We all know what a dirt nap feels like. We also know what waking up on a deflated air mattress does to our morning morale. Having a comfortable rest when you fest is freaking key, regardless of how much sleep you are actually getting. So, it’s time to get aquatinted with Canadian engineer and entrepreneur Sawyer Pahl, who came up with a solution to your traditional air mattress woes. We had the chance to sit down with this mastermind to ask him about his new venture and how this concept came into being.
What was the ‘eureka’ moment that inspired you to start CompREST?
I was on day 2 of an amateur surf trip, camping on Sombrio Beach in BC. I was suffering my 3rd leaky air mattress that year. It was that classic ‘AHA!’ moment. I was sitting at the fire, beer in hand, basically cursing my air mattress because I knew I was going to wake up on the ground again, 5:27 am… way earlier and way grumpier than I’d like.
So I’m thinking, “My bed at home is awesome. It never pops and it never leaks – all thanks to foam. I really do appreciate foam; it’s a bummer it’s just too big for camping.”
“Man, it’d be sweet if you could vacuum-pack it.”
2 months later I had a basic prototype made and I’ve been obsessed with making the world’s greatest camping bed ever since.
How do you think your innovative product will change the world?
This is a big question. I have a pretty expansive vision for CompREST, but I’ll try avoiding using words like global or synergy or revolutionary because, do people ever really like hearing buzz words?
Basically, CompREST is going to revolutionize the music festival and comfort camping experience for global synergy. Mic drop.
Seriously though, right now CompREST is still in its earliest stages. It’s a great product and people really like it, but I have 3 versions of the product that I’d like to develop before I’d consider the project close to complete. My biggest vision would be to push the product to a point where it has military and disaster relief applications. Another really cool avenue is all the people who will be joining the internet in the next 5 years. As of 2015, 3.2 billion people were on the internet, so that leaves another 3 billion that’ll be signing on in the developing world. So, it’s really cool to think about what they’re going to need. I like to think they’ll need some new beds.
On the more practical side, we’re a startup focused on the comfort camper and what they like. I’ve been really enjoying exploring ways to reach our audience. So right now, I’m really interested in entertaining people through fun, inspiring content, and a few dad jokes here and there never hurt.
It’s one thing for us to be creating useful content, but I think it’s really important to encourage our audience to explore and create their own stories. It’s pretty cool that you can inspire adventure with a product; I look to do that with CompREST. We live in this really exciting time where anyone can create useful or entertaining content. CompREST is looking to launch an ambassador program next year where we’ll reward campers who share their camping adventures. I think getting people out adventuring is a noble enough cause, and it should be pretty fun to see what comes back!
What has been the biggest pain in the ass developing the product/business since you started this project?
Patience. So much patience.
CompREST is one of my first endeavours so I’ve been consistently researching how to get stuff done and how to improve on things. The best and most useful articles are created by the best and most useful entrepreneurs – really the cream of the crop. It’s easy to compare yourself to these really accomplished people and get a bit down on yourself about your moderate successes. The reality is that, when you start your first business, you’re signing up to be crappy at everything for a while. It’s basically necessary to find a way to enjoy your time playing in the minor leagues because if you don’t enjoy it, you can’t keep it up.
One of the biggest learning curves has definitely been marketing. There’s a lot of noise out there already and with so many options for getting the word out, it’s hard to know where to invest your effort.
Tell us the top 5 reasons why people should get a CompREST
I’d like to answer that with this 36 second video. It sums it up nicely (and I think it’s a hilariously epic video for a small-beans start-up).
But here’s the Coles notes version, too:
- A World First! The only vacuum-packable foam camping bed.
- Way comfier than your air mattress or camping pad.
- Reliable! This bed will never leak or puncture.
- The bottom is waterproof, and the whole bed is waterproof when packed.
- The vacuum pump can charge your phone via USB too.
Have you taken CompREST to any music festivals?
ABSOLUTELY. Although it’s overall a great car-camping product, it was designed for music festivals. Most of my product testing was done at festivals and I’ve done a lot of demos around festival camping areas.
I made the first CompREST prototype for Tall Tree in 2014. Since then, I’ve been taking 10 CompREST prototypes to every festival I attend. FYI, it’s a great idea to test out inventions on your friends… they’re the least likely to sue you! 😉 All jokes aside, the early feedback I received from them was really valuable for perfecting the design. It’s pretty rewarding helping your friends sleep better, too, especially when you’ll be partying with them for the weekend!
Neon Steve and Tim from SkiiTour both tried out CompREST at Shambhala this year. I was pretty stoked about it because they’re awesome DJs, but those guys go to a lot of festivals too, so they camp like veterans. They gave solid reviews but it’s always fun just being around other entrepreneurs.
Have you ever thought about starting a marketing campaign surrounding the slogan “get in bed with nature”? If you haven’t, you should!
“Good artists borrow, great artists steal.” – Picasso.
I guess what I’m saying is, you can consider that idea stolen.
I actually have a pretty big list of t-shirt ideas on Evernote. I’ve come up with a lot of them with friends, so the rule is, if I make a shirt with your idea on it, I’ll send you a free shirt. You made the list! Don’t hold your breath, but if it happens I’ll send you a shirt, promise.
Actually, if anyone else wanted to start selling that shirt, you should go for it! Make sure you follow the rule though, and send one to me and Betty and Kora! That’d be the coolest.
Check out compREST’s kickstarter campaign and don’t forget to invest whatever you can to this great concept!