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Adventure Mate is a family business that began down under in Australia, born out of our family’s shared passion for the great outdoors and a deep desire to help adventurous people like ourselves make the most of their experience with a quality, portable multi-function camping tool. More than just a tool, the Adventure Mate also represents having the courage to take a risk, go for it and realize a lifelong dream. Two years ago, three members of our family simultaneously reached a turning point in our lives. It was time to stop, take a step back and reconnect with what really mattered.
Bill Sayer was 30 years into a thriving corporate career yet couldn’t shake off his lifelong ambition – to create a robust, portable tool to enhance outdoor adventures. The son of a US Navy Sea Captain, Bill grew up in a military family that took their kids on primitive camping trips at every opportunity. As a teenager, Bill backpacked the Appalachian Trail in Virginia and during his twenties, he nature hiked extensively around Europe. In the 1980s, Bill moved to Australia where he raised his two sons to love and appreciate the great outdoors as much as he did, instilling in them his deep love for nature, camping and rugged back country adventures. But as often happens, Bill’s entrepreneurial ideas got pushed aside while he focused on his family and career.
After selling her successful Australian therapy business, Bill’s “first mate” Shirley was itching for a complete change of scenery, direction and an exciting new adventure. A native Californian, Shirley grew up in a family that enjoyed many camping trips – among their favorites was taking their small boat to Catalina Island to camp out on the beach. On their camping trips together as a couple, Bill and Shirley would often share their favorite memories, ideas and aspirations over a meal, campfire or a hike, further stoking the fire for a complete change – in the form of an exciting new venture.
At age 17, Bill’s youngest son Conrad had graduated from high school and was contemplating his life direction. Unsure of his future career or next steps, Conrad’s thoughts kept returning to his early memories of family treks exploring Australia’s Blue Mountains and his time with the Air Force Cadets, teaching groups of cadets how to set up their campsites.
“I always remember some cadets would bring shovels with a pick on the end of it and a screw head, kind of like an Adventure Mate with only 2 functions.” said Conrad. I would see kids with these shitty spade tools and by the end of a 3 day camp, two out of three tools were broken. It was frustrating to me that there wasn’t a better, more sturdy solution and that got me thinking about coming up with a tool that could do a better job.”
Inspired by this challenge and conversations with his family, Conrad took a gap year and strapped on a backpack to take a life-changing trek along the Camino de Santiago (Camino Trail) and consider his future. During the 900km (560 mile) trek, Conrad thought constantly about the Adventure Mate tool, filling his journal with drawings, designs, enhancements and ideas for how it could be used. Clear on his mission, Conrad returned to Australia and enrolled in a Bachelor of Design and Integrated Product Design at Sydney’s University of Technology. At the same time, Conrad worked with Bill and Shirley to have the Adventure Mate designed, branded and produced to the quality standard they all knew was necessary to stand up to the rigor needed to survive in nature’s elements.
Today, Bill’s lifelong dream of creating a family business that helps people get out and enjoy the outdoors is now a reality. Shirley is embracing her love for adventure and personal change as she combines her two loves – nature and creating anew. And Conrad has jumped feet first into an exciting new career that is truly built around his – and his entire family’s – passion. Together, we’re excited to be working toward a greater purpose.
It is our family’s hope and intention that the Adventure Mate 5 in 1 Tool for outdoor enthusiasts is just the first in a long line of beautifully designed, durable and practical tools that will help you enjoy the great outdoors, be well used and passed down to generations – just as our love for nature has been passed down to us by our ancestors. Now, the Adventure Mate is ready to share with the rest of the world. We hope you’re as excited about it as we are!
It was frustrating to me that there wasn’t a better, more sturdy solution and that got me thinking about coming up with a tool that could do a better job.Conrad Sayer
Co-Founder & Chief Designer
Based in the company’s HQ in Sydney, Australia, Conrad drives the design and product side of the business. A student of Bachelor of Design and Integrated Product Design at Sydney’s University of Technology, Conrad is currently taking a sabbatical from his studies to focus on the USA launch of Adventure Mate and getting it into the hands and hearts of fellow adventurers who are as passionate about the outdoors as he is. Whether he’s at home or out camping, Conrad can usually be found doodling designs for new product ideas to enhance his – and our – outdoor experiences.
