CRAFTED: Connecting People to Nature—Literally
Toxey Haas remembers the days when hunting camouflage looked so bad, it defeated the purpose of wearing any at all.
“The camouflage [we] wore stood out so much [we] had to hide it,” Haas said. “I remember thinking, ‘Seems like if you just wore a perfect blend with your background, you could just sit where you needed to.’”
That thought led Haas to form Mossy Oak, the outdoor recreation company that cracked the code for producing realistic and effective hunting camouflage. However, starting a company with little business knowledge or experience led to more than a few early setbacks.
“The day that I learned the way you start a business, or where you can have a successful business, is solving consumer problems… is the day I actually took it very seriously as a business,” Haas said. “I just had no way of knowing how to get fabric printed or garments sewed. I had no idea. I just read and studied, and looked through books, and called, and called, and called, and called. And I just finally wore a few people down that let me test the waters.”
Haas’ first concept for an effective camouflage pattern featured the vertical patterns of tree bark with various ellipses that also let the wearer blend in with a forest floor. This led to Mossy Oak’s first official pattern, Bottomland. Subsequent patterns were created using the same approach, including Mossy Oak Break-Up, the company’s first product to gain attention on the national level.
Mossy Oak has grown beyond Haas’ wildest expectations and now operates as a parent company to 10 separate ventures. Each of these companies is dedicated to connecting humans to nature in a unique way, whether it be through selling land or breeding hunting dogs—and it’s all happening out of the Mossy Oak headquarters in West Point, Mississippi.
“People ask us all the time, ‘How did you do this in a little country town like West Point, Mississippi?’” Haas said. “I couldn’t have done it anywhere else than a little, small town like West Point, Mississippi. That’s just a fact.”