We’re starting a new series called, “What’s New? Talking Shop with Mark.” Each month, we plan on interviewing the big boss, Mark King, the captain of this ship that we call Trayvax. So let’s see what’s going on in the mind of Mark and the direction we're all headed.
Can you give a sneak peek or talk about any new products that you are currently working on?
Currently, I am working on a truck bed camper. As an aspiring outdoor product company, I want to make sure that Trayvax can offer reliable gear that you can take with you on your journey. One goal of mine is to be able to offer a truck camper that is not only built to last 65 years, but one that is American made and inexpensive in comparison to others that are on the market today.
You recently purchased a CNC machine. What are your plans for that?
Prototyping! We are working to make an innovative coffee press that can be handed down through generations. This will be the type of product that wouldn't necessarily be for taking backpacking, but certainly one that can be used easily day to day and while camping.
Are you planning any notable events or changes to your facility?
Right now I am working on designing our dream facility. It's a 200,000 square foot facility that houses many varieties of manufacturing machinery. Our goal is to be able to manufacture all of our materials in house with the corresponding machinery and then ship our US made parts to satellite manufacturing facilities that are located across the US. I want to make sure that Trayvax is offering jobs right where they are needed. This dream facility and distribution model are far out goals, but I think that it's important to know what exactly we are aiming at as an organization.
Where do you envision Trayvax five-years from now?
I see our company being in a much larger facility. We will be manufacturing backpacks, outdoor gear and apparel, trailers, hiking gear, and we will have an in-house non profit that is making an impact on the nation and world with humanitarian causes. Our cultural standards will be set and we will be in the middle of rapid growth. I would like to see at least two Trayvax satellite manufacturing facilities in Bellingham and that our company is operating off of refined, LEAN manufacturing principles. This is so important!
What makes Trayvax different from other outdoor manufacturers?
One of our five organizational values is “innovation.” This is the only way that we will survive as a US product company. Our prices as a US manufacturing company will never be competitive with products made overseas. That is a fact that we have had to come to terms with. That said, in order to sustain, we must be more innovative than other outdoor manufacturers. We must take more risks and push to shape the future of outdoor gear. We aren't and will never be the cheapest outdoor product company. But my goal is to see that our company is producing gear that has a 65 year heirloom warranty and gear that you love the more you use it.
Do you have any advice to give to young inventors or small business owners?
If you are interested in gaining freedom or lots of money by taking on business, then you are taking it on for the wrong reasons. This company is not an extension of my life, it is my life and I am 100 percent dedicated to its success. Entrepreneurialism is full of painful risks and constant difficulties. That's why most businesses fail. It can only work if you mentally and emotionally give yourself no “plan B”. Most businesses fail because they see failure as an option and innovation as a stroke of luck.