The Changes in Mossy Oak and How the Consumer Benefits From Them
Editor’s Note: Mossy Oak camouflage was the brain child of Toxey Haas of West Point, Mississippi, 28-years ago. In the beginning, Mossy Oak was a start-up company with one pattern, Bottomland, but has grown into a multifaceted family of companies under the Mossy Oak brand. Why has Mossy Oak continued to grow? Why are thousands of outdoor enthusiasts joining the Mossy Oak brand? What’s in the future for Mossy Oak? To get the answers to these questions, we went to the source and the founder - Toxey Haas.
Question: Toxey, back when you first started the Mossy Oak Company 28-years ago, in your wildest dreams, did you foresee the future of Mossy Oak as it is today?
Haas: No. We have more businesses now than I ever could have imagined. In 2014, Mossy Oak had its biggest growth ever. We’re working in so many areas of the outdoors that I’m not sure I even can recall all the different aspects of the outdoors that wear the Mossy Oak brand. Mossy Oak is the result of many people’s efforts. I’m convinced that Mossy Oak has grown because of our central philosophy, which is to try and help everyone in the Mossy Oak family become even better people. We’re a close-knit group of people who work together for the good of the Mossy Oak family. In the last 5 or 6 years, the focus of our company has changed as we strive to make ourselves better and everyone we come in contact with better. This philosophy trickles down to our Pro Staffers, who help teach the outdoor lifestyle to all the people they meet, the charities and the consumers with whom they work. We have one boss at Mossy Oak - the consumer. People from every walk of life tell us what they want, and what they need, and we try to meet those needs. The consumer always has been the boss that we at Mossy Oak serve. Listening to our consumers and trying to meet his/her needs has led us into a wide variety of businesses.
Question: Toxey, what has caused the big change in the growth of Mossy Oak?
Haas: Through the years of growth at Mossy Oak, I've learned that the most-valuable asset that each one of us has individually and collectively is time. When we create new businesses, we want to create businesses around our passion and the things we love to do. We've learned that the businesses we love to be involved in grow faster and meet more needs. For instance, many people don’t understand why we as a camo company got into the wildlife-nutrition business, and why we began a real-estate company. Many people have told us, “You’re in the camouflage-clothing business. How does creating and developing seeds, trees and bushes for wildlife and selling real estate match-up with camouflage?”
As I’ve mentioned earlier, we’re in business for the consumer. Many of our consumers like to hunt and observe wildlife. But if there's not any wildlife on the properties they hunt or the areas where they watch wildlife, then we’re not meeting our consumer’s needs. Without the wildlife- nutrition business, planting food plots, fruit and nut trees, bushes and shrubs and putting out minerals, critters won’t stay on the land for our consumers to enjoy. Then if we take one step back again, if the consumer can’t find or purchase the land to raise the wildlife on, then we haven’t met the needs of our consumers. That’s why we started the real-estate company and the wildlife-nutrition business. Our consumers wanted places to hunt and observe wildlife, and they wanted to enhance and produce more wildlife on the properties they observed wildlife on and hunted. Hunting and observing wildlife has come full circle. From being hunters and gatherers and taking what the land provides, we’ve learned that by improving habitat and producing more food for more wildlife, we can have more wildlife on our properties now than ever before. Even if people don’t own land, they are now thinking about, “How do I make the property that I hunt better for wildlife to see more game than I have in the past?”
One of the fastest-growing segments of Mossy Oak is gamekeeping - protecting the land, protecting and improving the habitat there and producing more wildlife than the land previously has produced. Gamekeeping is also about protecting that wildlife and watching the animals grow and mature. From talking to our consumers, I've learned that gamekeeping has become as much, if not more, of a sport than bowhunting, gun hunting, bird watching or any other outdoor activity. Seeing the growing number of sportsmen who enjoy spending time on their tractors, improving habitat and creating wildlife food as much as they do sitting in their tree stands during hunting season has been rewarding for us at Mossy Oak. Today, practicing conservation and protecting our wildlife resources, which are renewable resources, are part of most outdoor people’s lifestyle. We've seen hunters transition from being only consumers of our wildlife resources to now being a provider or a creator of more wildlife for everyone. I think that transition is very special and unique.