Have you ever had an idea for a product? Perhaps something that you wished already existed or something that would solve a dilemma?
Meet Chris, the founder of Hummingbird Hammocks. From parachutes to hammocks, Chris has had an interesting career. A quick fix to his personal hammock lead Chris down an entrepreneurial path as he saw the potential for ultra-light, durable hammocks and created his own outdoor gear company, Hummingbird Hammocks. With much support gained through a Kickstarter campaign, Chris has grown the company to now include a range of outdoor gear. We interviewed Chris to learn more about the concept of taking a product from an initial idea to fruition, the advice he would give to others and his future plans.
What is Hummingbird Hammocks?
Hummingbird Hammocks is an outdoor gear company that specializes in ultralight, extremely small packing hammocks, and hammock related accessories. Our products are primarily used by ultralight backpackers and campers who are looking to save weight and bulk in their pack, but still want to take advantage of all the advantages hammock camping has to offer.Our products are primarily used by ultralight backpackers and campers who are looking to save weight and bulk in their pack, but still want to take advantage of all the great features hammock camping has to offer.
What inspired you to start this business?
Back when I was working as a parachute rigger, I had a competitor's hammock that I used as my go to hammock. For some reason or another, it tore during use and needed to be replaced. Rather than go out and buy another, I opted to use one of the sewing machines I had in my rigging loft and the reserve parachute material I had on hand to build a hammock of my own.
How did Hummingbird Hammocks get to where it is today? Quickly walk us through some of the major steps in your journey.
Upon discovering how light and small packing the first prototype hammock was (which was intended to just be a one-off, personal hammock) I decided to pursue a Kickstarter campaign to get a feel for the process of manufacturing hammocks. Every hammock we sent to our backers was sewn by me personally in my little rigging loft and shipped from my apartment in Fort Collins.
After the Kickstarter, we set out to refine the design and get some more appropriate manufacturing horsepower. From there, it's just been a continuous journey of refinement and scaling to keep up with demand.
Now we are turning our attention to new products like rain tarps, bug nets, quilts, and even some small electronics like flashlights. We will always continue to refine and expand upon our ultralight hammock line as well!
How did social media play into this and how have you used it to your advantage?
We use social media to stay in touch with our fans and to release information about new products, changes, and special deals.
If you only had one minute to give your best advice, what would it be?
Obsess over your supply chain and manufacturing. They are the heart and soul of your end product and, as a result, your customer satisfaction as a whole.
What does the future hold for you? Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I will continue to grow Hummingbird Hammocks of course.
In addition, I'll be continuing my work at my other company Loidolt Design, a web design and hosting company I started last year. It also serves as a catch-all for odd design, woodworking, electronics, and graphic design jobs I tend to pick up in my "free" time.
Finally, the newest edition to my workload is an advisory/design position at my fiance's new startup called Honey Cub, a honey and beeswax product manufacturer.
Anything else you would like to add or share?
I just always like to remind people of the amazing breadth of information available to us on the internet, typically for free. No other time in human history have you been able to learn, quite literally, anything and everything you want without even leaving the house. I strongly encourage people to take advantage of such an amazing gift.