At TerraPax we talk a lot about industrial ecology. It isn't a particularly attractive term, but it has a poetry all its own. It means crafting industry to work as an ecological system - completely in balance, with no waste and total accountability. It means eliminating the hidden costs that toxins and chemicals impart to our air and water. It means doing it right the first time, where all waste must be food for other industry, or for microorganisms. Just put no garbage. It's inevitable that companies will be held accountable for every aspect of their products. Not only will this type of thinking become fashionable - it will be cost effective. TerraPax is practicing this concept because business is the most influential means of change; nature the most advanced model for business.
At TerraPax, all of our manufacturing “waste” is collected and is either “food” for microorganisms through composting, or “food” for Green Field Paper Company, which makes sketchbooks, greeting cards, and paper from the hemp fiber. We also take full responsibility for the materials that make up our finished products. We will purchase the solid brass hardware and fittings from the consumer at the end of the products lifetime for 20% off the price of a new TerraPax product. These materials are so substantial that we can reuse them in new products and eliminate obsolescence.
Synthetic materials used in most 'modern' backpacks and carry bags are derived from petrochemicals that are dyed using heavy metals and are commonly coated with polyurethane, DWR (durable water repellent), and other fabric treatments. Although many of these advances provide great laboratory performance, most are unnecessary for carrying goods and do not enhance the product owners experience. Quite the contrary; when someone purchases an inexpensive synthetic backpack and believes they have received good value, they are not considering the actual costs involved in extracting the raw materials and manufacturing the fabrics and plastics. The real costs are absorbed in our air and water to be paid by rising health risks, deteriorating resources, and quality of our environment. Consumers do not consider these costs when purchasing a backpack for a trip to the Sierra. The very product they bring to the wilderness is destroying what they seek to enjoy.
TerraPax materials are selected for their sustainability and minimum dependence on petrochemicals; their ability to be reaped for generations with little or no detrimental effects to the ecosystem. Essentially these are agricultural products that are produced organically. Our hemp shell fabric is as strong as many synthetic nylon fabrics but doesn't have as many hidden costs associated with its manufacture. In other words; it will carry your goods effectively through life without taxing the environment. Sure, it may cost a little more than a synthetic bag, but there is nothing to come between you and your outdoor experience. And if our economy is ever adjusted to reflect the real costs of resources, TerraPax products will be one of the least expensive items you can buy.
The company's first product was a personal script back for actor Paul Newman, also a friend of James. Paul was also the company 's first investor, guaranteeing the credit amount and putting the young company on track. Paul introduced these products to a friend, actor Robert Redford, who achieved the best sales in his Mail order business, the Sundance Catalog. The first retailer, at Down Works, in Santa Cruz, California. Nick and Shelly of Down Works still own the store and are operating, and the picture of the first TerraPax bag can be seen on the wall of the shop even after 24 years have passed. "Script for back" designed for Paul Newman became very popular among celebrities and musicians. Tom Petty orders 30 bags for the band and the crew each time his band had a tour. In 1995, during the movie shooting of Apollo 13, director Ron Howard ordered 300 embroidered bags specially tailored as a gift to the crew. Terapax also produced gigs and bags for musicians, such as Bob Wire of Great Full Dead and Shaun Colvin. Even there was even a subproject called Six-Eight Music Bag, which expanded the product line of gig bags exclusively for musicians, including licensing agreements with Gibson guitars. (Production is paused.)
After 2001, Terapax will gradually become independent from Overland Equipment, and slowly will be managed by Joe and Mary and Yoleki afterward. Maria has sewing skills like high-end tailoring that produces the best results from the time he was enrolled at OverLand Equipment, controlling manufacturing, Joe continues to operate the day-to-day operations. The things that Terrapax said about 24 years ago, the number of claims are fantastic. The company has gone a long way through the times. While customers have an understanding of the products, many customers do not buy TerraPax's products because they are environmentally friendly, they buy back because they are mostly beautiful. As the momentum of organic foods points, consumers continue to learn how small the ecosystem is and how important it is for us to make choices as consumers.