Give me some background about you and how you got involved with ERA3?
My background is in design. I received a graphic design degree from Oregon State, and from there, I moved to California and to pursue a transportation degree from ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena in '96. I then accepted a position at Disney creating vehicle designs, then onto their Burbank studios, where I did television animation for nearly a decade.
When you say “vehicle design,” you mean like merchandise for toys and such?
NO, I worked on theme park ride vehicles, I decided to move back to Oregon in 2005. That's when I started a hot rod and custom restoration shop with my dad, who is a product of the fifties hot rod generation. For ten years or so, we created magazine-worthy handcrafted high-end custom hot rods. During that time, we also built several image vehicles for Ford Motor Company along with some projects for Shelby American. And, even today, I still do freelance design work for Disney, design work for automotive aftermarket companies, along with brand design work for various people.
And how did you get involved with ERA3?
All of this in Grants Pass in around 2013?
From there, you were off to the races?
Do you have a background with guns? Did you grow up shooting?
You know, not really. I'm kind of a hot rodder, and my background is in design and the automotive industry. It's kind of an interesting twist, not really coming from the gun industry; I bring a fresh perspective on design, parts, and products. Actually, we're currently in the patent-pending process on a few pieces that are influenced by the automotive industry.
What was your learning curve? Did you immerse yourself in that world? Did you become a shooter? Did you take classes?
Yeah, a bit of everything. Hanging out with Sterling and Sheri, those two are kind of the gun aficionados. So hanging out with them along with a few of our friends and customers, also going on charity events, I've learned a lot just by being around it all.
Where does that leave you now? Are you an avid shooter? Or is it just another aspect of your job?
Tell me a bit about the process from bringing an ERA3 product from your mind to reality.
We have on-staff engineers and a full machine shop, so we're immersed in the entire process. We will start with a punch list of wants, then I'll begin with a pencil sketch, and from there, we'll sit down and refine the project. We'll design the look, and once that's approved, we'll bring in the engineer who will noodle on it with me, which seems like forever sometimes. And once that step has been completed, it goes to the machine shop, and we start cutting parts. If it's something unique or something different, we seek patent protection and go through that process. Everything seems like it takes forever because of all these processes, but we really have things moving along nicely.
How much of that process has been trial and error, fucking it up and figuring it out from your mistakes?
Oh god. We have made our fair share of mistakes, and we've learned from all of them. It says it right in our Mission Statement "Develop premium products, challenge all boundaries," can't do that without breaking a few eggs.
Explain to me where you see ERA3’s place in the market is?
Pertaining to the idea of cultivating a brand, what are you working on now?
But it’s your proprietary pattern?
Yes, The E3D Pattern is a proprietary "Patent Pending" design, that we started working on in 2016. I took inspiration from a topographical map and the original Dazzle Camouflage of World War I, which consisted of intricate patterns of geometric shapes in contrasting colors, interrupting and intersecting each other. And unlike other forms of conventional camouflage, the intent of E3D is not to conceal, but to confuse. A comparable effect to that created by the patterns found in nature like on a giraffe or zebra.
Is this stuff widely available or just on the website?
So our vinyl is just available on the website. Our printed cordura and our hydro dip film will be available through the manufacturer.
Also, every hat we’re making right now has E3D on it. On the hat, on the brim, under the brim. Whatever. It will be somewhere seen on the hat or on the bags that we’re making. It’s that type of thinking. This is our pattern.
Someone will see it and say, “Oh cool. That’s ERA3.”