We love to buy stuff in America. For most men, that gets translated into gear. It’s a simple fact, and I’m convinced it is hard-wired into our brains. Technology, guns, car stereos, outdoor products, clothes; we love that stuff. I love good gear, quality products, and thoughtful design. And it might just be in part why I started Buffalo Jackson. I like things, so why not make them for others and myself?
I confess that we are far too easily caught up in a vain pursuit of acquiring stuff to make us feel something temporary, and this includes great gear. I admit that I’m the number one sinner of consumerism in many ways. I can buy to fill a hole. I remember a decade ago moving from Tennessee to Colorado. One of my first stops was the Orvis store. Buying all the latest fly fishing gear at the time, in hopes that somehow the gear would make me look the part as I stepped into those cold mountain streams. And it’s not just fishing. It could be golf, hunting, a new truck, anything related to gear.
It was a few years after all that gear acquisition, when what I was after seemed to make more sense. A mentor and friend, Ron, who I had met a few months after moving to Colorado, had taken me into the world of fly fishing. He spent time teaching and sharing with me, stories of his decades of fishing at his cabin in Estes Park, CO. One day on the stream he said, “you are a really good fly fisherman,” as he watched me cast on the water. It sent shivers down my spine.
I did not know it at the time at the Orvis store, but that is what I had been trying to buy. It took experiences, and men to get there. The gear wasn’t the answer. And I’m not even sure the words were it either. It was the community of men I was longing for, the experiences of the mountains and stories shared together; the bonds of men. He was saying in some form that I belonged. I was part of it.
The gear was a surface level desire and an entry point that got me to the deeper desire. I had tried to buy the feeling, but it had to be lived out and explored first. However, the gear in some ways was my invitation to find it eventually. If you are like me, you will probably always lust after things. Maybe there are a few products on our website that catch your eye. It’s good to ask, “why?” I hope that Buffalo Jackson might be the first step for some and inspire them actually to go looking for those things and fulfill what I believe is a genuine need.
We should also be looking at, “why are we buying stuff?” What is the deeper reason for the desire in the first place? This question won’t make you into an addict of your next item, but instead, take you deeper into what it is you truly seek from the piece of gear. A friend Joel has in his email tagline an old Scottish proverb: “they speak of my drinking, but never think of my thirst.” I love that. Gear… why do we love it? What is behind it?
About the Author: Xan Hood is a dreamer and builder. He is primarily focused on entrepreneurial ideas in concepts with mission and business. He has written several books on leadership and started a non-profit leadership program in Colorado called Training Ground. He is the founder and owner of Buffalo Jackson Trading Co. A lifestyle clothing brand and leather goods company.