RY Outfitters

The RY Outfitters Podcast EP: 30 Gobi Gear – Segmented Stuff Sacks. Founder Chez Brungraber Sharing her Story

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To find out more behind how Gobi Gear got its start and what’s in store for the future, Josh interviews Gobi Gear founder, Chez Brungraber

More about the episode…

Josh sits down with Gobi Gear founder Chez Brungraber, who is a biologist turned business woman who created Gobi Gear after being frustrated and disappointed by countless bags on the market and longing for a stuff sack that was convenient and simple. Gobi Gear was named after the Mongolian Nomads who are some of the best and most efficient travelers in the world. Now, after a successful kickstarter, Chez and her team are working to take Gobi Gear to new heights and push the limits of innovation!

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


Show Notes

  • How did you come up with the idea for Gobi Gear?
    • “My Husband and I like to backpack and travel a lot and we were planning a three month trip where we were going to go through Asia, starting in Nepal. I was just so frustrated and tired with the same old stuff sacks…”
  • What did you do before you started Gobi Gear?
    • “I did sort of what I still do which is wildlife biology…I do that for government contracts, private developers…I still do that every spring because I absolutely love it…”
  • How did you come up with the name Gobi Gear?
    • “It’s named after the Gobi Desert in Mongolia because, the nomadic people there are some of the most efficient travelers in the world…”
  • What was the development process of creating your product?
    • “So the first thing for me was to make it on a sewing machine, I’m very hands on…I just make prototypes on my sewing machine, I send those off to a factory, and then I test them to figure out what I like and what I don’t like…”
  • How did you pick the manufactures that you’re currently working with?
    • “The first factory I chose I found on Alibaba.com…I think I emailed 65 of them and picked the top seven that got back to me…We eventually found an agent that works out of Boston and they have been incredible…A lot of small brands hesitate to go with an agent…for dealing with all of the headaches I think it’s worth it…”

Gobi Gear SegSac

  • What was the process in understanding and holding manufacturers accountable for sustainability?
    • “…A lot of manufacturers make a product, slip it into a plastic bag, then put it in a box. If you do the math that’s 45 thousand plastic bags that did not need to happen… We went back and forth a lot and my agent was able to make sure there were no plastic bags…”
  • What would you say is something unique about you or Gobi Gear?
    • “I hate to be idle. I can’t just go home at night and unplug and just watch tv…When I have a spare 20 minutes or a spare hour I want to be creating something…I think that keeps me moving forward when I run into roadblocks…”
  • What was it like to created such a successful Kickstarter?
    • “It’s a really awesome experience. I really like the crowdfunding model…you basically get market validation and you get money. It’s stressful when you don’t fulfill when you promise or you were actually wrong about one component…”
  • Did you have any mentors that helped guide you in creating Gobi Gear?
    • “I wish I had better mentors early on, I didn’t even know what questions to ask…I started looking up branding and I realized it was this entire really important thing for a business that I’ve really never heard about…So I found someone who was really good at branding…”
  • What would you say is the culture that exists within Gobi Gear?
    • “So the first culture I try to promote is get it done but don’t stress about it and get outdoors…That’s really the culture behind it, ‘get outdoors’…”
  • What would you say has been the hardest part about building Gobi Gear?
    • “Probably cashflow…Right now I have to split all the cash between all the SKU’s so I feel I am never able to produce as much product as I would like at one time…”
  • Lynsey, as the sales manager what has been your experience working in the startup world?
    • “I came from a corporate world so I was on the operations side of things and now I’m on a different side. It’s working with a product that I really believe in…It’s been a really fun experience so far and it’s fun to have such a unique product that is such a good and high quality product…”

Gobi Gear HoboRoll

  • How did you get connected with Gobi Gear?
    • “I actually have a few friends who made the jump from corporate world to local startups because there are quite a few outdoor companies here in Bend and one of them actually met Chez and helped me get in contact with her…”
  • What is your biggest fear with Gobi Gear and how do you manage it?
    • “The biggest fear is that we have a product that we can’t market effectively…We’ve been really working on the marketing aspect. What scares me is we could have this awesome product and we can’t explain it effectively to people quickly…”
  • What are some of the biggest mistakes you guys have made since you started?
    • “I had one graphic designer years ago where I ask him to design me packaging and I wanted the packaging to be kind of unusual in the sense that I wanted it to fit with the brand and the product…when he was done it was like this rectangle with graphics on it and it was really unexciting…Here I had paid this guy to make something that I could have made…”
  • What advice would you give someone that wanted to start a business in the outdoor sport world?
    • “I would say find your mentors early and find your brand early. Ideas are a dime a doesn’t it’s execution of the idea that really matters…”
  • Where is Gobi Gear headed into the future?
    • “We really want to be focusing on innovative solutions. We have some backpacks that are coming out that are going to be different from what’s out there on the market. We don’t want to just make more of what’s already out there…”
  • What would you say is the best part about running Gobi Gear?
    • “That I do what I love. I get to go outside and test gear that I make and come up with new ideas…I love that innovative part of the business where there’s no rule book…it’s completely open, we can go wherever we want with this…”


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