Drake and Jacob both worked at Frogg Toggs, but the pair wasn’t ready to give up on keeping the working man dry. So in the year they had to spare while Drake honored a non-compete clause, the Maples took the Frogg Toggs idea—low cost rain and outdoor gear— and improved on it with the help of a few loyal employees from his former company.
“We got to take a look at everything we had done for such a long period of time and take a step back and take a year off and say, ‘How do we make this better?’” Jacob said.
Compass 360: All For Good
Jacob Maple’s two grandfathers were both preachers—so the Bible is a thing in their family. They even named their dogs Sunday, Deacon and Preacher. But their dedication to truth runs deeper than that.
The Compass 360 logo was inspired by Romans 8:28—“…all things work together for good to those who love God.”
Drake Maples and his son, Jacob, believe that. They believe all the frustrating and at times discouraging events leading up to the creation of Compass 360—both men leaving Frogg Toggs, Jacob having to sell his beloved truck, having to work out of Drake’s father’s basement—have all come together for good.
In true startup fashion, Drake started Compass 360 out of his parents’ basement, sitting next to a three-legged dog named Sunday.
Jacob had a degree in marketing from Auburn and spent a year teaching English to kindergartners in Beijing while he studied manufacturing techniques at Chinese factories. At 28, Jacob also has an eye for what the under-30 crowd was looking for.
Almost overnight, they went from being a big fish in a small pond to a small fish in a big pond.
Luckily, they also make waders.
Making A Good Product Better
Drake calls Compass 360 a “new company with an old soul.”
While Drake excelled at the functional side of outdoor gear, Jacob focused on the fit—something widely contested with those who wear the zero-stretch rain gear. Jacob went out and measured Frogg Toggs products along with Patagonia, North Face and other high performance brands. He took the best fit ideas and used them to build better jackets, pants and waders.
Jacob, who now serves as the company’s marketing manager, likens Compass 360 to generic brand drugs where you can pay more for the prescription or buy the same medicine for half the price over the counter. Instead of using name-brand fabrics like GORE-TEX, they found equal replacements that didn’t carry such a hefty price tag.
Case in point: A GORE-TEX jacket can run upwards of $400 at any sporting goods store.
“We make a rain jacket that is 100 percent waterproof, 100 percent breathable,” Jacob said. “You can test the fabric, and it will test as good as a North Face or Patagonia, and it will be half the price.”
A big part of the new fit comes from the gusseted armpits. Traditional rain gear tears when the wearer stretches certain ways. Compass 360 gear allows for extra movement.
Even though Drake once served as a CEO to one of the larger outdoor companies, he still had to go through the same startup headaches that plague small businesses. In order for 18-wheelers to deliver inventory to Compass 360, the Maples had to meet the trucks at boat docks in Guntersville. From there, everything went to an unused basement until it could be distributed.
Eventually, they got an office based out of the Huntsville Hub where their offices are covered with samples of more than 100 products. Six months ago, Compass 360 hit stores and can now be found in smaller local retailers in addition to Sportsman’s Warehouse and Cabela’s online. In May they moved to a new office near the Huntsville International Airport.
Soon the website will be up and running, and they will be able to process online orders. From there, Jacob said their plan is sell a lot of rain gear.
Sounds simple enough.
In the meantime, the Maples see the Compass 360 logo and are reminded that “…all things work together for good to those who love God.”