Small Business Week with Sierra Madre Research
After spending months traveling the world, Sierra Madre Research founder Richard Rhett was confronted with what he described as two profound problems.
"I was super unsatisfied with the products I was using when I went out into the wild,” Rhett described. “That dissatisfaction was really what fostered the innovation to solve that problem so that people could go out and enjoy the wild."
Richard decided to begin creating gear that would protect campers regardless of bad weather and provide comfortable nights of sleep regardless of location, he would then use these desirable products.
It’s a business idea that began in 2010.
"We did not seek early investment. We wanted to prove the concept, prove that we had the work ethic and the product ideas to get this thing off the ground."
That hard work and determination paid off, and an opportunity to appear on ABC’s Shark Tank, got one of the world’s most prolific investors, Richard Branson, to take notice of Sierra Madre.
"As we continued to grow, our commitment to excellence got I think Richard Branson to invest into Sierra Madre and ultimately push him over into investment and make an investment in Sierra Madre," Rhett said.
With momentum growing, Richard decided to move the company from Mississippi to Chattanooga.
"Chattanooga obviously has an amazing amount of outdoor adventure that is super accessible,” Rhett added. “That was exciting. But then the synergy and the start-up energy that is so easily fostered in Chattanooga has been an incredible reason to jump and plant roots in Chattanooga. That's been the exciting part for me really."
The company graciously gives back as well. They use products as a tool to circle back and begin fighting the water crisis one well at a time. A portion of each item sold goes to help provide fresh water to people in need.
You can check out Sierra Madre’s online catalog and join the Nubist Colony by visiting their website. The Nubist Colony is an online community where like-minded outdoor enthusiasts can meet up.
"That's a physical event where we go to like Fall Creek Falls and we'll have 50-75 people from around the area come to that location, get to experience the gear and also the people in the community,” said Rhett. “Because we take it from a digital to a physical in that event and people get to make friendships, join the community and go out together and enjoy the wild."