...from a few films, and fifty t-shirts...
In summer of 2013 Chase and Jay met at an archery pro shop in southern Arizona. They discussed a shared passion for hunting, filming, and photography - and made plans to film a feature length documentary of five hunts, on five mountains, for five different species. Like a lot of ideas at The Mountain Project, this one was good, but would never come to fruition. Instead, the pair teamed up and filmed each other’s hunts, releasing the films individually over the course of the next few years.
Luckily, these films didn’t entirely suck. Some people watched them. Some said they were actually pretty good. Some of those films even won awards and industry recognition. And a number of friends and family, and acquaintances started to follow what The Mountain Project was doing. And then those friends and acquaintances began to grow.
In early 2016, Chase asked Jay if he could draw an elk with a butcher cut diagram on it. Jay half-assedly did so. They decided to print this on fifty t-shirts and sell them on the website. At the time, it seemed like a risk. There wasn’t a lot of money to spend on t-shirts. But those fifty shirts sold in a day or two. And The Mountain Project was reborn as an apparel brand. We pride ourselves on being beer-guzzling, rifle-toting rednecks, but even more so on turning that stereotype on it's head with thoughtful designs that promote the outdoor lifestyle, positive masculinity, and respect for the natural world - the one in which man is a participant, and not just a city-dwelling spectator.
That first Organic Elk Tee became a Whitetail Tee. Then a Mule Deer. Today, these three shirts are the staple of the line. But other animals cycle in and out of the rotation.
And of course there are still a lot of hunts, and a lot of films released on The Mountain Project YouTube Channel.
The team has expanded too, including Kevin and Brittney, and Sam. Plus a lot of others who work behind the scenes to make The Mountain Project what it is today.
But most importantly, if you’re reading this, it is what it is because you’ve generously traded us $25 for a t-shirt... given us a follow on our Instagram page, or spent your time watching our films and videos. And for that, we can’t thank you enough.