Popular bag review website Carryology’s journalist Andrew Sporrer recently interviewed the man behind the brand of the bull. CEO Jim Markel talks about the ins and outs of the company; it’s history, it’s philosophy, it’s reasoning for creating "overbuilt" bags.
Red Oxx’s Mission Statement
Early on Red Oxx set about to make a bag that would last in the outdoors. Jim’s experience with poor quality zippers failing in the harsh environment of Montana’s backcountry was a driving element in the company’s philosophy.
"Power and mobility by building the best bags on the planet."
Said Jim, "That’s our original mission statement. What do we mean by power? We mean the strength to load that thing down and go anywhere you want in the world. Mobility? That’s what it means, anywhere in the world, in any condition, and for an extended time. Beat the hell out of it and keep living out of it. That’s really what we stand for. Really use it…I don’t want to just sell product—I want people to live with our product."
Reflecting on the mobility statement, Jim said, "Our stuff lasts. Customers respect that. We won’t let them down on the other side of the world; there’s the mobility again. We always try to do the absolute right thing, whether that’s sourcing the materials, the way we build it… There are people who look at something and see it from 10,000 feet and then there are people who really get inside the product and they look at every seam and every stitch—and those people go, "Holy cow! They really didn’t cut any corners."
What Our Customer’s Think (and Why that’s Important).
Andrew noted that Red Oxx customers are almost fanatical in their enthusiasm for the brand. Said Jim, "What validates what we’re doing is that our customers will go out, use the hell out of our products in all these extreme situations, and then they share the love. They write these great reviews and I like to think that we become a valuable part of their travel experience and their life. I really get a lot of satisfaction out of that; that they can rely on us to provide what they need".
Jim also shared a story about a customer who’d been in a car accident which resulted in this gentleman’s car catching fire (actually it was a camping accident that burned his camper). He lost everything, including his luggage, save for a notebook-sized, charred corner of his Red Oxx bag. He turned the bag into warranty and Red Oxx replaced his bag. No questions asked. No charge.
That’s the core of what "No Bull Lifetime Warranty" means. Red Oxx will not only stand behind their product no matter what, but will also make that warranty issue as smooth a ride as possible. No hoops, no hidden tiny print exceptions, no questions asked.
Entrepreneur’s Are Born, Not Made
One of the things that surprised Andrew the most, was that Jim does not have a formal education in business marketing, indeed though he finally got his high school diploma later in life, he didn’t even graduate high school.
Said Jim, "I joined the Marine Corp. at 17. I’ve always been doing stuff—trying to make money….(Jim continued, much to Andrew’s chagrin) … "(there’s a) certain kind of mindset, that makes a true entrepreneur. It really can’t be taught. It’s almost made in another way, or people are born that way and then shaped by the world around them. I would argue it has a lot to do with risk tolerance, wanting to control the situation in some way… I love business.
"You have to be proud of what you do. You have to believe that what you make is valuable; that your contribution to the world means something."
Learn more about Jim’s interesting and insightful interview with Carryology here.