kids and we’ll spend time as a family and my wife goes to work because she’s a serious adult and has a real job. I usually take my kids to daycare…Then it’s by the computer, I work from home…It depends on the day, it depends on what’s going on around me in terms of the company…”
- Do most of your sales come directly through the website?
- “It depends on who links to where. Some people that will write about one of my products will link to Amazon and there will be a boost in Amazon for a while…Sometimes it’s through the site…”
- What has the unit growth been like over time?
- “So the Vecto has only been selling for five months…Usually, month to month, about 5 to 10 percent growth…”
- What’s one of the hardest parts about starting a business?
- “Marketing without a doubt, at least for me. It’s just so foreign to me. I don’t personally use social media so it was trying to understand how to spread the word of a new company and new product that never existed…”
- What is one of your greatest fears?
- “That someone gets a product that they’re not happy with. The only way I can think of managing it is one, make a good product and hopefully the factory won’t screw it up. And, provide the best customer service as I possible can…If I got a faulty product or something that doesn’t work the way I expect, I’d be upset…”
- What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made up until this point?
- “I still do them daily. The biggest mistake was going into market too soon without testing things more thoroughly. The first batch of poles that I made, I ordered 500 pairs which is quite a big order for a brand new product. The factory had completely messed up the epoxy they used to make the carbon fiber and all of them broke…writing off my first batch was probably the biggest mistake…”
- How did you tackle that issue?
- “I recalled everything, refunded everyone that I needed to. Some of the poles were ok which was a bit surprising…I just took it as a complete loss…That’s how I dealt with it, just owning it to the customers and trying to provide the best service as I can despite the situation…”
- What advice would you give someone that wanted to start a business?
- “Perseverance is probably the biggest for no matter what kind of new endeavor you go for… For me it was just being very stubborn, and I think being stubborn and very persistent and just keep on going and trying because there will be failures and times when things don’t work. You just need ot ride it and at some point it gets better…”
- Where do you see CNOC headed into the future?
- “By 2019 I want us to be fully US made and have the agility in terms of working with a factory…In the next five years, I’m not really sure it changes by the day. I’d like to have all of my ideas actually out and start getting ideas from our customers, from the users… In 10 years, hopefully there will be much smarter people that take care of a big parts of the company that are not me and I can focus on product development…”
- What’s the best part about running CNOC?
- “That I can have the integrity of running things they way I find them right. I’ve worked in the outdoor industry for a long time and a lot of times I felt the way we treat the customers was not the way that it should be. Running my company means I can treat my customers the way I want to be treated…”