Welcome to episode 368 of The Outdoor Biz Podcast, brought to you this week by Thrive Market. Buying healthy food from top-selling, organic brands at wholesale prices make healthy living easy. Head on over to ricksaez.com/thrivemarket and make living your healthy life easy.
Today I’m joined by Chap Grubb, founder of Rerouted. From living in a 1981 Volkswagen Van for 18 months after college to an unexpected transition into the world of professional poker, Chap is now busy revolutionizing the used gear industry helping anyone who dreams of creating their own wilderness adventures do it with used gear from rerouted.
Oh . . . and they promise to defend and improve the wilderness – as Ed Abbey wished
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How were you introduced to the Outdoors?
Yeah, so, as a kid, my parents were not outdoor adventurers. They were more outdoor enthusiasts.
The most distinct defining memory of my outdoor adventure [00:02:20] history was when we were 13 years old. We sat down and we gave our parents a presentation as to why we felt like we could [00:02:30] go camping. Outside for two days by ourselves.
Your profile also says you’re a former professional [00:03:50] poker player. Tell us about that.
When I was in college, I studied English [00:04:10] and linguistics because I knew I wanted to teach something, but I didn’t know what I wanted to teach. So I actually had [00:04:20] moved to Moab, Utah because I just wanted to rock climb and was looking for a job in Moab Utah, and stumbled into [00:04:30] working at an after-school program at the elementary school.
So working a couple of hours a week at the after-school program. I was living in my Westfalia at the time and [00:04:40] you know, just meeting friends and I started playing a bunch of cards with the local community there, and all of a sudden all the money I was making [00:04:50] was getting saved and I was just starting to make a good living playing cards just with my buddies [00:05:00] and decided to go for it, and it ended up working out really well for me.
Somewhere I read maybe in your profile you say you have ADHD. Is that diagnosed or are you just like the rest of us that can’t pick a lane?
When I finally [00:09:40] submitted to my diagnosis, I did it in college because I realized, with the workload of a traditional post-secondary [00:09:50] education, I wasn’t going to be successful. It required too much, just quiet discipline and no [00:10:00] low-energy efforts.
And so I finally went in and I got my Adderall Prescription from the school psychiatrist, and she [00:10:10] looked at me, she said, Chap, I have no idea how you graduated from high school because you’re just, your brain is all over the place. But Rick, [00:10:20] when I saw that question prompted, the first thing that I wanted to say was that I’ve always seen my A D H D as a superpower, right?
The second [00:10:30] I got outta college, I stopped taking my medicine. The second I didn’t need that really [00:10:40] high level of discipline and structure to be successful at what I’m doing. That’s when I immediately stopped taking my meds and I would [00:10:50] never go back, and I am fairly confident if I was on my Adderall currently, I probably wouldn’t have the [00:11:00] creative urge and the motivation and the energy to go be a founder.
What is the inspiration behind Re-Routed?
All of my friends in the outdoor [00:13:30] industry probably know this feeling. Three years ago, my wife Sam, said, Chap, please get all of this stuff out of my garage.
And I thought to [00:13:40] myself, what am I supposed to do with all this stuff? I’d spent 20 years accumulating all this gear. Most of it’s still functional, most of it [00:13:50] I’m not using. It’s just sitting there collecting dust. So I sat there and I thought about it and I was like, I’m not [00:14:00] gonna sell this stuff on eBay or Craigslist.
It’s gonna take me months and I, it’s not gonna be worth my time, energy, and effort for the money that I’m gonna make off of it. So I [00:14:10] actually threw it all of my truck and trailer. and I started driving around the country. I went to 15 events in 10 different states, buying and selling outdoor gear. Just [00:14:20] kind of for fun.
Everybody I [00:14:30] talked to, Thousands of people I spoke with said, chap, when are you gonna come to my house and fix this problem for me? Get my stuff right? Yeah. They’re [00:14:40] fix this for me, please. So I got home in the winter of 2019 [00:14:50] and instead of having a hundred items, I had a thousand items, because that’s the way it goes.
So now I’m sitting there with 10 times the gear, thinking to myself, what really is the problem? Why did everybody I [00:15:10] met say there was stuff in their garage? What is limiting them? And so that’s kind of how we’ve merged into [00:15:20] An outdoor industry tech company and really focused on the uploading experience and [00:15:30] automating and making that instantaneous and zero effort for anybody that wants to sell anything.
