Born Different. Made Better.
No doubt, the world around us is evolving faster than ever. Ten years ago, no one would have dreamed that we’d be hitching rides from our cell phones, checking the weather on watches, or passing ‘charging stations’ on the highway. Yet, in all of this progress, what we still had yet to see was any meaningful change in the clothing we wear. We built this company to change that.
One bag. A lot of Options. No Good Ones.
Our story starts in 2010, boarding a custom modified Denali-bound DHC-2 in the small town of Talkeetna, AK. In the month ahead: 21 days in the Alaskan Range, with only enough room in the hold for one bag of gear. Like those before us, but now with seemingly unlimited options to choose from, was a bag full of so-called ‘specialty’ clothing that only worked if you packed a lot of it. Heading off to live and work in that gear for the next 21 days, what we really needed would go against the basic ‘sell-more’ premise of the outdoor retail industry itself: Just a few key pieces of truly hard working clothing – designed to take on anything, and built to last forever. We didn’t need more of the same. We needed things that would make ‘gear decisions’ a thing of the past.
Starting With New Rules
From Day 1, we knew that to build something different, we would have to be something different. It simply wouldn’t work if we ended up building in far off factories with huge middleman markups, and following the traditional retail path. So, in early 2011 we set out with a different plan. Instead of building in Asia, we’d build closer to home. Instead of buying the same fabrics as everybody else, we’d make our own. And instead of putting ‘great ideas’ at the mercy of retail buyers, we’d go direct to the consumer, allowing us to use only the best materials, regardless of cost.
The Natural Choice
In the years leading up to VOORMI, we’d had the opportunity to try a lot of stuff. We’d spent weeks-at-a-time living in traditional polyester fleece. We’d tried every flavor of performance underwear. And we’d sweated out so-called breathable outerwear time after time. Soft, comfortable, temperature regulating, anti-microbial, and warm when wet; it was our belief that wool would make for the ultimate foundation when it came to building do-everything clothing. Still, we felt there was room to make it better. To bring super-natural strength and wicking performance to nature’s most evolved fiber, rendering everything else obsolete. What kicked off, was a 3-year R&D project to create the most advanced natural-fiber based textiles on earth.
Building the team
To redefine the world’s expectations of textiles, we needed both an understanding for ‘how it’s done’ and the ability to challenge it. Our founding team, bringing together expertise in tech, textiles, and expedition guiding, ultimately allowed us to play by new rules – blending the time tested comfort of natural fibers, together with the most advanced manufacturing techniques on earth.
The Precision of Purpose
Over the next 3-years, we focused solely on the development of groundbreaking textiles. From the surgical placement of high performance yarns, to the creation of unique knitted structures, we built new to the world fabric platforms capable of driving years of killer products. In Fall of 2013, we launched our first product, the award winning High-E Hoodie.
Catching a Break(through)
As we continued to build out the collection over the next two years, and with countless hours of equipment experience then under our belts, in late 2014, we hatched a wild idea: To hack a traditional piece of knitting equipment in such a way that allowed for the direct insertion of waterproof membranes. This breakthrough process, essentially offering the potential to render traditional waterproof laminates obsolete, would change the game in functionalized textiles. As Wired magazine put it, CORE CONSTRUCTION® Technology was set up to be “outerwear’s biggest advancement in 40 years”.
With the collection continuing to grow, and with countless visitors dropping in to HQ, we decided to open our first company retail location in the summer of 2015. The twist: to build in a fully functional sewing operation designed to showcase the meticulous care that goes in to each and every VOORMI product.
Refusing to Rest
Year after year after that, we woke up every day and focused on what we do best: Making unbelievable fabrics for people doing unbelievable things. For on-road endurance runners, we made wool glow. For backcountry hunters, we made wool disappear. And for extreme cold weather explorers, we made wool & down combinations that would come to change the way we think about sub-zero outerwear.
Now, as we round through the first half of 2020, we reflect on what a journey it’s been. Though the support of folks all across the world (60 countries and counting), we’ve had the opportunity to grow this team, build new products, and expand our impact in domestic manufacturing (including the opening of our second retail/sewing operation in Bozeman, MT). As for what’s next? Stay tuned for some big announcements this coming year!