WHO WE ARE
Hey world, we are Outdoor Element, a Colorado company. We encourage all to discover the great outdoors and explore with confidence as they equip themselves with Outdoor Element gear. We love the outdoors; it’s in our veins.
Mike Mojica, one of the founders of OE, is a mechanical engineer who spent most of his time in aerospace and military vehicle mods. He grew up as an Army brat (Father served 20 years…then another 20 years working for the VA). Much respect to all our armed forces. Mojica loved what he was doing but, with a passion for outdoors and design, the entrepreneur in him broke free as he decided to leave his 8-5 in late 2017. With a leap of faith and the burning American Dream in his soul we are determined to deliver unique, novel gear that complements your outdoor adventure. His favorite childhood memories are the trial runs with his mom in Germany (Nein Spreche Deutsch) and some crazy summer scout camps …both of which he was chased by bulls. He was raised in Texas (God bless Texas) but defected to Colorado in 2012 and discovered what a 14er looks like. Thus far, he has conquered Mt. Yale, Humboldt Peak, Quandary Peak, Mt. Oxford, Mt. Belford, Maroon Peak, Mt Shavano, Tabeguache Peak, Mt. Evans, Mt. Bierstadt and Pikes Peak a couple of times (including the Pikes Peak Ascent ½ marathon race…which he did not win but rather barley survived).
While ascending Yale, his first 14er, he stopped a hiker who was heading down and limping badly to see if he could help. She explained that she went up early to catch a sunrise-summit but on the way down she rolled an ankle. They were still above tree line (about 12,500 feet)! Mojica sat her down, pulled out his first-aid kit and wrapped her up and sent her on her way. A few minutes later he realized he had a bottle of Motrin that he neglected to give her…he still feels bad about that. However he realized the importance of being prepared. And he also realized how many of us set out on a trek thinking we are prepared, but in reality we all could use some refinement and first-aid training.
During the Kodiak Survival Paracord Braid prototype phase, in a solid February Colorado snowstorm, Mojica fell into a sallow half frozen river. Of course, he was wearing jeans, cotton gloves, and a fleece top…which equals frozen. He was cold and deliberated hiking back to the truck and call it a mulligan for this field-testing day. It was decided to see if this thing really worked. It took him 30-45 minutes to get a good fire going, which would have normally only taken 5 minutes…things are way different when you can’t feel your fingers. But at the end of the day, it worked!
We learned some valuable lessons that day. Be prepared and take field testing seriously…it can literally be needed for a life-saving moment. In a mountaineering course in Golden, CO, he was taught that two is one and one is none…for fire creation. We should always have at least 2 ways to create fire on us at all times. The Kodiak and firebiner are 1-ounce solutions for this requirement. You may find a common theme with much of our product. Mojica might be a little obsessed with fire creation. In an emergency, if you can make a fire, it can bring you warmth, light, protection and allows you to signal and be found. With the help of his father, his pedigree chart was presented to the Indian Nation and was appropriately give his Native name: “Bodaway” which means “Fire maker.” He is a proud part of the Pueblo Nation, Laguna Tribe.
Making a fire can be the difference between life and death. Our hope is, that not only do you become familiar with our product, but you also become proficient. If you find yourself in a pickle, you will be confident. Get outdoors and explore with confidence.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH AND SUPPORT
Like any small business there is much to learn and many hats to wear. During the first few years, outdoor element was more of a side hustle as Mojica learned the art of entrepreneurship. He learned a lot about himself and learned that it is impossible to grow a business by himself. He learned how to humble himself and accept critical feedback. The team has changed over the years with both setbacks and growth. Joe Brown joined Mojica as a partner in 2015. Together, they have seen designs fail, direction has been altered, there have been ups and downs, and through it all OE has blossomed into the American Dream…with all of the hardships and sweat that come with that dream. We have grown a deep appreciation for the heart and soul of the American economy…the local businessman and the daily grind. We encourage all to shop local and reward those individuals who dare to take on risk to support their families.
One of our first customers was Ace Hardware. Ace Hardware shops are co-ops. No wonder why they are considered “the helpful place.” These shops have local owners who take on the risk of owning a place of business. There’s a reason why they know that the 3M spray adhesive you’re looking for is on aisle 13, on the second shelf, half way down on right hand side. Plus, they will walk you to the product, because you matter. Because they are a Co-Op, they control what they carry in their shops…if you don’t see a firebiner in your local Ace, it’s okay to give them a nudge and request it. As we continue to grow we will do our best to post shop/outfitter locations that sell our product and encourage all to shop local.
As you would guess, we love the outdoors. Mojica and family have never been to Disney World…but they have been to Yellowstone, The Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain National Park and many other state parks and national forests. As you review our gear, you will find some themed product. We are looking for ways to give back to these breathtaking places. For Example, we are 2019 Public Land Alliance (PLA) “Benefactors”. PLA forms partnerships with a land management agency to support parks, forests, refuges, conservation areas and other public lands sites. To learn more about PLA please visit their site and dare to get involved! If you have an awesome cause related to the great outdoors and would like to collaborate, feel free to reach out. We can’t say yes to everyone, but we like to give back where possible.