We love to buy stuff in America. And for most men that gets translated into gear. It’s a simple fact, and I’m convinced hard wired into us. Technology, guns, car stereos, outdoor products, clothes, we love that stuff.
I love good gear, quality products, and thoughtful design. And it might just be in part why I started Buffalo Jackson. I like things, so why not make them for others and myself?
I confess and I would take the lead on this… we are far too easily caught up in a vain pursuit of acquiring stuff to make us feel something temporary, then what might be underneath the desire and even soulful at its core. Gear included.
I confess… I’m the number one sinner of consumerism in many ways. I can buy to fill a hole.
I can remember a decade ago moving from Tennessee to Colorado. One of my first stops was the Orvis store. Buying all the latest fly fishing gear at the time, in hopes that somehow the gear would make me look the part as I stepped into those cold mountain streams.
It was a few years after all that gear acquisition, when what I was after, seemed to make more sense. A mentor and friend, Ron, who I had met a few months after moving to Colorado had taken me into the world of fly fishing, spent time teaching and sharing with me and a few others on the water, and telling stories of his decades of fishing at his cabin in Estes Park, CO.
One day on the stream he said… “you are a really good fly fisherman,” as he watched me cast on the water.
It sent shivers down my spine.
I did not know it at the time at the Orvis store, but that is what I had been trying to buy. But it took experiences, and men to get there. The gear wasn’t the answer. And I’m not sure to even the words were it either. It was the community of men I was longing for, the experiences of the mountains and stories shared together, the bonds of men.
He was saying in some form... that I belonged. I was part of it.
The gear was a surface level desire, and an entry point, that got me to the deeper desire. I had tried to buy the feeling, but it had to be lived out and explored first. But the gear in some ways was my invitation to eventually find it.
If you are like me, you will probably always lust after things. Maybe there are a few products on even our website that catch your eye? It’s good to ask… why? And then also… to really become the things you seek. Not just imitate or rent them. Become them.
Brands make their money by selling to a need, often more an aspirational one.
I hope that our brand might be a first step for some and inspire them to actually go looking for those things and actually fulfill what I believe is a true need.
I hope it inspires some to read a book on Teddy Roosevelt, or head out to a retreat at John Eldredge’s bootcamp called Wild at Heart in Colorado. For some to explore Reagan’s economic philosophy, or take up fly fishing, or a young man to discover Training Ground, where they can live out these values, and learn from men.
I think we should also be looking at why are we buying things… what is the deeper place and reason for the desire in the first place. It will help us not become addicts of the next gear thing, but take us deeper into what it is we seek.
A friend Joel has in his email tagline from an old Scottish proverb, “they speak of my drinking, but never think of my thirst.” I love that. Gear… why do we love it? What is behind it?
Might be good to reflect… what gear do you buy? What are you staring at and dreaming about? And if you were to peel it back… what is your thirst about?
Maybe you need the gear... or maybe there is something else... even deeper.