It’s 7 p.m., the sun has set, and an overhead light gives hammock headquarters a golden glow.
Ojai Valley School seniors Gavin Floyd and Jeffrey Lin are sitting in the craft room in Gavin’s house. Jeffrey is crouched over a sewing machine with a sheet of neon orange lightweight Hy-perD Ripstop nylon laying out in front of him. Gavin is administering advice as Jeffrey folds the fabric and sews the fold.
The two are working on a new, super-lightweight demo camping hammock, which they are considering adding to their line of products for their company, Streme Outdoors.
Streme Outdoors, which was started this past summer, is Gavin and Jeffrey’s brain child. For now, the company just sells camping hammocks – an idea that stemmed from the boys’ love for hammocking, and the outdoors in general.
“Hammocking is a lifestyle, and it’s a lifestyle that Gavin and I have adopted,” Jeffrey said on their reason for focusing on hammocks. “And rather than just buying other people’s hammocks, we’ve decided to make our own so that we can define our own lifestyle.”
Hammocking is a new, fast-growing trend in the outdoor world.
Kids, teenagers, and adults alike are venturing into the outdoors to hang nylon hammocks between trees in lieu of tents. Hammocks are lightweight and portable – just a few of the factors that have transformed them into a necessity for many outdoorsmen.
And Gavin and Jeffrey made sure to tap into this trend.
It all started in August, when the two traveled to Montana to stay with Gavin’s grandparents.
One day, they went on a hike and both brought their hammocks. Gavin and Jeffrey have always joked that they come up with their best ideas while hiking, and on this day they definitely did.
While laying out in their hammocks, Jeffrey mused about how cool it would to have their own outdoors company.
Little did he know, this idea would soon come to fruition.
Later in the hike, Gavin and Jeffrey decided they wanted to create an Instagram account featuring pictures of nature, specifically the various places they have explored.
As soon as they got home, they launched their Instagram (@StremeOutdoors), Snapchat, Facebook, and YouTube accounts. That was when they knew they wanted to turn Streme Outdoors into an actual company.
Immediately, Gavin and Jeffrey got to work.
With a great deal of research ahead, they began by tackling the art of making the hammocks. Gavin already knew how to sew, taught at a young age by his mom, Michele Floyd, but Jeffrey still had to learn. So Gavin and Mrs. Floyd showed Jeffrey all of the sewing techniques and terms he needed to know.
Gavin and Jeffrey also had to learn about the various aspects of fabric, such as the weight capacity and the quality of the fabric itself.
“Throughout the process of making a company we’ve learned a lot of stuff,” Gavin said.
And eventually, Gavin and Jeffrey added fellow classmate, Vlad Voronov, to the company.
Two weeks into the school year, the pair realized they were unable to financially support the company alone.
Vlad is a close friend of the two, as well as a fellow hammock enthusiast, so Gavin and Jeffrey made a proposal. They asked him to invest in the company, promising that they would soon pay him back fully.
But Vlad had another idea. He wanted to become part of the company, instead of just handing over his money.
Now, the company is divided three ways: Gavin and Jeffrey each own 40%, and Vlad 20%. Before they could start making and selling hammocks, the boys had to garner more attention for the brand.
In the first few weeks of school, the three passed out countless stickers, branded with their company logo, to teachers and students.
Within a few days, the campus was deluged with little white stickers, and it seemed as though every binder, water bottle, phone case, and more, was advertising Streme Outdoors.
Come October, it was finally time for Gavin and Jeffrey to attempt their first hammock. To make just one, the boys needed 3-4 yards of fabric, heavy duty rope, and 2 carabiners.
First, they purchased fabric sample squares from Ripstop by the Roll, a nylon and fabric distributor. From there, they decided which fabric to use for their prototype hammock.
After that, they were ready to go.
Gavin and Jeffrey made one white, single person hammock, and one green, two person hammock, both of which often serve as the centerpiece of their scenic Instagram pictures.
In late October, senior Dahee Roh placed an order for a hammock. The hammocks are custom made, so in early November she received her order.
Dahee has expressed her love for the product, posting a photo to Instagram of her red hammock hung between two trees.
“I can trust them because they’re my peers,” Dahee said on why she chose to purchase from her classmates. “If there’s something wrong with the hammock I can just go talk to them directly.”
Since then, more people have expressed interest in the hammocks, even those from as far away as Colorado. And as Streme Outdoors grows larger and larger, more and more people learn about it.
History teacher and Outdoor Education Coordinator Zach Byars weighed in on the company.
“I think it’s awesome,” he said. “It shows that they’re interested in being in the outdoors, and trying to make it better. I slept in one of the Streme Outdoors hammocks, I like their innovation.”
As the school year has progressed, the boys’ attention has been diverted.
Jeffrey is currently consumed by the seemingly never-ending college application process, and therefore some of his focus on the company has shifted to academics.
For Gavin, however, the college application process is over. Gavin chose to apply to multiple colleges over the summer, and has since been accepted to his #1 choice, allowing him to spend more time on Streme Outdoors.
Lately, Gavin has been researching a backpack that can compress into the size of a softball, hoping to add this to the company’s product line.
But for now, Gavin and Jeffrey’s main focus is garnering attention for the company.
Beyond that, the boys are also looking to the future.
Though it may seem like an eternity, summer will be here soon, and with that Gavin and Jeffrey will lose the ability to see each other everyday and work on the company.
Gavin and Jeffrey, however, are determined to keep their company running through the summer, and hopefully throughout college as well. They both plan on bringing sewing machines with them to college, and to continue growing the company even while apart.
“This is something that we both love, and even if we didn’t create the company we would be doing something really similar,” Jeffrey said. “This is our passion and I want to help share it with people.”Share