Austin Portrait


We showed up at our Airbnb at 3PM.

There is a Dragon and an Iguana in the living room, and I can throw a rock from the deck and hit the Blackfoot River. A weathering 1970’s Ford Maverick with a drum set filling all the seats is in the yard.

A chicken coop is attached to the guest house, and old bamboo fly rods are hung above the Dragon tank. A large red deck overlooks “Dead Man’s Bend” of the Blackfoot. This is not the postcard you get from Glacier Park. This is today’s Montana, and this is where we made basecamp to test some upcoming products for Smith and Rogue.

Product development isn’t just about how strong, waterproof, or lightweight the product is.

We joined forces with our friend Alison Potts. Alison has grown up in the valley and lives in Bonner, Montana but keeps her horses in a pasture in Potomac, Montana about a football field from Cully’s Bar and Grill right off the highway. Her and her friend Lauren LaRance met us at the “Lizard Ranch” to make a plan for the day and give us some feedback on some of the new women’s products we have been creating. We wanted to spend some time with a Montana crew doing Montana things and then gather feedback on what we like and don’t like so that we can make changes before going to production, or updating current products. We’d try to not think that we are product testing because it’s much different to think about the usefulness of pockets, materials, and elements of a design when you aren’t designing. So we just go do stuff we would normally do.