A Shift in Lifestyle: An Intro to Our CEO's Year Long Van Journey

In early 2015, after a three week road trip across the deserts of the Southern US, I began to dream of life on the road. I wanted to retrofit a Sprinter van for an extended North American excursion with my girlfriend, Gracie, and our red heeler, Olive. The hardest part, the part that gets most folks stuck, is figuring out how to purchase and start an adventure rig while paying for the overhead of daily life. Fortunately, Gracie and I were able to save money thanks to Frank and Sara Sharp while living in a 200 sq. foot loft on their family’s property just above the Smokehouse on Mt. Kessler.

In July 2015 I took the plunge and bought our first Sprinter van with the idea to build it out myself on the weekends. That didn’t end up happening as my workload with Fayettechill and commitment to various outdoor hobbies took priority. On second thought, I’d have my dad help with the buildout starting in November, with a March 2016 departure date. Long story short (and another new van later), that plan didn’t happen either.

Finally, in February of this year I decided to contact Modus Studio, a creative architecture firm in Fayetteville to see if they would want to take on this project. An 80 sq. foot  build out-- easy right? Two years before, Modus had helped me actualize my ideas for our industrial smokehouse themed Fayettechill basecamp store, so I had a great relationship with them and the team. What intrigued me further was that this group of young architects not only have their own workshop, but get to work with their hands regularly on problem solving via design and materials. In addition, sustainability is a top priority for all of their projects.

Josh Siebert, a partner at Modus, said our van rebuild was a challenge Modus was ready to take on, as “the ultimate architecture is in a design and layout that can be mobile.”

On March 1st we got started on the rebuild with a July 1st departure date and the rest of the mishaps were history.

Jason Wright, partner at Modus, and Cory Meyer were the leads on the project. We used inspiration from other west-coast Sprinter buildouts while keeping in mind that on the road I needed to continue my role as CEO while also having the van sustainable for traveling with my girlfriend and our dog.

In planning logistics of the trip, we planned to migrate with the good weather and focus on our favorite sports. With that in mind, the buildout needed to readily support mountain biking, fly-fishing, surfing, and paddle boarding.

I really wanted to be able to be off the grid so we worked with Modus to make that possible with solar panels that have large battery storage, satellite wifi/phone, a large fridge, a shower, & use of propane.

It's been seven years since the start of Fayettechill and we have an amazing team and an operational foundation that made this dream possible. I'm looking to accomplish a lot while on the road and am excited for the opportunity to progress the brand by widening my scope of the field of outdoor sports and also better understanding our manufacturing facilities. For an outdoor apparel brand like ours there is only so much one can do by sitting behind the computer if they expect to make waves in the industry.

Email me at mo@fayettechill.com with any questions. Cheers 
-Mo Elliott 
 photos by Heno Head | henryohead.com & Rush Urschel | @rushurschel


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