RY Outfitters

The RY Outfitters Podcast EP: #42 Tree Tribe – Outdoor lifestyle brand that plants 10 trees on EVERY sale. Co-founder Joe Lannen Sharing His Story

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Tree Tribe

Frustrated with the waste of manufacturing?

Looking for an eco-friendly option?

Grab a pair of sunglasses and join the Tree Tribe; Sustainability never looked so good

To find out more behind how Tree Tribe got its start and what’s in store for the future, Josh interviews Tree Tribe co-founder, Joe Lannen

More about the episode…

Josh sits down with Tree Tribe co-founder Joe Lannen. With the wave of social enterprise that is starting to sweep over the outdoor industry, Tree Tribe stands tall, changing what you think when you hear oak-leys. Tree Tribe is a brand that uses eco-friendly materials and manufacturing for their products and plants 10 trees for every sale. Joe had originally gotten the idea while working remotely in Shang Mai, Thailand and it wasn’t long until Tree Tribe was born. Since then he and his team of five have been 100% uncompromising with sustainability. Join the Tree Tribe and listen to the story of how Joe Lannen discovered and developed his brand.

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 get started with Tree Tribe?
    • “Social enterprise is a passion of mine and that’s why Tree Tribe was born. The seed was planted many years ago when I lived in San Francisco…What really happened was I wanted to start a business that would give back to the Earth…”
  • What got you so involved in traveling and sustainability?
    • “I grew up in a small town in Illinois… I read Start Something that Matters by Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS and, that was a key piece in the path that’s brought me here… we’re always going to be buying things so, being able to make positives out of that is just such a cool concept…”
  • What’s it been like traveling and working remotely?
    • “It’s both challenging and fun at the same time. I like to think on my own terms so, I don’t necessarily believe you need to start a company, and set up an address, and have a physical address…”
  • What got you into the digital nomad lifestyle?
    • “I’ve never crossed an ocean until I left my job in 2015, it was into my 30’s…About 6 or 7 years ago, I made a goal to be self employed, work from home, and travel the world…over the course of a few years I was able to make that happen…The thing that lead me to travel was I visited a friend in NYC…”
  • Did you have a plan when you got to Thailand?
    • “I had a loose plan. I was a freelance web developer for a few years, that was what sharpened my skills to make my goal happen…I was building a web app that was going to help freelancers automate their gig searching process…”

JOE LANNEN Founder of Tree Tribe

  • How did you take the idea from it’s inception to a profitable business online?
    • “It all started with the product and research. Being a web developer, I have a decent amount of savvy online, I’ve been in ecommerce for a couple of years… Tree Tribe is the vehicle for the mission, the sunglasses are the passengers…”
  • What did you do once the product was created?
    • “This is where my co-founder, Sharif Gordon comes into play. I started this thing in February 2015 and threw out this strategy in my head. As I got into this I realized how big this could be…I wanted to bring on a partner and I made a list of people who I’d wanted to partner with. My friend Sharif was at the top of the list…”
  • What is something unique about Tree Tribe?
    • “With Tree Tribe, us together as a team try to be different… The really unique thing about Tree Tribe here is that we’re dedicated to having all of our products always be eco-friendly materials… There’s some cool products that we wanted to do but we haven’t found an eco-friendly alternative and that’s something we won’t budge on…”
  • How did you source your manufacturing and make sure it was sustainable?
    • “When we settled on a supplier I went and visited our supplier to develop the relationship and make sure we weren’t contributing to a sweatshop…”
  • Did you have any mentors along the way?
    • “Mentorship is an amazing concept…I’ve had mentors in the past but, I haven’t had a lot of mentors in the last few years… In lieu of a mentor, I’ve been apart of this digital nomad community…”
  • What has been one of the hardest parts about building Tree Tribe?
    • “Definitely capital…everytime you want to launch a new product you need the funds to take it to market…We have so many product Ideas and some really cool stuff that I’m hoping will come out this summer…”

Tree Tribe sunglasses

  • What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made with Tree Tribe?
    • “The biggest one that stands out is ordering too much of a product before testing the market and researching low cost ways to bring more products to market…we ordered a ton of these bamboo shirts and it sidestepped us from being able to invest in other products…”
  • What is your greatest fear and how do you manager it?
    • “I don’t really think about fear too much or negative emotions. Your reality is a manifestation of your thoughts and I’m always trying to move forward. The one fear that I really have is that I can’t bring Tree Tribe to fruition because, I have such a grand vision that has grown over time…”
  • What advice would you give someone that wanted to start a business?
    • “The first advice I’d give is set it as a priority…set a morning routine, whatever the goal is, set the routine…Prioritize and just jump in. Find what you’re passionate about and find charities that work with that…”
  • Where do you see Tree Tribe headed into the future?
    • “In the next year, we’re gearing up for that big hundred thousand trees planted milestone… We have a bunch of interesting new materials that we’re working with and developing…there’s all these interesting eco-friendly materials out there that are either made from waste or something completely natural…”
  • What would you say is the best part about running Tree Tribe?
    • “The connection is the best part of this. I’ve started businesses before but, I’ve never connected with fellow people or the planet on the same level as Tree Tribe…”


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