Sam Schumann from Alton: Office to Outdoors | #299

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Sam talks warehousing, culture and capturing the great outdoors

Sam Schumann from Alton

A self-confessed gear-junkie, Sam found his calling in 2015 with the birth of his business, Alton. Born at the intersection of his insatiable appetite for adventure and fascination with well-crafted outdoor gear, Alton has become Sam’s outlet for creating high-quality, minimalist products, designed for explorers looking to go lighter and go further.

In this episode of Add To Cart, we are joined by Sam Schumann,  Founder and Director of Alton

In this episode of Add To Cart, I am lucky enough to be joined face to face by someone who actually knows what he’s doing in the great outdoors. Trust me, I’d be dead as soon as I hit the gravel road. An ex -tax and consulting professional, Sam developed the Alton brand in 2015 and now has over 50 SKU’s, a warehouse that’s bursting at the seams, distribution in Paddy Palin’s and the most god damn beautiful Instagram page you have ever seen. Make sure you check it out. It’s almost like meditation.  Today, we join Sam in the log cabin, which may or may not also be his warehouse here in Geebung, Brisbane. We dive into Sam’s journey from the confines of the office to the great outdoors. We get a sneak peek into the product innovation he is on the verge of getting to market and how his time as a perfume salesman helped him develop what he has today. 

“How do we build a multi generational brand that’s up there with Qantas and RM Williams?”

Sam Schumann

Making a change

“I couldn’t stand it, I couldn’t do one more day of it.  I felt like I was doing a job, I was working so hard at and I was putting so much of my time, I was pulling time away from the things that I love, like family and social activity and I was just an average accountant, if that.  It was killing me, it was killing me inside, I was getting no satisfaction from it and to be honest it was one day I came to work and I was like that’s it, I’m done, I can’t do this one day longer.”

Biting off more than you can chew

“I’ve found with alot of these kind of things, you go with where you want to be and then, in the context of a warehouse, you generally fill it.  When we came here, I was in my garage and this was enormous and I was like, well you know what I’m just gonna bite off a little bit more than I can chew and push us hard to fill this warehouse.

We didn’t have an inventory software at the beginning and to bring an inventory software on board, that costs alot of money, but I had the same mentality I was like, well we better make enough money to pay for it.  There’s obviously a limit to these things, but I just keep trying to push us forward.”

A one off instore opportunity

“We got an email from Paddy Palin saying we want your products on our shelves and initially to be honest I was like, probably not.  It’s not really our strategy, we’re a direct to consumer brand.  But pretty quickly I was like, this is actually a great opportunity, they’ve got stores in every capital city, they’re an integral part of the Australian retail history of outdoor gear and they’re probably the biggest player in this space and they’ve got a great reputation and alot of respect and yeah, I was like, we need to do this.”

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