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Meet Haley Robison of Kammok in Austin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Haley Robison.

Haley, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was also born in the Dallas Forth Worth area, though my family moved a few times growing up. I studied business and Spanish for my undergraduate studies at the University of Texas in Austin, and after graduation, I immediately went into consulting at Bain & Company in Dallas. Three years later, I left consulting to spend three months traversing Wyoming and Utah on a wilderness training course with National Outdoor Leadership School. The next few years held a number of adventures. Between guiding backpacking trips in Wyoming and studying theology in Maryland, then moving to California to join the MBA program at Stanford University, I moved a total of 9 times in my 20s. I met Greg, founder of Kammok, in the summer of 2014 through a mutual connection in California, and then made the leap to join Kammok in the Spring of 2015. I accepted an offer as CEO in the summer of 2016.

Our mission at Kammok is to equip and inspire for life-changing adventure. We design our products with the hope that they will be catalysts for personal growth and community relationships. Our aim is to champion people – and as designers of outdoor gear, the performance and design of our products are critical to our success.

Today, we are known as the industry leader with regard to hammock innovation. We design each element specifically for hammock camping, knowing that it may be used for adventures of all sizes–from the backcountry to the backyard, and everything in between. Our Roo hammocks feature LunarWave diamond ripstop fabric—the only fabric designed specifically for camping hammocks. It is high tenacity fabric known for its strength against rips and tears, with a weight capacity higher than any hammock in its category (500 lbs.!). In addition to incredible strength, the Roo hammock is lightweight, featuring less weight per square inch than any other hammock fabric with even remotely close strength characteristics.

Again and again, we have engineered our products from climbing rated carabiners to no-stretch Python Hammock Straps so you (and we) can sleep at night. We’re also known for our innovations in sleep systems beyond hammocks; our Thylacine Sleeping Bag recently won Outside Magazine’s Gear of the Year and our Sunda, a 2+ person tent that converts to a hammock, raised close to $400K on Kickstarter last fall.

Beyond product innovation, Kammok helps to inspire people to reimagine what it means to camp. We call this “elevated camping,” or using high performance and durable products to enhance your outdoor experience – some of which get you literally off the ground! The very idea of camping has been re-invented by replacing the traditional tent with the camping hammock. Kammok leads the invention of this phenomenon, and are slowly but surely turning the hammock-camping-craze into ‘Kammoking.’

Has it been a smooth road?
With any small and growing company, we face trials and tribulations–almost daily! We have found it is how you respond to those situations that truly defines us as individuals, leaders, and a company seeking to impact the industry as a whole. Here are a few lessons we’ve learned so far:

  1. Make sure you really believe and are passionate about the why behind your venture.

In the end, most successful entrepreneurs say that their success is due to extreme perseverance (almost foolish), and unwavering optimism to the why.

  1. Culture and cash. They can be the hardest, and most important aspects of a growing business. Spend time planning and building the infrastructure to ensure those things are prioritized. There are creative ways to solve for cash (e.g., our Kickstarter campaigns have brought in over $600K in pre-orders that have allowed us to have working capital to fuel new product development) …and culture requires consistent intentionality and great people.
  2. A challenge every entrepreneur faces is that they constantly start with no. No cash, no product, no proven solution, sometimes no support from others. But, every great entrepreneur (or entrepreneurial team) is intrinsically motivated to move beyond the no and to create the yes – enhancing the capacity for others’ flourishing in the process.
  3. Find your champions (and find others to champion!). Entrepreneurship is a hard road, and at times, it can feel lonely: surround yourself with friends, family, and community where we can be vulnerable around people who are for you.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We’re a small team based in Austin, TX that designs technical, performance outdoor gear to equip and inspire people for adventure. This year, we’re focused on galvanizing a hammock camping movement, educating our customers on how our products are different and why it matters. Our gear is “adventure grade, better made,” designed for high performance and made to last. We build gear that will never go out of style and is relevant for our cultural moment – modern classics.

We’re different because we’ve turned over every stone in the design process to deliver product that is both simple enough to use on any occasion (and accessible for first timers), but also technical enough to equip the most foolhardy adventure–and, we back all of our products with a lifetime warranty. Through our hammocks and other products, we aim to help you create a greater story for yourself, your family, and your community. Anyone who’s spent any time in nature knows that there is something unexplainably restful, peace-giving and clarifying about being outside. We believe there is a fullness of life waiting for each of us in the great outdoors.

We also are members of 1% for the Planet and a certified B-corp, making financial and strategic decisions to support environmental and social causes. As 1% for the Planet members, we invest one percent of our revenue to our Give Adventure program, which grants outdoor adventure and mentorship to youth in the Austin area through our nonprofit, Explore Austin. Every hammock sold gifts 30 minutes of mentored time outdoors for a youth in our community (and did you know the average student spends less than 7 minutes a day outside!?) We believe deeply in the positive development of youth in our community; investing in youth is central to our future.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Austin is a thriving-hub for startups and small companies alike to collaborate, grow, and find community. We would absolutely recommend a small company starting out here – there’s tremendous creative energy in our city and people are willing to help each other. Plus, Austinites, and Texans more generally, love a good adventure. We’re proud to equip our friends and families for adventure – and to claim that we’re Texas’ first camp brand.

Pricing:

  • $99 – Roo Double Hammock
  • $65 – Wallaby Single Hammock
  • $29 – Python Straps

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Ben Matthews

Getting in touch: VoyageDallas is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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