The Earliest Days - 1980's
Garuda takes shape - 1990
Pictures re-animate the eclipsed memories - what an invigorating journey down
memory lane it has been to recently pull this material together 20 years after the
Alas, fewer people populate my pictures than my memory. I am bewildered by the
discovery as I went through old packets of pictures that there are so few photos of
the friends, cohorts and colleagues en route. Though much of the early years
were indeed a solo endeavor in front of the computer, atop the cutting tables,
behind a sewing machine and out field testing, there were many key people
involved but apparently not in the 'picture' - such is my loss.
Also my loss that upon resigning I left behind with K2 most of the few field
pictures of the prototypes and early tents, all of which were considered 'promo'
materials transferred to K2 with the sale.
Circa 1984-85; for the canopy, I'd been lucky to get remnant bolts of Marmot's gore-tex Adventure Cloth
at their Grand Junction factory in '83 while I was picking up product for the CO Mountain Miser stores.
The garage 'cutting table' and basement sewing area in the Ballard house shared with Keebs & Collin.
Prototypes weathering in the backyard, day & night through '90.
Garuda evolves - circa 1991-92
The converted Burien house basement workshop - hand built tables, jury-rigged apparatus,
experimenting with materials and technique - learning to actually do it all well, though slowly and
painfully, steadily progressed.
Eventually becoming an official 'Garuda Central' office: the design and admin desk, the
ever-experimental 'plotter paper contraption' to enable printing one continuous pattern per fabric type
(latter abandoned for plotting several patterns at once on card stock, then positioning on fabric....).
Following years of improvisation and scrounging and specing new fabrics, ordered the first batches of
actual materials to initial Garuda colors and specs - the next scary plunge into the deep waters of 'have
debt, no turning back now'. Then the first photo shoot for a first catalog...
Garuda takes flight in fall of '92
Garuda moved to its own nest in January '93
Leased 2,400 sf in Georgetown (south Seattle). Weeks of building everything all by hand over long
days to save capital - less than half the debt versus buy ready-made. Custom designed and made to
how I thought it may work best, it often did (and sometimes not so much....). Next up, hire some folks!
'91 Jalan prototype
on Mt. Rainier
So, what happened in the early days...
Started off too ignorant to know better, and begun from absolutely nothing but an interest and the means:
- Designed and engineered all prototypes, model lines and product upgrades.
- Implemented CAD software and hardware to create designs, patterns, markers, assembly,
documentation, instruction manuals, and marketing graphics.
- Researched, sourced, negotiated, and purchased all equipment and materials.
- Worked with vendors to develop new, industry-influencing fabrics specific to Garuda.
- Created all manufacturing processes; designed and built manufacturing facility space
- Engineered and performed all aspects of production and manufacturing.