With a passion for design and a skill for sewing, Mike Pfotenhauer grew a bespoke backpack business into one of the world’s most popular outdoor brands. He got his start in the 1970’s, when it was hard to find a pack that wasn’t clunky and uncomfortable. Operating out of a little shop in Santa Cruz, California, Mike started making better-fitting packs for hikers, and—with no advertising except for a sign out front—began to get noticed. As demand for the packs grew, Mike was forced to shift production twice: first to a tiny town in Colorado, where Navajo craftsmen helped with the sewing; then, to a sprawling city in South East Asia, where Mike moved his family so he could stay close to the design process. It took more than 25 years, but Osprey eventually grew into a massive global brand, which was sold in 2021 for over 400 million dollars.