Gulch LLC, founded in 2014, is a company that focuses on crafting simplistic functional camouflage apparel using Toray® and Polartec® fabrics and manufacturing in the USA. Our goals are to listen to our customer feedback, address their concerns and adapt our products accordingly. Gulch is a direct to consumer business eliminating the middleman and retail markup, allowing us to design functional gear without restriction and to deliver them to our customer at an affordable price.
Gulch LLC headquarters, located in Hillsboro, OR, was founded by Brian Tindall, a lifelong hunter and outdoorsman. He received his BS in industrial design from Western Michigan University and spent twenty years working as a Character Technical Director in the animation industry, his last 12 years at Pixar Animation Studios.
In 2013, when I started drafting my business plan for Gulch, I knew that I wanted to manufacture all of our products in the States. I wanted my company to provide an honorable wage for the people who were building our products and have a close working relationship with all of our strategic partners. I wanted to invest in our people and our country. I am extremely passionate about quality American Made products and the stories behind the people who create them. I wanted not only to have a close working relationship with our partners, but a personal relationship with the people behind them. I am not out to maximize profit by manufacturing in other countries like Asia, as so many other companies do. Yes, making our products in the States is definitely more expensive in the short run, but I believe it will pay off in the long run.
“BCG, the Boston consultancy, estimates the average cost to manufacture goods in the U.S. is now only 5% higher than in China and is actually 10% to 20% lower than in major European economies. The BCG projects that by 2018 it will be 2% to 3% cheaper to make stuff here than in China.” as cited by Fortune Magazine.
Gulch is using the most advanced technical fabrics in the world, which has been a challenge because they are not always milled in the States, but our manufacturing is 100% made in the USA, as are all of our components that make up our products.
From Pixar to Camouflage
In 1993 when I decided that I wanted to be an animator, I knew nothing about animation other than I loved watching animated films from Disney. In 1995 Toy Story was released by Pixar and I knew that I wanted to be part of this new computer animation revolution. My path to Pixar took five years and on September 11th 2000 I started working at Pixar as a Character Technical Director. While at Pixar, I won two Visual Effects Society awards for "Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture" for my Character Modeling and Articulation skills on two lead characters, Carl, in the movie UP, and Merida, in the movie BRAVE. VES Awards recognizes and honors the most outstanding visual effects works of the year and the artists who created them. While at Pixar, I worked on eleven animated feature films and two animated short films, all nominated for Academy Awards, six of which won Oscars for "Best Animated Feature Film".
What does animation have to do with camouflage apparel? A lot more than you might think. My job at Pixar centered around creating characters and designing animated controls for body and facial motions. Character Technical Directors were the first team on a new film, after the Story team. The Character design thought process at Pixar was grueling. You were under the microscope every day, but in the most innovative and unrestricted creative way. You were encouraged to always go out on a limb and were never persecuted for doing so. Your design decisions affected all of the film’s down stream productions. You were the tip of the sword. As a Character TD, you had to master not only shape and form, but the understanding of how space, light and color affected your design. Using Pixar’s production model, I designed my Cross Cover® camouflage pattern by looking at the way positive and negative space interacts with color and light. Then using the same tools as a Character TD, I took my camo designs from a 2D flat shape and mapped them onto 3D characters to look at how well they performed in motion. This also allowed me to composite my camouflage character into real world environments without having to spend the time to produce a real prototype. Our apparel development pipeline also utilizes the same techniques, tools, and software that I mastered while at Pixar. Currently, the software used in the Apparel Industry is years behind what can be done in software designed for the special effects/animation industry. By using state of the art FX software, we make smarter and faster design decision. This cuts down our sampling cost, makes us more sustainable, and reduces product development time by 75 percent.
At Pixar I was surrounded by the top minds in their respective fields. This was not only on the artistic side, but also on the business side. Steve Jobs owned Pixar at the time and had built his company through trust in his employees. At our company meetings we were exposed to real insider information that could truly damage the company if spoken outside, but we were trusted with that information. All employees at Pixar were approachable, even Steve.
It is our philosophy that having trust in your employees is the most fundamental building block of a company. I have hired people who are way smarter than I, and have encouraged open collaboration without repercussions. Since 2014, I have been building a relationship with our manufacturing facility here in Hillsboro, Oregon to build the most technically advanced hunting apparel possible, along with setting up the pipeline to produce and deliver our products to our customers. Our Cross Cover® camouflage apparel is hand crafted by some of the most talented seamstresses who work in small teams building your garment. We utilize freelance Pattern Makers and Graders from our local talent pool from Nike, Adidas, and Columbia Sportswear. We source all our apparel components from the States, from our YKK zippers made in Atlanta, to our buttons and buckles made in Illinois.
The foundation of our company is built through our employees and our survival will be built through our customer relations. We manufacture camouflage apparel to conceal you while you are out in the field. What we do not make is apparel that makes you look like a billboard or use flashy orange, pink, and teal accent colors to make a fashion statement. We are in the business of camouflage and Cross Cover® is our brand logo. We listen to our customer feedback, address their concerns, and adapt our products accordingly.
Radical TransparencyHere at Gulch® we take our transparency business model one step more than our competitors by also including "pricing transparency". We believe customers have the right to know what their products cost to make. This page will give you the consumer our cost that goes into making a product, how much money we are making off of each garment and how we calculate the process. Our transparency policy means you are not only informed upfront on our manufactures and suppliers behind our products but also what it cost us to produce our products. Please click on the link below to see our cost, suppliers and manufacturers.