Meet the Outdoor Entrepreneurs: PACMAT

Meet the Outdoor Entrepreneurs: PACMAT

A little while ago I had (what I thought was) a great idea. Through my blog I’ve come into contact with an array of outdoor businesses. From established household names, to start ups and everything in between. I think that I’ve been really lucky in this regard, I’ve met great people and found out about amazing products that I otherwise wouldn’t have done. The people that interest me the most are those who have had an idea and have had the guts to run with it. I have a business background (I have a degree in business studies, my day job is in retail management and I help run my husband’s garden design business) so I find this whole area so fascinating.
Quite often I come across new companies and we collaborate, i.e. I review their product, do a guest post for their blog or help to spread the word, and then we go our separate ways. So I thought it would be great to go back and dig a little deeper. Find out about the stories and the motivations behind these outdoor entrepreneurs.
I decided to start this new series with one of my favourite new finds from this year: PACMAT. Not only did I love trying out the product, but I always carry our trusty mat in our bag now. We also took it to the beach this year and it turned out to be so useful.

Finn is a big fan of the PACMAT!

So without further ado, I’ll let Megan introduce herself and the business she runs with her husband Guy.

“We (Guy and I) work together running Rubbaglove, a creative marketing agency.
Before that I worked in various agencies as an Art Director and Guy was a Publisher
for IDG, International Data Group, an American IT publishing company. We have two
children who are growing up fast. We’ve always spent a lot of time outdoors with
them from Eliza’s first ski trip at the age of 2 weeks. Currently we live and work in
London (with a couple of stints in Bruton, Somerset), but escape whenever we can.”

Megan and Guy run a creative agency together together.

Have you always loved the outdoors?

We have always loved the outdoors. At the age of 5, in the early 70s, I was taken
trekking in the Himalayas, (my mum wrote a book about it called “Walking in the

Walking in Nepal

Throughout my childhood, growing up in the Berkshire countryside, I spent
a lot of time sailing and lived for ponies and just generally mucking about outside.
Guy grew up near the Welsh hills and spent some of his youth orienteering at night.
We both got hooked to boarding and later skiing together. Going higher, further and
steeper. We both enjoy the challenge and peace of touring. And now, with the kids, in
the Summer we climb, mountain bike and hike in the alps and Dartmoor and in the
winter, as a family we ski. The rest of the time we bumble around East London.”

When the children were small, at the Floria in Chamonix. Eliza had walked up by herself.

Where did the idea come from? How did your business start?

“We were passing the time on the drive down to Dartmoor, brain storming. It’s just
something we thought would be great to have and fun to combine with our ability to
design. I used to take the kids out with a double buggy and the kitchen sink. I always
dithered about taking the bulky picnic mat. When our youngest was young he wouldn’t touch the snow so I used to have to take a mat everywhere. I wanted something light enough to take everywhere with me. It’s great for hiking but I also find it invaluable around London parks, especially in the Autumn when the grass is usually wet.”

Proudest moment in business so far?

“Getting accepted into Not on the High Street was a high point. But most of all it’s
general feedback. Most people who have bought one PACMAT come back for more.
We have lots of lovely users who give us great feedback. Recently we produced a
special poncho for Gordon’s gin for a Taste PR which was fun.”

Megan taking a break from walking in Chamonix

What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

“Our biggest challenge, like many small start ups – time and money. We’ve not worked out how to overcome either yet!”

Anything you’d do differently?

“I’m not sure yet, we’re still learning!”

What’s your best tip for budding entrepreneurs?

“Believe in your idea/product. Be optimistic. Be ready to change your direction quickly if needed. Learn from your mistakes. I did a little blog post about this here

Do you have any business heroes? Anyone who has helped you along the way?

“We had a long chat with a family friend who runs a very successful mail order retail outlet. He had some helpful tips and was used as a sanity board. Talking to our users, relevant editors (Rambler magazine was helpful). I also try to attend TantrumXYZ Round Table, run by Lisa Williams, which I find really helpful. Just chatting through ideas openly with other start ups (and not so start up). It’s great to have fresh input.”

Eliza and me on our pacmat after a long, steep hot walk up the the Emmoson dam.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

We’ve recently got in with an outdoor retailer. I’d like to do more of this.
We are talking to various people about licencing patterns/prints. I’d like to develop a
few new products I have in mind. All of our products are things that I find useful. I
love having them and hope other people will too.”

And finally, what would be your desert island item?

Just one luxury item? Obviously a PACMAT. But I’d love a radio too. I thought I’d have my phone but Guy tells me I wouldn’t be allowed that. And hand cream. I hate my hands being dry – which has made climbing a little tricky! It’s hard to choose just one.”

Thank you so much to Megan for being my first interviewee and giving us some more insight into her business. If you would like to find out more, you can find their website here. Rubbastuff are also on Twitter and Facebook. 

The next instalment will be in two weeks time, when I’ll be talking to another outdoor entrepreneur. If you would like to be involved in a future edition of Meet the Outdoor Entrepreneurs, please drop me an email



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