Tell our listeners about the Morrison Exchange
A long time ago we met the owner of Morrison Outdoors and, [00:30:10] they’re baby sleeping bags.
He goes, Chap, nobody uses these for that long. The [00:30:20] kids grow outta them. And it’s not like they’re ruining them, right. They’re just sleeping in ’em and then they’re done. And he said, Chap, I [00:30:30] really need my users to do something with these. I want ’em to be able to return it. I want ’em to be able to, you know, get it back to the next kid so that it doesn’t sit around and it doesn’t get wasted. And so we created a relationship with him where the people that buy new bags can send [00:30:50] in their bags to us and we pay them directly. And we have a waiting list of over a hundred people. So the Morrison bags [00:31:00] don’t even make it to our website anymore.
When do you have time to go outside, do you still climb?
We have found it [00:32:40] to be a huge blessing to be able to. Use the baby as our reason to go outside. So for [00:32:50] for the audience, my son, his name’s Archer. Archer is 10 months old now. And Sam, my wife, is our head of marketing at Rerouted. So Sam [00:33:00] and I are both. Really deep in the startup grind. She’s been with me since the very beginning of this project and she’s been all committed, but when we had the baby [00:33:10] 10 months ago, we looked at each other and said, we can’t just sit and work all the time anymore. That’s not an option, especially because [00:33:20] it’s not like we have childcare on a founder’s budget, right?
So we’re always with the baby, but he can’t just sit and watch us be on our computers all the time. [00:33:30] That’s not what we want. That’s not what he wants. And so we’ve been lucky that his first month after 30 days, we went out and did an overnight camping [00:33:40] trip. We got him out on a raft and did a short float on some easy train. At about three or four months, we’ve been out [00:33:50] climbing with him a bunch. We’ve been able to go to MoabWe’re really lucky that we live in the southwest, that these outdoor adventures are [00:34:00] accessible.
Do you have any suggestions and/or advice for folks wanting to get into the outdoor/adventure biz?
The outdoor adventure industry, as I’m sure you all know, lives in its own [00:37:40] special world. Cause we’re not in Silicon Valley, we’re not in biotech, we’re not in any of [00:37:50] these Despite the fact that we’re almost a 900 billion annual business industry, [00:38:00] it lives in this weird space. That said, if you love the [00:39:00] outdoors, there’s no better way to immerse yourself in the industry than going and solving a problem for the industry you care the most about. They always [00:39:10] say, as a kid, do what you love. and I get to tell people every day that I help people buy and sell secondhand outdoor gear, right?[00:39:20] And I love it, and it makes me so happy. And I could give my pitch a million times and I could never stop talking about it. [00:39:30] So if you care about something, there’s an opportunity here and people are really willing [00:39:40] in this industry to support new businesses.
So what I would say is, for the people that wanna [00:38:10] start, there are a million unexplored ideas out there. Don’t ever be scared that its not gonna [00:38:20] be original enough because there are thousands and thousands and thousands of unsolved problems.
What is your favorite outdoor gear purchase under $100?
The one that I found that has treated me so well for [00:41:30] so long was years and years and years ago, 10 years ago, long before rerouted was even an idea, I was with some buddies [00:41:40] hanging out, playing in our neighborhood and stumbled across a garage sale, and I bought a $50 Osprey backpack. It’s [00:41:50] enormous. It’s purple. and it’s been my backpack for everything I’ve ever done. It goes on the boat, it goes backpacking, it goes [00:42:00] when we go camping, we’ve traveled with it. I mean, I’m biased by the things used. [00:42:10] But you can find things used that last for decades. This backpack, Archer will use this backpack. It’s never gonna go bad. It’s gonna last forever, and I’ll patch it up and continue to use it because that’s the way outdoor gear should be used.
How about some of your favorite books, are you a big reader?
So the practical book I’ll give, I live by the [00:44:40] work of Seth Godin. The philosophy he brings to the table just is really well aligned with the way I see my relationships with my users, my relationship with my team. The book I’ll recommend is Purple Cow. Another one that’s a little more off the [00:45:10] beaten path is I read a book by Kim Scott that’s called Radical Candor, and it’s about how to approach the [00:45:20] naturally difficult conversations that happen as somebody that’s in leadership and management. And then my fun book is, I’m a sucker for Fantasy Reads and love Brandon Sanderson, [00:46:40] who writes Mistborn and The Stormlight Archive and is just, he’s fun.
Follow up with Chap