RY Outfitters

The RY Outfitters Podcast EP: #77 DMOS Collective – The Most Badass Shovel For Everyone. Founder Susan Pieper Sharing Her Story

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DMOS Collective

Sick and tired of breaking tools left and right?

Grab a DMOS Shovel and never worry about your tools failing when you need them most

To find out more behind how DMOS Collective got its start and what’s in store for the future, Josh interviews DMOS Collective founder, Susan Pieper


More about the episode…

Josh sits down with DMOS Collective founder Susan Pieper. Though Susan Pieper always had a strong hold on the outdoor industry, she only delved into entrepreneurship after she retired from her adventures at sea in exchange for a quite different life in the mountains of Wyoming. From there she quickly took focus on a bit of a different adventure, fixing the issue of unreliable and seemingly disposable tools that are currently flooding the market. After 2 successful kickstarters DMOS now has a steadily growing quiver of ultra sturdy tools that can reliably stand the test of time and can be used in a myriad of situations and there’s no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Tune in for this week’s episode and see what’s on the horizon for the company that is quickly becoming a goto for backcountry junkies.

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Show Notes

  • What is DMOS Collective all about?
    • “I tell people ‘we make hardware for out there’…how many times have you bought a shovel, garden rake, and felt like it was a dumbed down version not unlike a children’s plaything, like a plastic bucket and scoop you use on the beach…DMOS exists to solve the problem of creating tools that are purpose built, built to last, and that you can take with you on all your adventures…”
  • What led you to starting DMOS?
    • “…I was a sailor for over 20 years and I sailed over 10,000 ocean miles and I lived, always on the coast…What happens is people who’ve been sailors tend to, at a certain point, move to the mountains, as I did. Because I’ve been a sailor, I’ve bought everything at least twice and you need gear when you’re in the middle of the ocean that doesn’t fail; that is absolutely built to last…”
  • Did you originally go to Jackson Hole or was that just where you ended up?
    • “Yeah, we moved here straight away from having lived in coastal communities…”
  • Did you always have this entrepreneurial spirit?
    • “Yeah, I think I did. The way I liked to look at it is for the longest time I’ve always been first mate and I’ve skippered some major ocean passages and really learned what it meant to say ‘this is my boat’ when you take the helm…I reached a point where my seven summit would be to build a brand…”
  • How did you go about prototyping the first model?
    • “In 2015, I really started by setting a smaller goal which was I just wanted to bring a product to market. At the time the first product we made, which is today known as the stealth shovel, we called the kicker tool. We knew that it would be purpose built for people who go into the backcountry to build the perfect jump or kicker…”
  • Was there anything in between your two kickstarter campaigns that set you up for success for round two?
    • “We did a lot of work between the two campaigns trying to understand other companies that make tools and the shortcomings. I really did the marketing positioning work around our company and our brand between the two campaigns. So, it was that time that I really began to understand there were really large industrial companies that make tools, and they mostly make them in Asia…”

Dmos shovels

  • Did you bootstrap most of the business or did you get investors?
    • I bootstrapped it and I started it from scratch using my own capital to fund these kickstarters and to really fund the business. I have subsequently, in this last year, brought on some outsider investors because we’re starting to really grow and scale the company…”
  • Did you have any mentors that helped you build DMOS?
    • “Yeah I definitely did. I am super blessed to tell you that I worked with some incredible people in my career and I feel so incredibly grateful that when I’ve asked for help or advice people have taken my call. A couple people really stand out in particular…”
  • What does the average day look like at DMOS?
    • “The average day has really changed a lot since Labor Day this year… we finally moved out of my house, the entire start of the business was a garage business…Since Labor Day we moved into a pretty modest office building in downtown Jackson…we work together closely as a team, we collaborate…”
  • What would you attribute your growth to?
    • “We did a partnership this fall with warren miller. We were embedded in their Line Of Descent film tour which was in over 100 markets and I think over 60,000 people went to see the films…we were for a while really embedded in Newschoolers magazine and did a big promotion with them…”

Dmos Collective shovels

  • What has been one of the hardest parts about starting DMOS?
    • “I think one just takes a tremendous amount of energy. I think it’s hard to underestimate how hard you have to go for how long you have to go for how long you have to go. I mean, how many days, weeks, years you can really run having a day and a night job…a lot of people aren’t up for that from an endurance standpoint… The second thing is that getting the team right is so difficult. Early on, I did struggle with a couple of hires and people are not with me who once were…In some ways, some of those folks I look nostalgically upon…”
  • What were some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made with DMOS?
    • “We got very excited in 2017 after the Alpha campaign and we had a dream where we would run like Nike with shoes… We were like ‘hey we want to do that too’ and we were like a two year business. We got into this whole thing in 2017, where it looked on the surface like we were gonna be able to offer the most customizable shovel…”
  • What instore for the future of DMOS?
    • “Yeah, I have a dream where we do get to build DMOS into a suite of tools to take over your garage, that are all beautifully built and interchangeable. I love customization, I love personal expression, I love beautifully made things… I just think that there’s this element of beautifully made gear in what’s traditionally known as the garden and lawn space that we’ll completely reimagine…”
  • Why are you called DMOS?
    • “DMOS is actually an acronym that stands for Do My Own Stuff… the point is it was really because the shovel tools were really never owned. If you think about a traditional job site the joke is always that ‘what tool is never stolen from a job site’ and the answer is the shovel…”


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