Scott and Genevieve Matsonmet and fell in love while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2016. After completing the trail, Scott moved to Nelson from Nebraska so they could be together. The following year, Scott spent the winter and spring designing and sewing backpacks that they would use for their upcoming honeymoon hike, working on an old sewing machine from a local thrift shop. The result was an effective lightweight product. But the process was inefficient.
Fast forward to June 2018, the launch of Northern Ultralight, a lightweight hiking gear company that designs and crafts products in the Kootenays. Their first product, the Sundown, was created after many design iterations and extensive testing -- made possible by the equipment available at MIDAS Lab, a state-of-the-art equipment and training facility located in Trail, B.C.
We sat down with Scott to learn how a MIDAS Lab membership impacted his company.
Q: What do you do/create at MIDAS Lab?
Scott: Our business, Northern Ultralight, creates ultralight backpacking equipment, here in the Kootenays. We have been using the equipment available at the MIDAS Lab to prepare raw materials for production. Having access to their laser cutter has enabled us to increase the efficiency and precision of our manufacturing process while allowing us to go from concept to in-market in just over a year.
Q: What do you love most about making and creating at MIDAS Lab?
Scott: I love that there is an atmosphere of creativity and collaboration. The friendly and knowledgeable staff, combined with cutting edge equipment, has allowed us to turn our vision into a reality.
Q: What does innovation mean to you?
Scott: As a small manufacturing business, we often have to think outside the box to find solutions to the unique challenges we face. Our first solution may not be perfect, but we are consistently striving to improve over time. To me, this is what innovation is all about: embracing an evolutionary mindset.
Are you a company based in, or thinking to relocate to the Kootenays? Whether you’re an individual looking to gain skills to launch your startup or a company that wants to build a prototype, our partners at MIDAS Labs could be your next favourite asset. Learn more about their membership options here.