Australia General Manager
As Manufacturing Manager based in Sydney, Australia, George is a seasoned professional who oversees the product development, manufacturing and quality control of Adventure Mate products. A camping enthusiast for over 40 years, George seizes every opportunity to head off into the bush with his 4WD and off road van. A couple of extensive trips into central outback Australia helped George realize the true value of having the right gear at the right time and this remains a constant reminder to keep the needs of every end user top of mind through every step of the product development and manufacturing process.
Co-Founder, CEO & Chief Adventurer
As an entrepreneur who has started several businesses in Australia and the USA, Bill is at the helm of Adventure Mate where he manages the strategic, corporate and military sales of the business from California. Having recently recently relocated to the San Diego area with his partner Shirley, Bill’s focus is now on building the Adventure Mate brand in the USA. Bill has fond memories of his times exploring back country Australia and says he still hopes to cross paths with Mick ‘Crocodile’ Dundee sometime so he can show him why an Adventure Mate trumps a knife any day.
Chief Marketer & Explorer
An avid lover of the great outdoors, when the opportunity to become a member of the Adventure Mate team arose, Natasha jumped at it. Her career focus on digital media and content creation are perfectly in alignment with the launch of Adventure Mate in the USA. She is the head of marketing and advertising for Adventure Mate and does so with great passion. Her eye for detail and commitment to success make her an integral part of the Adventure Mate Team. She is married to an outdoorsman and they have a ten-year-old boy scout. The Adventure Mate could not have come into a more perfect family. Natasha is honored to be a part of this amazing family business.
Co-Founder & Chief Operations Officer
Whether it’s glamping or rugged camping, Shirley is up for any kind of adventure! Shirley drives the operations, finances and marketing of the business – a master organizer who keeps everyone and everything moving forward at full tilt. A California native who lived in Australia for 27 years, Shirley is a former psychotherapist who trained in outdoor education then integrated adventure therapy, equine therapy and high ropes courses in nature into her client work. Having jumped in feet first, Shirley is loving discovering California all over again while building the Adventure Mate family business.
Chief Scout and Play Pal
Cali is a fearless yet friendly three year old Min Pin (Miniature Pinscher) who journeyed 8,000 miles from Sydney, Australia to California with Bill and Shirley to be part of the US Adventure Mate team. Cali’s best days ever see her running, chasing her family on bikes and diving into the ocean to retrieve sticks. She is full of energy and always on alert, hunting around and sniffing out opportunities for fun and adventure. Named after what would become her new home state, Cali is the family’s good luck charm for launching the Adventure Mate dream, reminding us all of the importance of keeping life simple and making time for play.
I remember all of the family beach camping trips we did when I was a kid. Having an Adventure Mate back then would have been so handy and freed up much needed space in our family’s small boat.Shirley Smith
The Australian business Adventure Mate Pty Ltd was founded in 2013 and is run by Conrad Sayer from the HQ in Sydney, Australia where the creative/design lab is based. In 2014, the business commenced in America as Adventure Mate LLC which is run by Bill Sayer and Shirley Smith from their USA HQ in San Diego, California, where they drive the sales and marketing activities.
Since day one, the company has been led by our 11 guiding principles: Adventure, Durability, Empowerment, Freedom, Innovation, Integrity, Quality, Reliability, Self-sufficiency, Style and Versatility.
Adventure Mate is a brand that reflects those principles and redefines the outdoor experience – as a clever, sturdy and flexible tool that is ready for any situation.
Conrad, Bill and Shirley are all dual citizens of Australia and the USA and while Conrad will largely remain based in Australia, running Adventure Mate while completing his studies, all three of them will be focusing their immediate attention on getting the Adventure Mate out into the much larger USA market.
I’ve long dreamed of creating a tool that would improve the lives and adventures of others who love the outdoors as much as I do. Finally, after 30 years, that dream is now a reality.Bill Sayer