Above: Pieper, shovel-ready in Moab, Utah (photo by Vance Jacobs)
On a wintry day three years ago, Susan Pieper (MBA 1992) watched her son, a devoted snowboarder, build jumps in the backyard of their Jackson, Wyoming, home, trashing a series of plastic shovels in the process. Despite her irritation, Pieper could empathize: Having logged thousands of miles sailing in the Pacific Ocean, she knew that gear is important—that it should be portable, perform well under stress, and preferably look good. It was an aha moment that led her to launch DMOS (Do My Own Stuff) Collective, a manufacturer of solidly built, collapsible shovel tools that won’t break when things get down and dirty.
In the past year, Pieper moved manufacturing from China to Portland, Oregon, a difficult logistical shift that nonetheless made it easier to control quality and respond to market demand and design feedback. “It was a little like jumping off a cliff,” she says of the move. “You don’t change your mind midway.” DMOS has also expanded its product line from two to five shovels and found a new market in fans of “overlanding,” who travel in customized trucks and vans in remote wilderness areas. “This is our scale year,” says Pieper. “I took it to heart that Jake Burton—now an icon brand—sold about 300 snowboards starting out, because we sold 336 shovels our first year. Now we’re on an incredible trajectory.”
From Baker Library:
In recent years, more US companies have been reshoring their manufacturing operations, creating 400,000 direct manufacturing jobs since 2010. PwC predicts that in the years ahead “manufacturers in all industries will find themselves in a race to efficiently produce products at the point of demand.” BCG encourages companies to rethink their supply chain strategies to take advantage of this ongoing shift toward “relocalization.” Curious about manufacturing strategies? Let Baker help you learn more.
Class of MBA 1992, Section A